If that sounds like you, read our guide on how to be a business coach for small businesses.
What is small business coaching?
If a business owner is seeking advice on how to grow their business or overcome typical challenges, they can scour the internet for answers. However, the information will be generic and may not apply to the unique workings of their company. After spending hours researching tips and tricks, business owners may still be at square one.
To save them this hassle, a business coach is designed to come in and create a custom assessment and plan for a small business. They will gather data from stakeholders to define goals and the wider vision before suggesting effective strategies to meet those goals. If a small business owner has detailed questions, they don’t need to turn to Google. A business coach is an experienced entrepreneur with all the answers tailored to you.
As they work with small enterprises, a business coach will feel part of the team and is often the guiding force behind growth. Particularly if a company has stagnated over the years and needs an innovative plan.
What does a business coach do?
A coach will act as both a trainer and mentor. With many years of experience, they will have the resources to train organisations in the skills involved when running a successful small business. Just like other forms of coaching, small business coaches will add value to employees by enhancing their abilities as well as contributing to meeting the vision of the business.
When a small business coach comes on board, the first thing they should do is gather as much information as they can about the business. This will include target audience, branding, marketing, current sales figures, USPs, competitors, routes to grow, among others.
Most importantly though is the company vision and goals. This helps a coach measure success and manage expectations. For example, is your goal to open more stores and become a household name or would you prefer the boutique, exclusive feel of only running a handful of stores. Both can make money, it’s up to the business owner to communicate this.
Once the big vision is agreed upon, it’s time to set smaller, attainable goals for team members. When these goals are reached, the business will be one step closer to achieving the vision.
Do you have what it takes to be a business coach?
There are no strict rules or guidelines - anyone can call themselves a business coach. But to build a portfolio of clients, you’ll need to have credibility so proven experience and success will help a great deal.
There’s no doubt that knowledge and experience in business are essential. However, there are a few extra traits of successful business coaches. To see if you have what it takes, ask yourself a few questions.
Do I have coaching skills and knowledge?
Teaching comes naturally to some people. Others may need to take a course on how to coach effectively. There are many elements to perfect: you should know how to ask the right questions and give constructive feedback; create a positive environment to build client confidence; learn the team dynamics among others.
If you don’t feel 100% comfortable in your coaching skills, don’t rush into becoming a coach! Take your time to gather as much information and experience you need to carry out the role properly. Business coaches charge a high price for their services, so your clients want to feel that they’ve got their money’s worth.
Am I motivated to support small businesses?
Although the pay is great, money shouldn’t be your only motivating factor to becoming a coach. Your heart has got to be in it. Some small businesses may be more demanding than others and will need intensive support at the start. Therefore, you should be in the right mindset to help others and make sure you can do the following.
- Discover and align yourself with what the business wants to do
- Practice self-discovery
- Support in actioning strategies
- Hold a client responsible
What can I do alongside coaching?
Many small business coaches don’t stick to one revenue stream. Alongside your one-to-one support, there are other ways to capitalise on your expertise. Some ideas include:
- Large group training
- Public speaking at events
- Promotion in the media
Set up your coaching business
If you’re now ready to take the plunge and start coaching small businesses, you should get a few things in order. We’ll cover the top 3 actions that should be on your to-do list…
Create a coaching package and set your rates
Create several coaching packages that suit typical small business needs. Perhaps a one month package for businesses that are confident in their operations but have a few niggles that they need advice on. A three month package for businesses that need support but are new to coaching, and so would benefit from a taster. And finally, a six month package for companies that are serious about growing their business and taking on board your feedback. Of course, these are just examples. You could offer plenty more packages than these - it’s totally up to you.
The benefit of charging per package rather than per session is that it can give you a more secure and consistent revenue stream and helps you visualise your costs. You’ll also be able to attract more committed clients, which can really boost your morale if you’re new to coaching. As well as this, packages allow you to charge more which is ideal as long as you can justify the price with the quality of your teaching.
To decide on your rates some factors you need to consider are:
- Your experience
- Your qualifications
- Your coaching skills
- Target market
- Competitors’ rates
- Your profit margin goals
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to pricing. See how it goes and listen to client feedback. You can always adjust your strategy in the future.
Get involved and network
With business coaching, you’re selling yourself. And the best way to sell yourself is to network both online and offline. The more you get your name out there and connect with potential clients, the easier it is to establish yourself as an expert. This way, you’ll become the go-to business coach in your community and beyond.
To network effectively, attend any relevant business events and make sure you post regularly on LinkedIn. Share success stories from your current clients and post your top tips on growing a small business. Engage with business owners’ posts and leave comments to share your knowledge. The more you do this, the more visibility your profile will get.
Don’t be afraid of the competition either! You’ll find that the business coaching community is really friendly so get connected with other professionals. They may even refer some of their contacts to you if your expertise is better suited to a specific client case.
Find a booking solution
After you’ve set your pricing and won client interest with networking, your audience needs a way to book your coaching package. You could take appointments by telephone, but cracks will soon emerge with this method. It can be hard to take down all the correct information and transferring it to a spreadsheet is time consuming and tedious. As you manage more clients, it can be tricky to manage various contact information and keep on top of sessions that have and haven’t been paid for. All in all, taking bookings over the phone is a no no.
So what is the answer? A booking system of course! A booking system for small businesses is a handy piece of software that will allow clients to browse your various coaching packages, view their availability, book and pay in advance. This booking journey can be completed in five simple steps. As for you, all of the admin is taken care of and data is updated in real time, meaning you can wave goodbye to the dreaded spreadsheets! To learn more about the purpose of a booking system, read our blog.
We hope you feel all set to start business coaching! If you’d like to learn more about how BookingLive can help, book a demo with one of our specialists today. For any enquiries, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 1310 342.