As entrepreneurs, we all want to move our businesses forward, score the next big goal and take the next prisoner. We often look to outside advisers and coaches to help carry some of the load and guide us. Whether it’s because of their specialty expertise, their connections or their commanding accountability stature—the investment needs to deliver a solid return on cash out laid—or we are not happy and feel let down.
It’s always a scary thought to spend or not to spend on a real expert. They are usually not cheap.
Can this person make a significant difference? Or are they just a rockin sales person and you are feeling desperate and grabbing for any breathing person that seems like they can save you from your pain?
In the 30 some years I’ve been in business there have been times that I was feeling desperate and I searched to find a “save my ass expert soul”. They’ve ranged from experts and coaches on pricing, comedy, fund raising, story telling, performance and business planning,
I’ve worked with a lot of smart hired guns, coaches and consultants and a few great sales people that didn’t know much else, and what is consistent in all of these arrangements is they, the consultant or coach are only 50% of the power behind the results. You, as the buyer, must carry your load too or you are guaranteed to fail. You must provide them what they need, you must be able to carry the torch after they provide a sound road map and you must demonstrate leadership and excellent delegations skills too.
Do you shell out the investment or fly alone? Answer these questions.
- Will spending $5,000 on a new business commando get you $15,000 in new revenues?
- Will investing $10,000 on an HR adviser help find you that superstar next staff member?
- Will buying some education tool for $500.00 add to your bottom line?
I’ve not met many advisers or coaches with magic wands, even if their bio may convince you other wise. Here are a few pointers to getting the most with a coach or adviser.
1) Check references, not the ones they give you, but the ones they list on their web site.
2) Be clear on what the adviser’s role is. Get it in writing, are they biz shrinks and can they listen to a vent for hours? Will they deliver work product (something you can hold)?, or is their role more like a sports coach to push you and empower you to deliver? Or are they a pure consultant, providing how-to and then you need to execute? This is very important to know.
3) Make sure you have the time to spare. Coaches and adviser relationships take time. Can you allocate the needed hours to the cause? Ask them upfront, what will be required from you.
4) State and share with them what your expectations are from this investment. Tell them what you think success/results will look like in three specific bullets.
-Find a strategic partner with a following of 10,000+ customers
-Increase sales by ____%
-Cut your operating expenses by 20%
5) Unless you can find a robot, they are human and they need positive feedback too. When they are adding to your success, tell them. And tell your friends and make referrals.
Hiring an expert coach, adviser or consultant can be gold. But without you actively participating in the process, executing on the advice they dish out and providing them the support they need to do their job—your result will be limited to a pile of cheap tin.