An entrepreneur who runs a small or medium enterprise (SME) often finds that he or she is called upon to play several roles simultaneously. Apart from handling the core business area, the business head needs to take care of finances, human resources, marketing and strategies. Quite often, these fields may not lie within the entrepreneur’s areas of interest or expertise. Many entrepreneurs are creative thinkers, inventors or domain experts who have the Big Idea, but lack the skills to turn it into a viable business model. If the business is being managed by a partnership, as it grows and changes, differences could arise between the partners and threaten the existence of the SME.
However, today’s corporate citizen can seek outside assistance in the form of consultants, coaches or mentors. This means that you call in an experienced and trustworthy expert who can study your business, the people, the marketplace and the dynamics and give you advice on how to take things forward.
Quite often, the entrepreneur may also require encouragement and positive strokes to tide over tough times, take the necessary risks to grow the business and manage people. These skills are not always inborn and they need to be acquired or learned. Hence, a life skills coach or mentor can provide tips and strategies that will help an entrepreneur to improve his human resources skills.
Yet, hiring the best business coach or mentor is only half the problem. How do we ensure that we benefit from this exercise and take full advantage of all that the coach or mentor can offer?
Reflect: However busy your schedule as an entrepreneur, take the time to reflect on why you need the coach, why your business requires extra inputs and how these will contribute to the growth and advancement of your business. Quite often, you need a coach or mentor to either help you transition to the next level, understand how your own personality traits may be impeding progress or you may simply require affirmation or confirmation of your views from a professional in the field.
Question: You need to ask yourself some tough questions and give frank answers. Is it encouragement, reassurance, inspiration or stimulation that you need? Do you need a mentor to give you unconditional support or do you want a tell-it-like-it-is a report, warts and all? You also need to focus on what the coach should deliver, and within what time-frame.
Decide: Before you sign up, you need to get things straight in your own mind. You cannot simply be an outsider looking on while the coach or mentor goes about their business. You have to decide that you will be completely and actively committed in the whole process and actually be the change that you want.
Based on your budget, requirements and preferences, you can hire a trustworthy, experienced and expert business mentor or coach.