3 Considerations Before Working With A Construction Business Coach Or Mentor
Working with a coach or mentor to improve your construction business can help you avoid potential challenges, particularly those you might not know to watch for yourself. It also can help speed up your path to success while at the same time reduce the cost to get there, particularly if your "go it alone" path ends up being the wrong one.
Here are three considerations for contractors looking to work with a coach or mentor
Be cautious of who you choose to work with
A business coach or mentor should have proven success in their areas of claimed expertise. However, there are many consultants and coaches out there who failed at their own businesses or may have never actually reached success with their businesses before becoming a coach. Check the business history and actual level of success achieved by your prospective coach or mentor before you commit and invest in hiring him or her. Also, if you are not sure of the coach’s reputation, check with his/her current and previous clients about their experiences. As with other business investments, your best bet may be to ask for a referral from other contractors you respect who have already worked with a coach or mentor. The reality is if you work with the wrong coach and or mentor you own the responsibility for that decision. If it’s not working out with your coach first be honest with yourself about why, then either change your approach to working with him or her or find a new coach to work with.
Make sure to have a way you can both measure success
To make sure you will get a return on investment make sure you and your coach agree on how you will measure results. Help with soft skills like leadership and people skills will be challenging to measure because changes and results may be seen as subjective and might be measured differently by different people. However many changes can be measured in an objective way. For example when I was first growing my business I worked with a coach on a financial system and the related QuickBooks setup required to support it. Although he seemed to have the right experience he couldn’t offer me a reference specifically from a construction company. After some discussion we agreed his compensation would be conditional on results and we made a list of desired outcomes to measure. After several months we mutually agreed his system didn't serve the intended purpose and I got the majority of my money back. Unfortunately I lost a lot of valuable time. I assume he did too. However we both learned a lot from the experience, I minimized my risk by agreeing on how he would be compensated, and I still had the money I needed to hire another expert to get it done.
Decide whether you want to remodel your business or do a tear down and start over
The business owners I work with as a coach and or mentor typically already own businesses that have been around a while and most already have pretty good business systems in place. These business owners come to me to help them remodel and improve their businesses so they can increase profits and or grow to the next level.
In addition to working one on one with remodeling businesses and their owners I have also worked in the corporate side of franchising. Joining a franchise can be a great option for the right business owner. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to carve out your own path and direction and evolve your business systems on the fly a franchise might not be a good option. On the other hand if your just getting started, or need to tear down what you have and start over again, and you want to adopt an established and tested business model, and you are willing to actually follow it, not question it, a franchise can be a great way to go.
Most franchises offer some level of business coaching, just be sure it will be enough for you to achieve your desired level of success. Before joining a franchise I recommend you look into how much one on one support and coaching you and your new franchise can expect and will receive from the franchisor. If they offer a system, but not enough training and support to help you adopt it, you might want to keep looking.