Choose Your Business Coach Wisely — They Can Make or Break Your Business. 5 Things You Must Consider When Hiring a Business Coach.

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Business Coach

Choose Your Business Coach Wisely — They Can Make or Break Your Business. 5 Things You Must Consider When Hiring a Business Coach.

So you’re considering hiring a business coach?

A business coach will lead you, guide you, direct you, and mentor you toward the success of your business… or run it into the ground. I’ve seen many instances of both.

So, for the run it into the ground business coaches or as I prefer to call them…

The Expensive Bad Advice Coach

I met with a gentleman who owned a retail store. As business coaching is not just my job it’s my way of life, naturally, the conversation led to questions about his business challenges and successes. When I asked what his greatest challenge was he replied, “trusting people”. I asked what he meant by that. His reply was “I hired a business coach about a year ago ran up an $18,000 line of credit to pay the coach and almost lost my business taking his advice. And if you can’t trust a business coach, who can you trust?”

The Nickle and Dime Coach

I spoke to another business owner who had just established her business. Her business coach charged her $500 to form her LLC. She asked him for a copy of the certificate. In addition to charging $500.00 for forming the LLC, her coach charged her for a copy. Finally, when I recommended that she retrieve the username and password from him to log on to the State Corporation Commission website, he refused to give it to her. Which meant he had total control over the renewal of her business status forever – or at least until she took measures to remove him as the registered agent. Without the account information that can be a long tough road.

I should mention that in our state the cost of forming an LLC is $100. And there’s nothing wrong with having a registered agent. I often recommend it. However, the business owner should always be in total control of the SCC account.

The Pay Me More Than Your Business Net’s Coach

Another business owner hired a business coach who offered to take a portion of her sales as payment. She asked me to review the contract. I must admit. I was shocked and angry. The contract stated that the coach would receive 25% of all GROSS sales. We quickly ran a few numbers and saw that she was headed straight out of business. Her profit margin per product was only about 6%. Her net income after expenses was approximately 3%. 25% of her gross sales immediately made every sale greatly loss making.

The What The Heck Happened Coach

Another remarkably successful business closed its door after 7 years in business coaching. When I inquired as to why they closed. The coach stated that “it wasn’t his fault. They just didn’t expect so much competition in the market.” WHAT?! First, this was a unique business. This was a long-standing, highly profitable business. People flew from all over the world to become a client of this business, paying tens of thousands of dollars to participate in their program… for dozens of years. I still don’t know what truly happened. I just know that competition should NEVER be the reason for a strong, reputable, profitable business to close – especially after 7 years of working with a business coach!

The Rookie Coach

I took on one of my very first clients as a coach years ago. While I was proud to win ActionCoach Rookie of the year, I was truly a rookie. Sure, I had a background in cash flow projections, financial and business analysis, management, and a whole host of skills too long to mention. However, what I did not know at the time was that this particular client didn’t understand how to calculate profit margins. I assumed, and we all know what happens when you do that, that since she was a business owner she had priced her services with the profit margin she stated. Boy, was I wrong!

We systematized the entire business and began marketing. This client gained about 1 – 2 new clients per month before coaching. Very quickly (with the strategic marketing we put in place) they began to average 3 – 7 new clients a DAY! Sounds great! Who would want to grow their client base by 5,000%? Everyone right? Well, everyone except the business that is loss-making for every new client.

The client did not understand how to price her services. She did not understand how to include an overhead percentage. This business owner did not understand the effective labor rate of an employee. So every time she gained a new client she was losing money. As a result of my assumption and her lack of business knowledge, the business was bleeding! Rookie move coach! I learned very quickly to first check the financial health and profitability of a business BEFORE creating a marketing machine.

So when I say a business coach can make or break your business. I mean they can make or break your business and you.


 

That’s just a few examples of the “breaks” – now for the makes.

Loss Making to Profit Making

My very next client was in for a treat. First things first! We run all of the numbers! Sure enough, almost every project they did was loss making. Their gross revenue was in the millions. However, they were broke. They were losing about 19% per job.

I recommended that the client immediately (based on our calculations) begin job costing and increase his prices to include overhead, effective labor rate, variable expenses, a 20% profit margin, etc. I thought he was going to fire me. He said if he raised his prices he’d never get another job. I said “Good! Then we can stop losing money!” That drove the point home. He did, in fact, take my advice and is now a very profitable business.

From Overwhelmed to Super Successful

After coaching for about 6 months I was approached by a woman who owned a small home based company. She had approximately 14 employees. Their revenue and profits were pretty substantial for a small home base business. This woman had her Masters. She was a former executive. Needless to say, she was one smart cookie. So why would she hire a business coach? She was overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready to quit. She was so overwhelmed with the day to day of running a business that she was at the point she was willing to take a reduction in her income to just work for someone else. But she had a passion for what her company provided.

We met and I’m ecstatic to say that today she employs over 100 people, works about 20 hours a week, now has 4 businesses (that run without her), several means of passive income, and spends more time traveling and with her family than she ever imagined she could.

Changes in REG’s Created a Questionable Future – Changes In Coaching Recreated The Future of Success

I received a call from a business owner one day who was worried about a few changes she made in her business based on recent regulation changes in her industry. She called to ask if she could just hire me to help her figure out if she had made the right changes and if her company was going to survive. For 2 years this company had been very successful. Now, since the changes in regulations, which changed the model of her business, she was seeing a decline in her net income month-over-month… not a good sign.

I told Betty that she could not hire me to review her new model and finances and offer her advice. However, I would gladly do that for free. A good coach, an honest coach, a compassionate coach, doesn’t nickel and dime business owners. A good coach will offer their time as a way to give back for that one and done situation. Betty and I met for about an hour. By the end of the conversation, Betty and I realized that there would need to be many adjustments to her once successful company in order to survive. We realized that the majority of all of the clients were now loss making after the change.

Betty had never calculated overhead or profit margins.

Within 90 days, yes it took that long to uncover where the issues truly lied and to make all of the adjustments, I’m happy to say that Betty’s business is profitable with positive cash flow once again! Betty is excited and has even started another business that will provide her with additional passive income. She often reminds me as we look back at how things were when we started working together that her company would have had to close it’s doors in November if we had not made the proper adjustments.

Trading Time For Money To Passive Income

Another local client was trading his time for hours. His rate was $95.00 per hour. Which means if he wasn’t working then he wasn’t generating income. We all know that’s no way to live. Although, that is exactly how most people live. Money is just an idea backed by an action. There is always a way to generate income that provides a means of passive income (income that continues to be generated without you physically being there, such as rental income). Passive income should be a large part of your conversations with your business coach. Life is too short to spend your life, your time, in exchange for money.

This client has projected approximately $106,000.00 in net passive income for the end of 2017. This company’s net income, trading his time for money, prior to coaching was about $8,000.00 per year and zero passive income. This is a life changer for this gentleman.

That is exactly what the best business coach does.

They will lead you, guide you, direct you, support you, motivate you, encourage you, empathize with you, push you, activate and ensure that your achieve your dreams.


 

So, what should you consider when hiring a business coach?

EXPERIENCE

While there are many certification programs for coaching, my experience has been that the majority of the programs focus on teaching the participants how to sell coaching, and a few basic coaching skills, not business skills. Don’t be fooled by fancy certifications. Because a coach is certified does not mean he or she is qualified.  Interview several coaches before hiring. Here are the top 7 questions you must ask a coach during your interview.

    1. How do you analyze the financial health of a business? Insist that they be specific. Keep asking questions until you see their level of expertise.
    2. What is the average profit margin in my industry? To be honest there is no right answer from a good coach on this one. A good coach doesn’t care what the averages are. A good coach will blow average profit margins out of the water.
    3. How many passive income avenues do your current clients have?
    4. Who are your past and current clients and may I meet with them to discuss their experience with you? Trust me, you’ll want to talk to their past clients. There’s a reason that they’re no longer clients. Yes, they may have achieved what they set out to OR they may be out of business. Or they may have had a poor experience.
    5. Who are some other coaches in the area that I should interview? Again, a good coach will share the names of other coaches. I encourage anyone who is interested in coaching to interview the other coaches in the area. There are two reasons for this. We all have different styles, expertise, and engagement levels. Reason one… you need to find the right coach for you. Reason two… As a confident coach who is more than a coach to her clients, I am certain that after given an informed choice of coaches their choice will be me.
    6. How long have you been coaching? Years in business doesn’t equate to a good business coach. However, if you can gauge the time he or she has been coaching, with their number of past and current clients, you will have a pretty good idea how successful he or she is.
    7. What is your retention rate? Good business coaches build long-term relationships with their clients.

RELATIONSHIPS

Because birds of a feather truly do flock together… Who does the coach associate themselves with? A good coach will have relationships with pillars of the community, with admirable people. Look at all of the coaches social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, just to name a few. See who they are connected to, read their conversations. Take the reviews with a grain of salt. Most business coaches ask for reviews. If a client isn’t happy or goes out of business chances are there won’t be a review. Because the business coach didn’t ask for one.

INTEGRITY

While in every industry, there are many honest and ethical people — and many dishonest and self-serving people. Business Coaching is no different. There are business coaches that will sell you coaching just to make a sale. Some will offer advice just to give advice. There are some who will take advantage of business owners who don’t fully understand agreements. Many will keep adding lists of to-do’s just to keep you paying month over month. They will make guarantees that hold no merit.

DON’T BE FOOLED BY GIMMICKS

A good coach will be transparent with you. They will put your best interests first. Your success will be their report card. My success is gauged based on these areas of my clients success: Increase in net profit, Increase in passive income, decrease in number of hours worked, increase in family time (or the leisure of my clients choice) number of new jobs created, goals achieved, dreams achieved, and the happiness of my clients and their teams. Read the fine print about their “guaranty”.

YOUR EXPECTATIONS, GOALS, and DREAMS.

In addition to interviewing a business coach. Write down what your expectations are, what your goals are, (You can begin setting smarter goals here.) what your dreams are, and how hiring a coach would bring value to your business and your life. Be very clear with the business coach when you meet. Ask him or her directly how they will meet your expectations, how they will ensure your success, and what immediate steps you could take even if you didn’t hire them. Remember good business coaches love to give back even if you decide not to work with them. 

CONNECTION

Finally, each of us has different values, morals, and ethics. We all have unique talents, strengths, challenges. Every one of us communicates with a different style. Look for a connection with your coach. Do you share the same values, morals, and ethics? Those things should never be compromised. Your business coaches talents should compliment yours. If you’re great at marketing, but challenged when it comes to numbers. A business coach who is talented with numbers but not strong in marketing may work for you. If you are a naturally reserved person, an outgoing business coach who will push you out of your comfort zone may be a great fit for you.

If I were to hire a coach today. I would expect what I provide to my clients – friendship, encouragement, excitement, motivation, skill set, ability, expertise, drive, and commitment!

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Time Management

The Top 7 Time Management Strategies….That are Proven to Work!

I’ll get right to the point. You cannot manage time. Go ahead. Give it your best shot. It will never happen. It is unmanageable. Like it or not, we are all given the same 24 hours in a day. It comes and goes no matter what we choose to do during that 24 hours. So, if we cannot manage time how do we get more accomplished in less time or in the time allotted to make our accomplishments?

Therefore, you, my friend, must manage YOU! It may be tough to hear but I don’t share to make people feel better. I share to make people BE better.

Here are the facts. The average American lives to be 77 years old. That’s 4004 weeks. Yes, let that sink in. You may be blessed with many more years. However, since this is an average you may have less. By the age of 30 if you live to be 77 you have about 1924 weeks left.  Are you in your mid 40’s? You may have about 1664 weeks left. In your mid 50’s 1144 weeks. By age 65 (when most people retire) we have approximately 624 weeks of life left…if we live until we are 77.

Furthermore, subtract a number of hours you sleep, if you sleep 8 hours a day, and that only leaves about 417 weeks of living….of time. Once again, you can’t manage time. You must manage you and what you do with your time.

First of all, determine the value of your hour. If you’re a business owner and spending an hour gaining a new client would generate $1,000.00 in revenue why would you spend an hour driving to the bank, making a deposit and then driving back? What value is there to an hour of time with your family?

If you only had one hour to spend with them what would that be worth? Priceless right? Yet we spend countless hours on tasks that generate no true value. Sure, we can provide reason after reason for doing all the things we do throughout the day. “Someone has to to do it.” The reality is someone may have to do it but it may not HAVE TO be you.

2.Delegate, delegate, and then delegate some more. Make a list of all of your daily responsibilities. List them in order of most challenging to least challenging. Then drill down even further. Note the responsibilities that you enjoy doing, that come naturally to you. Finally, write the name of the person who has the talent and ability to do the least challenging and least enjoyable things. Then, let them do it! Remember, if your hour is worth $1,000.00 then paying someone $10.00 or even $20.00 an hour to accomplish some of your responsibilities is a great investment!

Schedule your success. This was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever accomplished in my career. A schedule? How could I? I had to generate new prospects, complete call logs, attend company meetings, collect financial data (tax returns, personal financial statements, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheets) analyze all of that data for every customer, for every business, write credit memos, complete applications, service loans, close loans, attend closings, converse with underwriters, attend networking meetings, review appraisals, support my administrative assistant,…the list went on and on.

As a result, I was overwhelmed on a daily basis. UNTIL I created my own schedule and I made the best use of my time. Beginning with blocking  time on a Google calendar (a recurring schedule that I would stick to every week) I scheduled blocks of time for email, blocks for making calls and returning messages. Also, I scheduled time for networking and time for financial analysis, and any other “paperwork”. Finally, I scheduled time for meeting clients. Then,  I stuck to the schedule.

Position your customers, clients, and anyone else who needs your time. Remember, it’s YOUR time.If someone wants to meet with you. Look at your calendar and schedule them during one of your “meeting time slots”. Most people relinquish their time to accommodate everyone else’s demands of their time. How often have you said “Sure, we can meet. What works for you?”

Consequently, you are giving them control over choosing what time you will give them and when. On the next occasion that someone wants to meet with you check your calendar and say “Sure, I have this day at this time or that day at that time. Which one works best for you?” Continue to offer them what YOU have available on YOUR schedule until something works for them.

Only check email 2 to 3 times per day. Do not check your email first thing in the morning or as the last thing before you leave. Sounds crazy huh? It did for me too. But this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Look, email is just a filing cabinet for other peoples’ agendas. And your time is valuable.

Position your clients, customers, and anyone else who emails or calls you. Set up auto responses on your email and change your voicemail today! An auto-response sets the expectations for your customers. “Thank you for your email. I will be checking and responding to email at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.” Now your customers know not to worry. They know precisely when, and that you will get back to them. I can assure you this will stop the “did you get my email?” “did you get my message?”

It will also provide time for you to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to multitask. Multitasking is Inefficient, Ineffective, and Ultimately a Terrible Way to Work!

Learn to say “YES”. You’re probably thinking “I need to learn to say no.” The reality is if you are thinking that you’re already great at saying no. Because every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. Here’s what I mean by that. When a customer asks if you can stay late or and just can’t say no, you have just said no. By saying yes to your customer, you may have said no to going home to your family on time. Maybe you said no to having time to cook dinner. You may have said no to being able to help your children with homework. Learning to say yes is a must! You must learn to say yes.

When someone wants your time you must consider if you say yes to them what you are truly saying no to.

Be conscious. Be aware of what the “no” will be if you say yes to someone. There’s always a no. When I’m asked to give someone time I always ask myself if I say yes to them, what am I saying no to? If the answer is family I will choose to say yes to my family and thus no to that person. If it means saying no to doing laundry….then it’s a yes I’ll be there!

I’ve applied all 6 of these in my personal and business life. I’ve coached countless business owners and teams to manage themselves….not time. This takes practice and a lot of it. But I can assure you if you continue to practice these 6 steps until they become your lifestyle, your life, your business, and your days will be much more productive, profitable, and fulfilled.

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smart goals smarter

Smart Goals – S-M-A-R-T goals just got S-M-A-R-T-E-R!

S-M-A-R-T goals just got S-M-A-R-T-E-R!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that you must set smart goals, or S-M-A-R-T goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, and within a Time-frame. I’m here to tell you that the old smart goals approach, while effective for some, isn’t a sure-fire way to reach your goals. Smarter goals, or S-M-A-R-T-E-R goals, on the other hand, make a connection that’s sure to keep you driving, reaching, and attaining your goals!

Here’s why and how your smart goals just got smarter!

Specific AND Success Oriented.

Many business owners set a goal to make more money than the year before. I often ask them “so if you made $100,000.00 last year and you make $100,000.01 next year you’ve reached your goal?” Goals need to be specific. If you have a monetary goal set a specific dollar amount.

Ask yourself if this goal is related to your overall success.

You may have a goal to get up at 5:00 am every day. However, you may be more productive if you slept until 6:00 am every day. Goals should be the steps to achieve your bigger picture. If it doesn’t help paint the picture don’t set the goal. That’s a smarter smart goal.

Measurable AND Meaningful.

Again, just to make more money isn’t measurable over certain periods of time. You’ll need a method to track your success. If your goal is to make $100,000.00 this year break it down into smaller amounts, such as $247.00 per day or $1,923.00 per week or $8,333.00 per month. Use something as basic as an excel spreadsheet to track and measure your progress. Just tracking will immediately begin to give you greater results.

Make your goals meaningful.

Do you really want to make $100,000.00 by December 31st or is there a meaning to the additional income? Maybe what you really want is to take a family vacation. Is it possible that you truly want to purchase a larger home? Would you like to pay cash for your child’s college education? Dig deep into what achieving the goal provides to you, your family, your business, your employees, your community.

Achievable AND Accomplished.

Be realistic. If you made $5,000.00 last year is it possible to make $100,000.00 this year? It may be. I’ve often been told, “that sounds impossible”. Everything is impossible until someone does it, right? Break it down into small bites and you may just find that it is, in fact, possible. If it’s truly not possible don’t set yourself up to fail. Adjust your goal to ensure that it is achievable.

Ask yourself if achieving this goal will give you a sense of accomplishment, and why it will provide a sense of accomplishment.

I set a goal several years ago to purchase a larger home.  Yes, I did achieve that goal. It provided me with a great sense of accomplishment, not because I was able to work hard, save money, negotiate with the agents and banks, but because I was able to provide a place where my children could invite their friends, (the house had a great family room and pool), where we could have large family gatherings, where the grandchildren could have sleepovers, and build memories.

When you attach a sense of accomplishment, and this tied meaning to my goal as well, it creates a whole new sense of urgency and drive to achieve your goal!

Results Oriented AND Relevant.

Too often business owner focuses on the goal rather than the results the goal will provide for them and their business. If your goal is to hire a new employee focus on what you want the outcome or results to be of gaining a new team member, how it will help your business, your other team members, and your customers.

Ask yourself if this goal is relevant to your success.

Setting a goal of getting a promotion may sound great but is it really a promotion that you want or is it that you truly want to be empowered with more authority to make decisions.

Time-frame AND Thankfulness.

Like planning a vacation, you must schedule a date to arrive. Setting a goal is first determining a destination and then assigning an arrival date. If you haven’t set a date in which to accomplish your goal you won’t be able to plan accordingly. Just imagine if your realtor gave you the exciting news that your house sold. However, when you asked her when you could expect to go to closing and get your check for the proceeds she responded with “soon, I’m sure”.

First of all, how could you plan to move? Would you know when to start packing, cleaning, or even looking for a new home? You wouldn’t. On the other hand, if she said 30 days from today that’s a different story. You could plan and act accordingly. Your goals must have a date that you want to achieve them by. Otherwise, it’s just a wish.

Be thankful for the result of achieving your goal.

Too often business owners see setting goals and working to achieve them as a daunting task. If your goal is to weigh to 150 pounds by March 1st be thankful that you have the ability to walk and run. Be thankful that you have an income that allows you to buy healthier food. Be thankful that you have the mindset that allows you to make healthier choices. What if you can’t afford to join a gym today? Be thankful that you can exercise right in your own home. Attitude is everything when it comes to achieving your goals!

Evaluate and get Excited.

If the thought of reaching your goal doesn’t excite you don’t set that goal. You should hardly be able to contain yourself at the thought of weighing 150 pounds or making $100,000.00. Evaluate and reevaluate. If your goal was to weigh 150 pounds evaluate your health at 175 pounds. You may be at a healthy weight and may have more energy. You’re possibly be sleeping better. There may not be a need to lose 25 more pounds. What if you just needed to tone your muscles? Toning may require a different exercise regimen and diet than losing weight. Sure, income and weight goals are smart goals. However, set goals that excite you and you’re setting much smarter goals.

Reevaluate and be Ready.

After you have (or have not) reached certain benchmarks reevaluating is key. My client had a goal of 2,000,000.00 in gross annual revenue. The gross annual revenue was climbing at a very fast rate. However, they were not profitable. The missing link was their margins. They had priced their product too low. Thus, they were losing money on every product sold. They reevaluated. I’m happy to say they are very profitable today.

Finally, you must be ready for the reaching your goal.

If the goal was to make $100,000,000.00 do you have the level of expertise to handle that amount of money properly? Do you know how to invest your money and get a solid return? How will you prepare from a tax standpoint? Do you have checks and balances in your business to safeguard you from fraud or embezzlement? Preparing in advance will play an enormous part in reaching and maintaining your smart goals….your smarter goals.

Therefore, if you’re ready to make a change, devote the time and effort, and reap the rewards, set S-M-A-R-T-E-R goals that are Specific AND Success Oriented, Measurable AND Meaningful, Achievable AND provide a sense of Accomplishment, Results Oriented AND Relevant, have a Time-frame AND allow you to be Thankful! Evaluate and get Excited! Reevaluate and be Ready for SUCCESS! Yes, smart goals just got smarter….much smarter. 

Now that you’ve set your smarter goals it’s time to achieve them. Here are 7 PROVEN STEPS TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS!

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Wrestling with yourself

How Business Owners Get in Their Own Way

While working with business owners over the last nineteen years I’m often asked, “What is the greatest challenge you see for business owners?”

The answer is always the same because it’s the owners who are usually their own greatest challenge.

“Read More”
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