How to Choose the Best Business Coach for Your Small Business

Many people have great ideas, but turning those ideas into practical realities is what makes them stand out. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, I know it may be tempting to do everything on your own, but it’s much better to take help from someone who is an expert.

This is where a business coach comes in. The type of business you have greatly affected the way it will grow, especially when it’s in its early stages. Your business coach needs to use techniques tailored to your brand to make sure that you reap the benefits of hiring a professional. Let me help you understand how.

Know-How Small Businesses Differ

Sure, you need a specific type of coach for your business, but how so? Here are some examples of what you need to know about small businesses:

  • The first steps dictate long-term success
  • Business development is crucial before the launch
  • Stabilisation is more important than profit maximisation

Many other differences mark important distinctions between a business that has already been established, and a business that is just getting ready to launch (or has recently launched). Creating a stable brand image, connecting with recurring clientele, and retaining customers are just some of the few things that small businesses need to know. If a business is launched with a great idea but poor execution, I’d say the chances of it withstanding the test of time are not great.

What to Look For in a Business Coach

Regardless of the type of business or the niche, certain qualities remain universal. These qualities should be in the best business coach for your small business, so be on the lookout for how a coach presents themselves, and how they speak to you. I have listed below some common qualities:

  • In-depth understanding of SMEs
  • Diversified experience, skills, and knowledge
  • Critical and analytical eye
  • Success-driven and passionate
  • Confident, courageous, and tactful
  • Strong moral compass and ethics

All of the above are important, but even if someone checks the boxes but doesn’t match your frequency, I’d suggest not opting for them. Your business coach needs to be on the same page as you and have a certain level of respectful chemistry with you. If I sat you down and read everything there was to know about your business but didn’t understand you, would I be able to efficiently communicate with you? Likely not. So when you’re choosing a business coach for yourself, make sure you have multiple meetings with them and are fully content with how they operate.

Has Your Coach Been in Your Shoes?

In simple terms, this question alludes to how well your prospective business coach understands your motivations for starting a business. If you are a woman running a business targeted toward a largely feminine demographic, your business coach needs to be a woman or extremely well-versed in the matters of women. Positionality matters a lot, no matter how good of a business coach someone is.

Are you planning on starting a business for athletic wear? Look for someone who has a love for sports and fashion both, if you’re looking to get the best coach. Someone who knows how to run a food business can still offer you valuable insight, but they aren’t quite the right fit for your business. They may be very talented, there’s no arguing that. However, they must understand the market segment you are targeting, rather than simply being good at what they do.

Your Coach Must Inspire You

Whether my client’s business is doing well, my priority is always making sure that I keep them motivated. Business coaches aren’t just people who know how to run a successful business, they’re also people who know how to motivate others and guide them in the correct direction. There might be moments where you feel stuck and hopeless, and it is up to your coach to pull you out of those moments.

Many instances during business ownership can be termed teaching moments. During these times, your coach needs to teach you with kindness and care, instead of making you feel lesser than they are. If I ever speak to you, I am going to make sure I treat you as an equal. However, if your business coach is patronising you, whether accidentally or intentionally, communicate it to them. If they do not change, find someone else.

Choosing the best business coach for your small business should be a very personal process for you, tailored specifically to how you communicate and what your brand ideals are. If you don’t have a smooth rapport with them, they’re probably not the right match and you should continue your search until you find that one coach.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.