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First-time entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know. That’s why coaches are so important to the small business ecosystem. These professional advisers help you anticipate problems before they happen, navigate through unexpected challenges, and explore untapped opportunities that you may not have previously considered. That’s precisely why freelancers and business owners come to business coach and product strategy consultant Beth Temple.
“You always need a fresh set of eyes,” she said. “You need someone to cut through the day-to-day. Especially with start-ups, there is so much chaos. A business coach can come in and help solve your problems in just a few hours.”
Would your business benefit from a coach? To find out, ask yourself the following questions:
Growing a company can be challenging for first-time entrepreneurs. Small business owners often get buried in new client acquisition, new product development, employee recruitment and financial forecasting.
A coach can help streamline some of these processes and provide guidance in working through the challenges that can result from growing teams. As Temple explained, these needs are some of her clients’ strongest pain points.
“The biggest questions I get from my clients are usually around people and processes,” Temple said. “Managing can be an extremely challenging balancing act, especially when it comes to transitions with key players.”
The right coach—one with experience and knowledge that aligns with your goals—can be hard to find. One of the best ways to locate the right coach for your business is through your professional network.
“For me, it’s always been networks that have helped connect me with the right clients,” said Temple.
If you don’t have someone in your network, start your search on platforms like AngelList, CrunchBase, and Clarity to pinpoint subject matter experts in your field. Also ask for referrals from founders of businesses that are similar to yours. Local small business associations, chambers of commerce and rotary clubs can provide additional guidance in your search.
If your business has specific needs or operates in a niche market, a coach with direct experience facing these same challenges can be an invaluable resource. This direct experience is what makes Temple such an effective coach.
In fact, coaching is only a small part of Temple’s client portfolio. She is primarily a product strategy consultant who works with large companies to build new digital revenue streams. Her deep expertise in this field made her an ideal adviser for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to either enter this space or grow within it.
“My entire career for the last 20 years has been in and around all kinds of start-ups,” said Temple. “I specialize in helping companies build new digital products. Coaching organically came out of that.”
Of course, you might already have the perfect coach without even realizing it. If your business has benefited from the insight and guidance of a mentor or even a consultant, consider asking that person to become your coach. A contract and service agreement makes the coach an official part of your business, as well as providing a way to compensate for good advice.
Ritika Puri specializes in business, marketing, entrepreneurship and tech. She writes for American Express OPEN Forum, Forbes, Investopedia, Business Insider, CMO, the SAP Innovation Blog, and others.
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