Coaches will support business success

Working on the business: Susanne Knowles (left) conducting a business coach training session. Image: Supplied.

Working on the business: Susanne Knowles (left) conducting a business coach training session. Image: Supplied.

One in three small businesses founded this year in Australia will not make it to 2024, according to the Queensland University of Technology. For sole traders, less than half will make it past the three year mark.

The most frequent reasons businesses fail are because of bad management and poor record keeping.

As Susanne Knowles, chair and founder of the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches, points out, many people who start a business are experts in their field, but haven't had as much experience in running a business.

"Small business owners often don't know how to work on the business rather than in the business. A business coach will help them to set their business up and make sure that they're on track to achieve their business targets," she said.

Distinct from a mentor or training provider, a business coach sits with a business owner to steer them in the right direction.

"A coach is someone who acts as a business partner and facilitates the business owner to solve their own problems rather than being told what to do.

"The key concept in coaching is that we work with the business owner to take them from where they are now, to where they want to be."

Business coach Claire Moffat began coaching after having owned a media business. At a networking event, Moffat was introduced to a young trademark attorney.

"She'd never run a business before and she came up to me and said, 'Do you think you could help me?'"

Over the following years, Moffat became a full-time business coach.

One of Moffat's clients moved from a capital city to a regional area. Having helmed a digital media business, the client could no longer commute to the city to meet clients. With Moffat's support the client closed her business and began working for the local council.

"When you let go of something that you've put a lot of effort into you need someone to listen to what's happening but also to help set a plan for the future."

Ms Knowles also highlights that business coaches can assist at various points in the business lifecycle.

"Coaches can help at different stages in the business; at the start of the business to get it going, when it enters a growth period or if there's going to be a merger with another business."

Some people may need a coach with expertise in their business's field, but this is not always essential. More important, said Ms Knowles, is the fit between the coach and the business owner.

"It's important that the coach and the client gel. The client needs to find a coach who is a good fit for them, someone they think is caring, personable and approachable, and the coaching style needs to be motivational and encouraging for them."