What are some criteria I should look for when searching for a business coach to help me grow an inherited plastics manufacturer? The business is now run by my brother and I. We have over 25years in business but we feel the company needs to take the next step. We need help with corporate info, growth hacking and strategy.
The first thing I recommend is understanding that more advertising is not the best idea. You can quickly waste a lot of money on mis-targeted advertising. Better focus will produce better results.
Second, learn the problems of fast growth. These are:
> loss of focus
> a struggle with communication
> shock from increasing cash flow.
It's very easy to get off track and start trying to be a bunch of different things to different people...leading to trying to produce too many things.
Internally, with fast growth, communication can fail as departments spin off and start doing things that split resources or even conflict with one another.
And while low cash flow is a commonly known problem, quickly increasing cash flow can lead to a number of problems in supply chain & vendor management, WIP, and more. Getting more sales is not necessarily the recipe for success--you can literally sell your way into oblivion if your margins are out of whack.
Beware of a single panacea for success. More marketing, more sales, more production in isolation and without analysis can drive the company into extinction.
You really need to understand the conditions you're operating under now, and then the target for where you want to be. Just wanting to grow is not enough. The target needs to be specific.
I was a plant manager at 25 and have turned companies around. Let's book a call if you'd like to dig further into your business.
I wouldn't necessarily look for someone that has a business coach. I will look more for a consultant that specializes in your industry. You need someone that can help you improve your internal processes such as cost, production time, profit, etc.
I think your question is not what should I fix in my company but how do I know I have the right person to help me with my problems/solutions. I think, after a number of engagements I've done over the past 20yrs as a business coach, that you want someone who is not going to tell you what to do but rather knows how to get you to come up with the answer so you are able to keep growing the business on your own. Once the consultant goes away then what?
A consultant does the work for you and provides the proper solution. That then becomes a game of figuring out which consultant has the right solution and at what cost. Then it becomes cost/benefit equation. Then it winds up being an exercise is you evaluating if you agree with the consultant or not. The problem there is you don't solve a problem at the same level it was created. How do you really know if the consultant has the right solution or not? is becomes an exercise in who has the better business acumen to discern that.
A coach is more about the getting you to a place you can solve problems better on your own. So that becomes a different search as you would be evaluating them based on how much you think you could grow by your interactions with them. Do you gain more confidence in your decision making ability, are they a good sound board, do they make you think a different way you couldn't think before, etc.
Thanks for the question on the best criteria to use when searching for a business coach. The answer covers a few issues but first of all the coach must understand strategically what you are trying to accomplish. I recently formed a coach/client relationship with a woman who wanted to build a business following the principles of Michael Gerber. I am a huge fan of his work so the fit was established from a strategic perspective.
Next...rapport with the coach. Not that you have to be buddies but this is a relationship and you have to feel comfortable you can both work through the good, the bad and the ugly together
Next...experience...not necessarily as a coach but as a coach that understands your journey as an entrepreneur. I have been an entrepreneur for over 21 years in multiple industries, including coaching as an example. It's the one career that the more experienced you are..the more wanted you are...:)
Next..flexibility in approach I learn from my clients as much as they learn from me but its the willingness to challenge and learn and adapt what's best for the company that ultimately creates the best coach/client relationship.
The last piece of advice...interview at least 5 options! this is an investment and you want to make sure you have done your homework before you make that investment.
Hope this helps
Great question. I am a Business Coach with over 8,000 client coaching hours. I've done over 400 business turnarounds and focus on business and personal development of family owned businesses, entrepreneurs, executives and startups.
When looking for a business coach i tell business owners like yourself to use an 8 point check list. Briefly, the points are:
1. ASK IF THEY ARE REALLY A BUSINESS COACH. Today anyone can call themselves a coach, so be sure they're a certified and qualified BUSINESS coach. You wouldn't go to your veterinary for a triple bypass heart surgery!
2. BRAND: What is the brand that the "business" coach is supported by, or, are they even backed by a powerful brand?
3. CONTENT & CURRICULUM: What base do they utilize or do they just ask a lot of questions?
4. SYSTEM: Does the coach have a proven system that they follow or are they just "winging" it?
5. TRAINING: How well trained is your coach prospect? And are they even qualified to work with you and your needs?
6. SUPPORT: Does the "coach" have any "team" of experts supporting their work with you? DO they have Team mates, consultants, experts that your coach has access to for additional opinions and strategy planning?
7. TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION: Does the coach understand the issues and opportunities of technology and do they utilize it themselves?
8. ROI (Return on Investment): Does the "coach" and their system (if they have one) include the art of being a World Class Listener? (You can figure this one out pretty quick) The must be able to listen to understand YOUR needs before they can really help you.
I would be glad to speak with you if you have any questions. Please feel free to call or write me at my business email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more discussion.
Metrics driven, results oriented.