Do I have to stay with you forever?
No. You only need business coaching for the time needed to be really clear about your strategy and for you to know what you need to do to implement that strategy. I don’t have any minimum contract length or lock-in, and I see these as unethical in my kind of business.
In fact, I often tell people that they don’t need me any more, and they have everything they need now. Often those people come back for a quarterly or annual strategy refresh, or they come back for another few months because their business has changed, or they want to change it again.
But business coaching isn’t a quick fix. Most people work with me for an average of 6-12 months, and although I’ll be looking for some early wins (especially ones which generate fast cash flow) you should count on it taking that sort of time to transform your business.
Will I definitely make more money if I work with you?
I only take on clients who have a potentially profitable business. In fact, I only take on business coaching clients who have a business with the potential to make more than at least 50k a year in profit, because that’s the minimum return on investment I think you should be getting if you’re spending between £700 and £1200 a month on business coaching.
Of all the people I have coffee and cake sessions to talk about business coaching, about 20% of the time, I end up either telling them that their business wouldn’t be able to give them that kind of ROI, or that, sadly, they’d be better off closing it down and starting something new.
If your business isn’t ready to make that kind of investment, you might want to start with one of my books or my Remarkable Business programme. These can give your business the boost it needs, but with a more affordable price tag.
Does it work?
I’ve analysed this carefully. I’d say that 80% of the businesses I work with definitely make more money, and move forward so the owner is no longer panicking and firefighting. There are some great success stories, with some of my clients reporting profit increases of 500% and more. And some of the businesses I’ve worked with over the years growing into quite substantial enterprises.
But it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, a business has great potential, but something outside of the business happens to disrupt this. This might be competition from an area we could never have foreseen. Or more often, it’s some big challenge that comes up in the business owner’s life, which means they can no longer concentrate on what they need to do to grow the business.
Once or twice, I’ve misjudged things, and I’ve taken on a client who doesn’t actually want any advice or input, but just wants a sounding board. My coaching style is challenging, and it’s not for everyone, so if you already know what you need to do, and just want someone to agree with you, I’m not the right choice for you.
I don’t have time to come to business coaching sessions, can we just do a quick one off?
If you don’t have 4 hours a month to come to coaching sessions, we need to talk right away about why this is.
To have a successful business, you really need to be able to free up time to work on the business and to do those important things that are going to make all the difference in the long term. You can book me just for a couple of hours on a one-off basis to talk about a specific issue in your business. But in the past when I’ve worked with people on an ad-hoc basis, it hasn’t had the impact on the client’s business I wanted it to, so I really try to avoid this.
The regular, twice a month sessions, and keeping in touch in between sessions are what makes the business coaching process work because the changes you need to make to your business are cumulative and take time to put into place.
Will you be my business partner?
Sometimes people work with me as a replacement for a business partner. But you’re in charge. You get to make all the decisions and do the work. I won’t do your marketing for you, although I will definitely help with your marketing strategy and I might recommend some good people to outsource some of the marketing tasks to. Often, I am able to make great introductions to people who can also help you in growing your business, but I won’t be doing your sales meetings for you.
I worked with another business coach and he used to come to me for a whole day every month. Do you do this too?
No. I know that’s the way some business coaches work, but I don’t see the point of taking up your time for a whole day, and I’d have to charge you a lot more money.
Does it still work over Skype/Zoom?
Yes. I work with about 80% of my business coaching clients over Skype, including clients in Shoreham, Worthing and Brighton who could come to my office but prefer the convenience of online business coaching. Plus I work with clients in Manchester, London and Paris who I’ve never met face to face. We can share documents, draw diagrams, plot timelines for action and do almost everything we could do in my office, but be much more time efficient. You don’t get my great coffee over Skype though.
I haven’t got much money, can we just do one meeting a month and you charge me less?
No. I would rather find a way for you to be able to invest in us working together, or for you to defer part of your payments to me until you have more cash flow, rather than cut down on the frequency of our meetings. Your business is going to move fast, and we need to get together twice a month to keep the momentum going. Again, I’ve done this in the past, and it hasn’t had the same impact that meeting twice a month does. If the price for one to one coaching is putting you off, take a look at the Remarkable Business programme, which gives you the equivalent of 12 months of business coaching, but for a much more affordable price.
Can I talk to you about this beforehand?
Definitely. I always recommend getting together first, either over Skype/Zoom or face to face for a coffee and cake meeting. That way, you can work out if I’m the right person to help, and we can work on some early actions for you to get going on.
And I can give you an honest assessment of whether you would benefit from business coaching with me. Sometimes, I do tell people that either they don’t need me because they’re doing fine as they are, or I have to tell them that their efforts would be better spent running a different business.
My business is in a mess, can you save it?
Maybe. It all depends on why it’s a mess. There’s a useful blog post here about How to recognise if your business is failing. Many of my business coaching clients come to me because their business is in a mess and we very successfully transform it into something wonderful. I got an email from an ex-client the other day telling me that their profits for the first 3 quarters of the year were £117k. He originally came to see me for advice on how to sell the business, because he was sick of it, and it had made a 68k loss. That shows the kind of turnaround that’s possible.
If that’s the kind of situation you’re in right now, you can book a coffee and cake session to talk things through and I’ll give you an honest assessment of the potential of the business, and if it’s worth continuing.
I’ve only just started my business, is it worthwhile getting business coaching now?
Many of my coaching clients say that they wish they had started working with me earlier because they’d gone down the wrong path with their business. Sometimes this can be as simple as knowing what kind of margins you should be expecting, or it might be that they’ve wasted time with trying out too many different things because they weren’t sure what to focus on when they first set up. Even if we only do 3 months work together to get your business starting in the right way, it could save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
Have you got a great address book of people who will buy from me?
Maybe. I do have a great address book, and I’m very happy to introduce you to some people who could be useful to you. But, if you are looking for someone who knows all the decision makers at big corporate firms and can instantly get you some pitch meetings with their rich friends, that’s not me, I’m afraid. I’m much more about getting you to set up a system which will attract those key decision makers to you, build a relationship with them over time, and then have them come to you when they are ready to buy.
Will you sort out my marriage/divorce/cat/money issues?
I can definitely help with all of those areas, but only by helping you to get your business into shape so you have more money to afford a good lawyer, vet, or financial coach.
If you’re going through a seriously difficult time in your life right now, it might not be the right time to start business coaching, because you could be distracted by all of those other things going on for you. You need to be in good shape to be able to really concentrate on the things we need to do to get your business on track. Do think about whether you need to get some counselling or life coaching first to get clear about where you want to go with your whole life, and then come to me for some support in making more money and having fun in your business.
Have you got a magic wand?
No. I would charge a lot more if I did. There are lots of actions you can take to make dramatic changes in your business, but they are all actions. That means that they are things you have to do. I can help you to avoid the actions which are unnecessary or counterproductive in your business, but there is no getting around it – transforming your business will take time and hard work. It is my job to make sure that you are working hard on doing the right things for you.
How much time do I get?
I wouldn’t look at it in terms of time – it’s not like a session at the spa where you want to spend as much time as possible in the hot tub for your money. Business coaching is all about achieving results for your company, and we want to do that as efficiently as possible. You’ll get 2 sessions a month with me, each one up to 2 hours, and you can call me and email me as much as you like in between sessions.
Sometimes, I end up speaking to clients every day, because they’re going through something dramatic, like the client who phoned me while I was on the bus going to work every morning for 2 weeks because she needed help urgently when she was buying a business from a very tricky chap.
Most people don’t need that – they’re too busy putting into practice what they need to do to transform their business.