Are You an Entrepreneur Looking For an Edge? Hire a Business Coach!

Not all career paths involve the spirit of risk-taking that becoming an entrepreneur does. Whether you’re trying to build a brand-new business that you hope will replace your current nine-to-five someday, break away from an existing workplace to make a go of things on your own or are that rare breed of serial entrepreneur, gaining the assistance of a business coach to scaffold your transitions can be invaluable.

“It’s extremely important to partner with the right people up front,” says Kalena James, a business and business startup coach and owner of LCR Coaching in greater Indianapolis, Indiana. James notes that most businesses either stand or fall within their first five years, and more than half do not succeed, which makes the start-up period a critical time.

Baby steps

First things first: Enlisting a coach prior to launching a brand-new venture can help one figure out if he or she is even ready to make the leap.

James begins with an “entrepreneur readiness assessment” to help clients make that determination. Then she helps them examine their strengths and reflect honestly on what they will need to work on most if they want to make a brand-new business work.

“I look at how they show up in their daily life,” says James. “How they show up when there is stress, how they show up when there is adversity…We want to know what areas might set them back so that they can have strategies in place to overcome them.”

Coaches’ perspective

One of the biggest obstacles that keeps many would-be entrepreneurs from pursuing their ideas, or later expanding their venture, is a fear of failure.

“We may never launch because we talk ourselves out of it, or feel that we don’t have the resources or wisdom,” says James. But a business coach “can come into the situation with a perspective that is outside of that family voice or that horrible inner critic that’s out there to distract you or discourage you from making a move.

“We all have this core environment of people who share some of the same concerns and worries that we do, so when you want to make a big change, you have to tap into something bigger than yourself.”

While a coach might help a potential or new entrepreneur look at trends, their business model and potential resources, they can also help an individual work with fears to create opportunity and a more fundamental sense of self-confidence.

“We might look at how we can reframe fear: Is it coming from a lack of understanding or wrongful assumptions? Is there a way that we can put safe measures around it or do you need to just blow it out of the water?” says James. “Maybe you need to figure out what you can work toward to make some positive step in the right direction.”

Entrepreneurial businesses that have succeeded through their first phase often don’t know how to identify or take the next step, whether it’s finding grants, seeking wider exposure or community partnerships.

“As a business grows, the learning curve can be overwhelming and challenging,” says James. So a business coach can also be invaluable at the point when a person is really digging in, to establish his or her own identity in that leadership role.

“Coaching is about helping and partnering with the individuals,” she says. “It’s most importantly coaching you through your own management style, helping you figure out how you will do and navigate things with the resources available to you.”

Business coaching through all aspects of business just makes practical sense and might give you the confidence you’re looking for to leap into untested waters.

Tracy Z. Turner

Tracy Zollinger Turner is an award-winning feature writer and editor with a knack for getting people to talk about things that matter to them and then telling their stories with compassion. She resides in between the hills and cornfields of the Midwest with her fiancé, son and three interrupting dogs.

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