Whatever you decide to call them, having someone to act as a commercial reality check in your business is invaluable. Finding someone with business experience who is prepared to meet and make you accountable could make the difference between meeting or missing your targets.
So how can a commercial coach/non-exec type person help your business? Here are a few of the benefits you'll reap:
- Outlining your business aims and objectives to someone not involved in the detail helps you to get things straight in your own mind
- A fresh pair of eyes looking at the business can make suggestions that may not have occurred to you
- A commercial person will inject discipline in to the business and have you reporting on a monthly basis as to whether you have met sales and marketing targets
- Knowing someone will be on your back if you don't deliver motivates you to win that new customer/ seal that long-running deal etc etc
Mr or Mrs Right
How do you go about choosing the person to fill this role? It may take a while to find the perfect person (what's that phrase about having to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince) and as the business develops, you may need to look for a person with different attributes. As a general outline, go for someone who:
- you trust
- preferably know (or know through a shared contact)
- has experience in an area that applies to your business
- and, critically, someone you respect
As a business owner, it can be a little unsettling at first to have someone question your business model and approach. After all, you are the boss, you know how to run your business, you won't be told what to do. Right? Well, maybe. But it's worth taking advice at the right time, and from the right kind of person.
Two hours with this person can have you walking away feeling great about the business and clear on the way forward. It may also mean doing some homework but then again, that's what professional naggers are for!
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com] and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up - how to start a business from home'