Many people ask is a business coach worth the invenstment? It all depends on the coach of course. Many coaches are not very experience. I would never hire one who has not run their own business before and has 5+ years managing a team of people. You need someone who has done before EXACTLY what you want to achieve ideally. So if you want to take a $500,000 company to $20 million you should try to find a coach that has done that - not as a coach but as a CEO.

Coaches have a lot of value but many do overcharge. I charge $600/month for a basic program for startups and $800/month for an established (profitable) company. This is one meeting a week plus email support.

Of course I am biased because I was a CEO for 14 years before I starting my current coaching, consulting and training company for CEOs and entrepreneurs. However, would you hire a football coach who never played football? The franchise operations give these inexperienced people a framework that helps but it cannot give them real-world experience. Ideally you want ALL of the following from a business coach:

1. Experience doing just what you are trying to do as per above example (big picture)

2. High analytical and intellectual capability to see and understand problems and provide another perspective

3. Systems and frameworks for management, leadership and operations (experience)

4. Creativity to approach problems with fresh ideas

5. Ability to be direct and point out your weak spots, both personally and as a company, to have a plan to deal with those

6. Hold you accountable

Many "franchise" coaches do only #6 and a little of #3 with simple profitability frameworks. Many independent coaches have "Corporate" experience in management but are not "been there, done that" entrepreneur that have grown a business. You really cannot go to school or get certified in coaching and expect to be a good one as it comes from real-life experience, not a classroom.

I would guess less than 5% of the coaches meet the criteria I am laying out here, as few people with this levels of experience go into coaching.

There is a little about my program and some statistics here: http://clevelenterprises.com/coaching.htm

and my management systems for companies preparing to really scale (larger opportunities that want to go to 50-1000 people) here: www.AirTightMgt.com

Bottom line is not having a good coach will cost you a fortune in mistakes, missed opportunities and time but finding a good one is not easy. Use the checklist above. I am not the best coach for every situation but would be happy to give you a free session to see if there is a fit. I would be overkill for many as my specialty is rapid growth opportunities.

 

BTW understand that an Executive Coach for someone climbing the ladder in a large corporate environment is very different than a Business or Entrepreneurship coach. The stage of development of the company is critical and each requires different skills and an adjustment in the way you manage and lead. See one of the 150 videos I provide to my clients on stage of development here: https://vimeo.com/airtight/review/96213080/26ee6e8005 for an explanation on this concept which few people really understand well. 

 

Bob Norton is founder of AirTight Management and many other companies since he began his career in 1981.

He act as a consultant and coach to CEOs, entrepreneur as an expert on scaling business and best practices in Management and Leadership

He is an author, speaker and thought leader in Managemnt SYstems and invented AirTight Management, the first ever standard proposed for Management Systems of SMBs.

 

What are my options besides bankruptcy when my company is failing?

When a startup or young company is failing, or in a crisis that is life threatening, there are three main courses of action to consider:

1. An orderly shutdown without a bankruptcy filing. In the U.S. you can be forced into bankruptcy by 3 creditors but this does not normally happen without a lot of money owed. It is n expensive process and the creditors have to hire lawyer who could charge them $10K to $20K for handling it. Generally a waste of money and time for all involved unless there are large assets to divide. You simply shut down and walk away. Some creditors will not get paid. That is the cost of doing business - there is always risk extending credit. This is NOT a bankruptcy. It is a shut down.

2. Do a "Pivot" - This means changing the focus, story and market entry strategy significantly from what you have been trying that has not attracted the customers and/or capital you have been seeking. This new story may attract capital and more customers.

3. File bankruptcy (Chapter-7) which will dissolve the corporation and divide the assets between creditors in proportion to the debt to them. Equity holders will generally get wiped out and receive nothing.

If you do a pivot you can also ask creditor to discount the debt owed. They may understand they have a chance of something or nothing. It is not uncommon for them to give 50% to 85% discounts to get something later. If there are many some will cooperate and other may not but it is designed to take the pressure off for a time period so you can do the pivot.

It is not an easy time for anyone but it is business in the Darwinian world of capitalism. Over 60% of businesses will fail in the first 5 years. The root cause is they lack the mentorship and experience to be successful. Lack of capital and sales is always the excuse in the mind of the entrepreneur but usually this is a rationalization and they had a poor strategy or execution or both. It takes decades to be able to model a business in your head and make adjustments without month, even years, of trial and error. There are also many great ideas that are not good businesses for complex reasons. Anyone betting on a business would be wise to allocate $500 to $1,000 per month towards coaching and consulting from an experienced entrepreneur. Complex businesses should form an Advisory Board and offer some stock, and/or cash to that team.  This may sound expensive but compared to the alternative, which can be loss of everything, even your home and retirement, it is pretty cheap.

One other thing, which is a mistake many entrepreneurs make. These mentors should never be lawyers or accountants. These people are trained and think in a particular way for their profession which is not appropriate for entrepreneurship. Lawyers try to manage risk to zero and are very expensive. They can drive a company into bankruptcy as they live in an artificial construct called “law” which does not help figure out a business. Accountants are simply bean counters that make sure the tax issues are covered financial and records are done. Any experienced CEO will tell you these people are not startup advisors and they should be used only in their specialty areas. Most of them want to pretend they have expertise they do not have and sell you more hours. Don’t fall for that one. In fact the typical personalities in these professions is called the “Black Hat”, meaning a worst case, sky is falling, ultra-conservative style and attitude. The opposite of what is needed in entrepreneurship. When starting a new business you are in the risk business and must take some chances and make reasonable compromises until you reach a level of revenue to support doing everything exactly “right”.

 

 Not all seedlings will make it but even fewer startups will last five years. 

The AirTight Management 101 Best Practices Video Series

High-Performance Teams

The AirTight 101 Best Practices Series is designed to help any company and manager improve their performance using practices compiled from hundreds of sources.

The 10 Categories of Best Practices 

 

Our 101 Management Best Practices Series Archive

 A leadership style that is guaranteed to improve performance from knowledge workers.

 

Best Practice #1

 

 What causes alignment in the team creates high-performance.

 

Best Practice #2

 

Never go to bed angry. 

 

Best Practice #3

 

Running a business, department or project by the numbers to empower, yet verify. 

 

Best Practice #4

 

 Eliminate overhead, politics and wasted effort.

 

Best Practice #5

 

 Never try to change people, especially with "rules" and policies. This always works better.

 

Best Practice #6

 

You need far more clarity in roles and responsibilities that you may think. 

 

Best Practice #7

 

Letting professionals set their own schedule and goals is far more effective psycology than teling them when things must be done.  

 

Best Practice #8

 

The Law of Attraction and creating a positive and future focused environment is critical for team performance.  

 

Best Practice #9