Are business coaches worth it (the investment and time)?
It’s the question all business owners ask themselves at one point or another, “Are business coaches worth it?”
The short answer is “yes”…assuming you pick the right one, of course.
As with every industry, there are the cheap and nasty versions and the ones that represent excellent value and truly make a difference. The key is for you to identify which is which!
The assessment of value needs to be considered in light of what you want to achieve and what doing that would be worth to you though.
For example, the obvious aspect is direct ROI. Will the work lead to sufficient profit improvement to offset the cost of the coaching?
But when you look deeper, there are also other factors that really matter and are ‘worth’ a lot!
Therefore to answer the question ‘Are business coaches worth it?’ really depends on your definition of ‘it’ and value.
Things such as reduced stress, reduced working hours, and improved team and client relationships, all matter but aren’t going to be seen in an ROI calculation.
It’s often good to think, other than profit alone, what do I want to improve in my business and my life?
These items should also be involved in your assessment of value and whether a business coach is worth it for you and your business.
Therefore when looking whether business coaches are worth it – be clear what the ‘it’ is and look at real-life testimonials.
The cost of not investing in a coach
If you want to accelerate your progress, working with a business coach certainly allows you to get the education, guidance, support and push into action to make it happen within a shorter timeframe than you would independently.
It’s like hiring a guide to show you the way…it’s simply more efficient, and there is less of a chance you’ll take a wrong path and waste time and energy finding your way back. We all know it’s easy for things to drag on and immediate demands on a business owners’ time to take precedent.
The cost of going it alone, and learning through trial and error, is not just the inevitable time delay to achieve your goals, but almost universally, it also involves a period of missed opportunity costs as well.
That year where you procrastinated and didn’t get a better conversion rate, and didn’t increase your average sale value, and didn’t increase customer lifetime value… it might be invisible, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t actually hurt you!
If you are considering working with a coach, ask them how they can help you improve your profit, but also ask where else they can add value to your company and your life… you’ll be surprised by the breadth of answers.
It’s the breadth they provide which means that to answer ‘Are business coaches worth it?’ the answer has to be a yes!
Growing a company wthout a business coach can be a real struggle
To explore how business coaching can help you, we need a little bit of business theory first.
Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) explored how different business owners either achieved wealth or didn’t, based on how they managed their companies and finances.
He linked this to how they thought about finance and created four different personas to demonstrate this.
The Employee persona was focused on exchanging their time for an employer’s money. They spent almost all of what they earned as their income rarely exceeded their cost of living.
The Self-employed persona included most small business owners, as it represented the situation where a person had employed themselves within a business structure they owned.
Their rate per hour was marginally better, but the risk and stresses often countered any benefit and additional working hours required by most micro and small businesses. Again, their income was almost always similar to their expenses, and any savings were modest in real terms.
The Business owner persona really refers to those who had achieved the situation of owning a genuine asset business.
One that paid their direct wage comfortably and allowed them to employ and benefit financially from the employment profitability of selling other people’s time to their customers for money.
The business owners referred to here were able to achieve substantial wealth due to the systemisation and scalability of their businesses.
Whilst many small business owners believe that this persona represents their status simply because it uses the term ‘business owner’ (and they think they are because they have a sheet of paper that says that), the reality is very different.
Only a very few company owners actually achieve this level of performance.
Are business coaches worth it? They are for getting you to this mindset alone and all that it brings.
The Investor Persona represented those who were financially abundant enough to be able to invest their extra capital into various forms of investment. These (as the name suggest) enable them to ‘make money from money, often managed by third-party experts, and 24/7… 365 days a year.
Are business coaches worth it?
Why business coaching is important to SMEs
There is a little refinement needed to Robert Kiyosaki’s model – one from persona/attitude to one of business state for it to apply to SME business owners, and this is a model we use at UK Growth Coach to structure our coaching programmes around:
As you can see, there are five main phases to SME development, and it’s essential to know which level you have reached in order to set relevant goals to move on to the next.
Trying to leap from A to E in one go is what causes business owners a lot of confusion.
This is exactly as it sounds. New business owners learn their business model and how to monetise it in the first period.
This includes considering the available market, value proposition, and service/product mix to match those needs.
It also involves a lot of foundation work such as setting up initial marketing, financials, sales systems, first-time employees and much more.
Self-employed / Basically Functional
This is as described by Mr Kiyosaki. This is where you work for yourself and make some money, but the business is totally dependent upon you.
More often than not, you are directly involved in the service provision or the sourcing and distribution of your goods.
In most cases, the business owner here works long hours, has many hats to wear, and makes modest earnings not dissimilar to those of an employee in a similar situation whilst carrying much more risk and stress!
The Scaling business
This is typically identified when a business can make use of proper leverage. This is when it can take the performance beyond the limitations of a few key personnel at one location.
Systems are now repeatable, and the model can be broadened to different sites, locations, audiences, or services/products. These businesses are often fast-growing and have huge potential when managed well.
However, they are often still dependent on the business owners for strategic input or intellectual direction.
This is one particular area where business coaches are worth it.
The owner independent business
This is when a profitable business changes into a valuable one. You see, the valuation of a company is heavily linked to its reliance upon the owner or other individuals.
However, suppose the business can operate and grow without the direct involvement or steering of the owner. In that case, it is a standalone profit factory, which makes it highly desirable by investors (which is very different from being desirable to other technicians!).
Finally, the exit-ready business has all the owner’s independent business facets but has been prepared for easy handover.
It has gathered together all the data to ‘prove its case’ to the potential investors. The financials are well documented, the critical profit drivers and systems are clear and unambiguous, and the proven likelihood of ongoing performance is well evidenced.
Access to the right advice is what makes business progression happen faster and more easily
Whilst there are many business coaches out there, there are not that many that are great at going beyond fixing issues in general performance.
Are business coaches worth it? Some more than others certainly!
At UK Growth Coach, we believe in taking a staged progression approach that delivers on both short and longer-term objectives.
Yes, the immediate headaches do need dealing with, but it’s good to know that isn’t the ultimate goal.
Taking a plan from ‘short-term profitability focus alone’ to ‘achieving long-term capital payout in addition to strong, profitable performance for the duration is a much bigger egg to crack. But this is why our own business coaches are REALLY worth it!
Our coaches help clients define where they are on the business progression continuum now and the following steps to graduate onwards in the future.
We can help you make just the one step or guide you right from start-up to exit. It’s your choice.
The Basics Programme
Designed to help new business owners or those who have not had substantial business training before to become truly functional and effective.
The Growth Programme
Designed to help move up performance, drive profitability, cash, and head towards scalability.
The Independence Programme
Designed to help move up performance, drive profitability, cash, and head towards scalability.
The Exit Programme
Is all about valuation building, and the attraction of investors.
Answering the questioning ‘Are business coaches worth it?’ is a loaded question with a lot facets to consider, specific to your context and ambitions. But hopefully, this gives you a good enough view of the value business coaches can bring and how we could help you.