When is the right time to invest in services and tools?
Sounds extreme, right?
It even looks like a click-bait title.
Since you’re here, though, why not see if I can convince you that business coaching is not as well understood as it should be? And, that coaching is actually a vital tool in helping our businesses succeed when the stats aren’t particularly in our favor.
A few weeks ago, a colleague asked this about coaching and training:
"When is the right time? Size of company matters because the smaller the company the more focused they need to be on execution — self-reflection or training are quite frankly luxuries. Therefore only a decision the individual would make for themselves, rather than a rule of thumb. However, perhaps you can help me define a time when it’s necessary? 10 employees? 20? 50? Any research out there that would help answer this question?"
There are lots of things to talk about within this question. For now, here are two things we can explore:
A singular focus on execution
The idea that self-reflection and training are luxuries
Focusing on Execution
You may have heard this phrase (often, in various permutations, incorrectly attributed to Peter Drucker):
Execution eats strategy for breakfast.
In itself, that’s not a bad quote.
But we don’t run a business on pithy sayings, do we? (please say “no”…if you think the answer is “yes”, let’s talk sooner rather than later)
Execution is absolutely the way we deliver the value proposition of any business.
That’s how we keep the lights on, pay people, and have the ability to re-invest into business growth.
But let’s think through this question at a different level:
Q: What happens before the execution?
A: The strategy.
Q: What happens before the strategy?
Q: What happens during the thinking, the strategy, and the execution?
A: We’re making hypotheses about what we think is going to be true, testing them, and then examining the inputs.
Some stats to think about
It is pretty clear from the data on company survival that business owners and leaders don’t have a solid track record for doing this well.
…only 30% of companies survive 10 years
The latest available data (somewhat dated as you might expect) from the federal SBA suggests that approximately 30% of businesses die in the first 2 years, 50% are closed by year 5 and only 30% of companies survive 10 years.
That’s great if you’re part of the 30%.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to know at the beginning if you’re going to be one of the 3 that actually make it.
Institutional investors may fund 10 portfolio companies, plan for 3 to make it to at least break-even (hopefully a little more), and look for 1 to be a break-out success that pays for the rest.
What about smaller investors like angels, the community bank or Small Business Association loan officer, our friends and family who put their hard-earned money into our promises?
What happens to their money if we’re NOT one of the 30% that make it?
More importantly, what happens if you are the one who spends it and can’t give back even a percentage of what they gave you?
It isn’t just about the money
Ok, the money actually is a big deal. But, we also invest a huge amount of time in building our businesses.
The one commodity that’s absolutely impossible to get back.
How excited are you to think about spending so much time for a mere 3 in 10 chance at avoiding what the SBA calls “company death”?
What if there was something you could do that improved your odds — would you do it?
If you happen to be “funded” beyond friends and family, there’s a good chance you’ve got at least one advisor with some kind of business experience. You might even have a full advisory board.
But most entrepreneurs don’t.
And that’s where a business coach can really help make a difference. They’re an externalized brain. Their whole goal is to help you process things and see things differently so you can succeed.
Your coach is on your side of the table in a way that nobody else is. They create a safe place to:
admit when you don’t know something (without risking someone else's confidence).
explore new ideas and anticipate what might go wrong.
regain energy when something doesn’t go the way you planned.
A business coach might just be a key to helping you execute more effectively.
If that’s true, is coaching a luxury — or a necessity?
We started our business to bring change into the world in a unique and generous way.
The goal isn’t merely to survive — it is to thrive.
The time to take every advantage is now. Not someday, in the future, if we make it have the resources for optional things. The investments we make shape our future. Business coaching is one of several tools a business owner and company leader can use to thrive.
Paravelle offers executive coaching services to founders and CEOs with big growth goals. It's a crucial support structure that helps leaders avoid the negative results that come from being lonely at the top.
We might be a good fit to work together if you're:
at the create (<1M ARR), build ($1-3M ARR), or grow ($3-5M ARR) stage,
curious and looking for ideas and answers, and
ready to invest in working with a collaborator that brings a co-founder's perspective (without losing half your equity).