To be completely transparent, I come from the school of “Every Entrepreneur Needs a Business Coach” so I didn’t need to be convinced it was time to hire one.
I actually went on the hunt to find my perfect business coach and it took six months. I had my criteria and there was no swaying from my plan. My hunt started once I realized that other people were getting MORE results in their business than I was. I mean, I knew I was good at what I did…but couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t meeting my goals. (The secret to that…was that I didn’t have any crystal clear goals. Lesson #1).
All I knew was that others in my field were moving faster than me….and that was enough to make me take action….it was time to hire a business coach.
What was important to me was that my new business coach was darn good at what she did (yes, she…I saw “her” in my mind but without a face). It was also important that she was a business coach. Not an “I-can-coach-you-on-anything-you-want coach”. I needed someone who knew how to help me be profitable, convert sales in a way that I was comfortable doing, knew how to do smart marketing, and would kick my butt when I needed it and hold me accountable to what my crazy brain comes up with sometimes. I know what you are thinking, “Good luck finding that, Terra”… but I did find it.
And it changed my business forever. This is why I know every business owner needs a coach.
You can’t coach yourself. The coach needs a coach. The CEO needs a coach. The salesperson needs a coach. The real estate mogul needs a coach. The financial planner needs a coach. The therapist needs a coach…ok you get the idea.
Here’s what I hear often from my own clients and many other service based entrepreneurs that I get the pleasure of knowing. These are the “light bulb” conversations going on in their heads:
1. I feel overwhelmed in my business.
Yes, being an entrepreneur is not easy at times. We are doing everything from invoicing, marketing, delivering services, and all the other things that need to be done. Websites, graphics, social media….oh my. Though in family obligations it’s enough to make anyone go crazy. My advice is to STOP doing it all. Follow the money. Focus on the things that only you can do to generate revenue and find others to help you do the rest – or just don’t do them at all until you can afford to hire someone to help you.
The things you can do in your business are: deliver the services + business development. Everything else is clutter in your head. Trust me, there are plenty of millionaires out there who don’t have a website or even know what Facebook is.
2. I need to make more money.
Join the club. Everyone would like to make more money. Whether or not you are making $5 or $500,000+, most people would like more money. My question to you is “What are you doing to make that happen now?”. When I hear this statement, I know that people need to focus on business development (I use this term instead of the word “sales”…it’s more fun to think of sales as developing your business, right?). Business development is simply putting yourself out there to let people know you are available for hire.
3. I am not sure how I should be marketing my services.
This thought typically comes from not being clear on your target market (or your niche…as some call it). Stop trying to be everything to everybody. Know the answer to “Who is my target customer”. Think of a few different niches where you can play big. It’s easier and cheaper to market yourself when you are super clear about whom you are serving.
When you know your niches and ideal customers in those niches…the marketing comes easy. For example, if you are an attorney, you should know whom you target. Can attorneys practice any type of law? Sure. But if you are a lawyer who focuses on helping women small business owners set up their legal entity….that clarity helps you figure out where to find women who are starting new businesses. Get in front of your target market. Go to Meetups and networking events for Start-Ups, speak to MBA graduates, or get involved in your local chamber of commerce.
Think about this. As an entrepreneur, whom do YOU want to work with? What part of your business lights you up? Get selfish.
You have to do what you love rather than expecting people to find you. Don’t let others drive how you make your money. You drive your own niche and the money comes.
That’s why you are an entrepreneur anyway, right?
4. I hate asking for “the sale”.
Ahhh yes, the dreaded “Close”. Here’s the biggest sales secret ever. If you are super niched in your business…you shouldn’t have to ask for the business. Instead, people will ask you “How can I work with you?”. Wouldn’t that be awesome? That happens as you get better and better…but until then, sometimes you have to ask for their business.
Work on building your confidence in this area. The best way to do it is to practice often and it gets easier. Find out what is causing your prospect to NOT make a decision to do business with you. Once you know why…then it’s easier to understand how you can help them overcome their objections. Sometimes it is just fear. Maybe it is a lack of money. Sometimes it is because they aren’t clear on how they can work with you. Just ask and have the conversation. It gets easier…but it’s one of those things that you have to do if you want to drive revenue in your business. You don’t have to be a master salesperson or hard-closer…you just have to be you.
Find your style by experimenting with different ways. Practice on friends and family.
No matter what…just be yourself. Inspire your prospects to take action or let them know that you will follow up with them. And…then actually follow up.
5. I have no idea how much money I am making (or losing).
This is all too common with business owners. Business owners tend to put their head in the sand and worry about the financials when it’s tax season. Please don’t do this. When I am coaching my private clients, I give them very simple tools to make this easy and fun.
Setting your goals and tracking your progress is the key to achieving your goals.
Put together a very simple process around how you collect money and how you pay for expenses. You can even use a great online tool like Mint.com to give you a quick snapshot of where you are financially. At a minimum, you should be looking at your numbers once a week. Successful people do it daily. Please don’t keep your head in the sand. Your business success is measured by your profitability. The world needs you to be profitable so you can continue sharing your gift.
A good business coach will help you push through all the things that freak you out about your business. She/He will hold you accountable for moving forward with your business.
Remember, growing your business is a marathon, not a sprint. You need a business coach by your side to keep cheering you on, pushing you forward when you are “stuck” and kicking your butt when you need it.