Newsroom HomeBlogsStoriesSoundtrack ProjectNewsroom ArchivesChamber Home Page

Why Small Business Owners Need a Business Coach

Since I’m one of you, a small business owner, I get it. Why do I need to engage someone to help me run my business? I know what I want more than anyone else could imagine. And, I don’t need anyone telling me what to do. This, my friend, is the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma.

First, let’s deep dive into our mindset around getting help and explore the consequences. As an entrepreneur you feel your business is unique and no one is better suited to make the decisions about your business than you. Again, I get it, as I was once a believer in this myth too!

The reality is running your own business does not come with a convenient Owner’s Manual for all the areas of expertise you feel the need to master. It is true you can find books and articles on any topic you need, yet your time is your most valuable asset. And, time is a finite thing since it must be used in the present with no ability to save up for the “rainy day.”

Depending upon what stage of business growth you have currently achieved, the rules change as to what, how and why you lead your business. Do you know what these changes are as you grow your business? Personally, I have to admit in the early days of running my business I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

However, serious continuous learning, mentors and dialoguing with experts have cleared my line of vision to be more effective as the leader of my business. The reality is I needed to know this type of wisdom, insights and execution early on in my business career. If I had known this, my business would have been even more successful and more importantly would have made a difference for others. 

The key for you to think about is…

"Do you have the time to find the right resources, adapt what is most effective for your business and keep your business growing and profitable at the same time?"

The answer to your question is the reason why you need a business coach now. Here are four critical areas you can get insights from experienced coaches and business advisors…

Insights not more Information
Experienced business coaches and advisors understand the importance of narrowing down the huge quantities of information coming at you every day. Since your coach takes the time to totally understand your business first, they can then cut through to what you need to know and execute to be successful.

These insights benefit you due to less time wasted and getting results faster without all the trail and error pain. An important point to make here is your coach or advisor needs to be experienced and up to date on what is happening in the marketplace. As one of my mentors tells me – beware of the “certified” coach. Do they have actual experience in business? And, who certifies the certifier?

While experience counts more than you probably realize, the application of knowledge combined with experience is what saves you time and energy. Your coach needs to be a strong continuous learner who knows how to explain and implement projects in your business.

Processes and Systems
As an entrepreneur one of the biggest lessons in my business was understanding the need for processes and systems in my business. Early in our business owner lives, it is natural to just do things over and over until we are successful without reflecting upon how success was achieved.

Enter the role of process into the business. Every thing done in the business has a process – sales, customer service, shipping & receiving, R & D, operations (especially operations) and manufacturing. Do you know your processes well enough to explain it to a new employee?

The new employee questions was the first time I ran into the wall of not being able to explain exactly how I attached leads and business for my business. There was a lack of clarity around the steps for others to follow. Efficiency and effectiveness of the new employee was impaired by this lack of clarity.

“Do you know your processes?”

Then there are the issues of systems within your business. Systems are the things used to put the routine tasks and activities into an automated process to improve efficiency. Systems include CRM, accounting, financial reporting, tracking shipments and orders, communication and databases. You will need to improve your systems as your business grows and technology changes customer interactions.

Planning for these changes and improvements can improve your profitability by lowering costs. Systems are desired to make certain things are done correctly every hour of the business day.
And a business coach who understanding the progression of your stages of growth will make certain you are thinking about the changes and improvement in a timely manner. Missing out on these changes can cost you – just ask the business owner who wanted  to sell his business and during the due diligence the buyers found the accounting system was totally inadequate and should have been replaced years before. The cost and uncertainty of what else might be broken killed the deal.

Focus and Clarity
As the leader of your business, are you focused upon the right things? At each stage of business growth your priorities will change and you need to adjust your focus to meet these challenges. Knowing what to focus upon allows you and your team to have common clarity on the business objectives and initiatives to achieve.

Focus includes strategy for your business – even though the reality is you do not need a “Strategic Plan” until you reach a certain stage of growth with a certain number of staff. Yet, a strategic marketing plan needs to be in place when you opened the doors to your business. An experience advisor knows these insights and will not push unneeded initiatives upon you for their benefit.

One of  the most beneficial aspects of a business coach is you will have someone you can trust to bounce ideas off and get feedback. Now, it is important to know that the form of feedback must be helpful to you first. Therefore, an experienced business coach will listen and then ask you questions. These questions are designed to help you gain complete clarity regarding your idea, determining what is missing, what needs to be done, what needs to be eliminated first, and if there will be a significant payback from launching this new idea into a company project.

Results and Outcomes
The main thing keeping you in business and allowing you to grow in revenues, staff and reputation is getting results. Without positive results your business would fail in quick fashion due to lack of funds. Therefore, as the leader of your business you want to stay focused upon results and outcomes as a regular habit.

One of the reasons many business coaches are retained is to assist the owners with accountability issues. Accountability is what is necessary for you to achieve what you have targeted or predicted to be an outcome. This can be in the form of revenue growth, new product development, new manufacturing lines, enlarging space to handle the new expansion of operations, whatever you have selected as needed for your business to grow.

Here is an area where understanding business AND remaining current in learning about the new and more effective methods is important for the business owner. Your Business Advisor needs to be up-to-date on the various methods of achieving projects faster and more effectively than what was used a decade or two ago.

An example of these insights include understanding agile methodologies and combining these with your longer term visions to achieve results faster. The use of sprints providing immediate feedback on progress is a major process being used by the most effective organizations today. Being able to help you implement these tactics within your organization can accelerate project completion dates and your results immediately.

What You Should Do Now
In conclusion, as a small business owner – you need to consider the benefits you would receive immediately when engaging an experience business coach or advisor. In selecting the right business coach for you, consider these three things…

1. What experience does the business coach or advisor have? Running a successful business is best.

2. Is this business coach involved in continuous learning?  What books, seminars, or webinars have they participated in during the last 2 to 5 years?

3. How many questions are being asked and are these questions helping you to think about your business differently that before?

You can accelerate your business growth when you partner with an excellent business coach or advisor. The insights alone will help you master the challenges and bridge the rough waters of business realities. Take the time to find a business advisor – it could be me or someone else – just make certain their goals is to help you succeed.  

Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Posted: 2/14/2017 9:18:56 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: SmallBusiness, VossGraham

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment Subscribe

= six + eight

Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.