Most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often find themselves at sea after the euphoria of set-up, a strong growth trajectory and initial financial comfort. However, it’s a hard and unforgiving world out there in the marketplace and many of these SMEs soon begin to flounder, becoming less financially viable or unable to retain staff or deliver. Planning for future growth was perhaps the most neglected aspect of SMEs. Either they remained stunted or there was simply no time to factor in the needs and resources required to take the business up to the next level.
In earlier times, the entrepreneur was forced to be a multi-tasking super-hero, juggling the roles of CEO, CFO, Human Resources Manager, Creative Head, Strategist and more. This often left her/him bogged down in details, unable to see the larger picture. Being so intimately and emotionally involved in the business, the entrepreneur’s vision is naturally skewed and lacking in perspective.
However, today, most SMEs have plenty of assistance in terms of outside consultants, professional business planners, mentors and business coaches. These professionals provide a fresh, new outlook which allows the business head to concentrate on whatever he or she does best – be it the creative side, marketing, etc.
Business coaching and mentoring is the mechanism by which a suite of services are made available to the client to ensure the success of the enterprise. These services may include business and life skills coaching, personal mentoring, team-building and management, business management services that include franchise and partnership management, mergers and acquisitions and exit strategy. Many business coaching service providers also furnish accounting, taxation and financial services, business development and marketing, pricing etc.
Long and short term strategies and planning are put in place. Many business coaches and professional mentors are qualified in certain domain areas, so they’re able to bring these skills to the table – marketing, finance, human resources etc. However, it’s not necessary that your business coach or mentor has skills in the particular domain that your business deals with. In fact, expert coaches and mentors can transfer their skills irrespective of the nature of your business, since they essentially deal with universal principles of business.
As an entrepreneur, you may require personal coaching or life skills inputs to help you tide over the bad times, improve your interpersonal skills or chart the growth of your business. The coach or mentor can provide you with detailed information/reports/analysis of the dynamics within your organization. This helps you develop better and more effective ways of moving out of your comfort zone, think out of the box and carry your team along with you.
Just as a skilled sport-person requires constant and consistent coaching throughout his/her career, today’s entrepreneur can benefit greatly from harnessing the skills and assistance of a business coach or mentor.