The Gist Of This Episode: You feel like you need someone on the outside helping you figure out your business – but what do you need? Mentor? Business Coach? Business Consultant? ….how do you choose? Let me share with you my advice!
Welcome to The Business Bites Podcast. My name is Rachel Brenke, and I’m here to bring you a bite of content to help you grow your business, even when you don’t have a lot of time. Whether you’re in the car pickup line to pick up the kids from school, doing laundry around the house, or just needing a quick fix, this is the information for you to help grow your business to success.
Welcome to this episode of The Business Bites. I am Rachel Brenke, like always, and I wanted to chitchat today with you guys about whether to have or why to have and when you should have a business consultant or mentor in your business. I am going to walk through why to have it, things to look out for, and how to get one of these to help you, but right off the bat, I just want you guys to know that needing someone on the outside looking in is something that’s never going to end. Don’t just close off this podcast because you think you’ve got it all together and you’re ready to rock and roll on your own, because I want you to imagine yourself.
Say you have a bottle of water. I’m looking at a Fiji bottle of water while I’m recording this for you guys. Imagine yourself inside the bottle. It’s hard for you to read the label from the inside. You can’t see inside out. It’s easier to see from the outside in, especially when you’re not invested, so having a third party objective individual to be able to read the label on the bottle, which is your business, is way easier to get feedback and propel your business along than if you were just trying to hack it yourself, be completely confused and not able to see the label from the inside, and, eventually, some people just end up being so discouraged, because they’re so frustrated they can’t read the label, they can’t discern what to do, that they become stalled in business, or you end up on the flip side. You’re at the other end of the spectrum. You throw yourself into business thinking “Okay. Well, I’m confused, but I’m going to keep going on the path I’m going,” and then you’re going to wake up one day and realize that you’re really not going anywhere or you’re making it way harder than it needs to be, because you can’t see the label when you’re inside the bottle.
These people can tell you things that you can’t see. They can also share with you their experiences that they’ve personally felt in building of their own businesses, but they can also show you and share with you things that they’ve seen from other clients, because a lot of times, we don’t hear about the hard side of business. We may here that someone has a bad day or they have a bad client or that sales are down, but you don’t necessarily hear the actually nitty-gritty details of a situation that’s happened. As a lawyer and a business consultant myself, so, yes, this podcast is a little self-serving in a way, but it is sharing, you guys, as a business owner, that I get to see, as a lawyer and a business consultant, I get to see these things that happen to you guys. I get to know the actual details, and by being able to have this candid experience with a business consultant or a mentor, you’re able to get to know those details that aren’t really shared on social media. They may not really be shared through newsletters.
You think you hear about these trials that other people, these big names you look up to, go through, but you don’t know the actual specific details. By having a one on one with someone, you can learn these details, because the nuances, a lot of times, from situation to situation, the circumstances change. One little thing can change an entire outcome. By getting in with a business consultant or a mentor that can share with you these details, you’re better well-equipped to face any situation that may come along, go ahead and prevent it, especially on the legal side. That’s me. You know that’s what I share. That’s what I aim to do. Having someone to share with you their experiences and what they’ve seen from other clients is super important.
It doesn’t take much convincing for many business owners to understand the need to have someone to help them. It’s really this next two steps of what to be weary of and what to look for when you’re going to get a business consultant, coach, or mentor, but also how to get them. Before we dig into the whole process, and I’ve got a nice little checklist that you guys can use of how to get one that’s going to be the most successful for your business, there’s a few things I want you guys to be weary of. There’s a bunch of terms that are thrown around in the industry, various industries across the interwebs that can be quite confusing. You may not know exactly what you need.
As you’ve heard through this podcast so far, I’ve already been using the term “business consultant,” “business coach,” and “mentor,” and I’ve kind of strung them all together, because everyone kind of has a different idea of which one means to them. Each of these terms means something different from person to person, whether they’re that individual that’s giving of the information and value to the business owner or when a business owner is going to seek to find this mentor, coach, or consultant, everyone has attached a different definition to the terms.
I’m going to share with you what I believe, from my research, exactly what the term and the definitions are, kind of as a general observation, but, again, remember this may vary depending on the people that you are seeking to be in this type of counseling or guidance position for you. You’ve got mentor, which I think is someone that really, truly wants to have the one on one, individual, personal relationship with you. They become invested in the type of business that you are, the type of person you are, who you are as a person. Now, mentor’s a little broad, because a mentor could be from a variety of different topics. It can start from very narrow, to a little specific one thing you need to learn in your business, to learning everything, how this person has learned to grow their business.
Mentors and people that assert themselves as mentor, I want you to look very hard at. Make this a long process. I want you to slowly hire them and quick to fire them, because mentors, if they are a mentor in the definition that I just gave you, they are going to be very invested in your business, hopefully, if they’re not, they’re not a mentor, and you’re going to be very invested in having them as part of your business. Invested is not just the financial and time resources but is also the emotional aspect, as well.
Then, the next term that a lot of people use is business coach. Oftentimes, I find that business coaches are individuals that want to teach you the way that they done their business. They differentiate from a mentor a little bit in the fact that they may be very specific on a topic or they’re only going to teach you their way, but there [inaudible 00:06:15] to be kind of at an arm’s length type of relationship. Coaches, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad thing, because they are so narrow or they’re arm’s length, but they’re more of … Knowing that you want to be like person A, you want them to coach you exactly how they do things. You’re not necessarily looking for a friendship, mentor relationship, but you want to learn how they do the business, keep them at arm’s length but still get the value of their experiences and what they’ve seen from their other clients or through their business. Business coach, to me, is someone that teaches their way.
The last term, and this is where I fall into, is a business consultant. A business consultant is someone that’s going to be a little bit arm’s length. I still love and get to know all of my business consulting clients, so don’t think that we’re just these soulless individuals that aren’t going to be invested emotionally with you. We are going to be. At least I am, but I’m someone that’s going to come into your business. I’m going to look at all the possible options that your business needs, and I’m going to present to you a variety of options for you to choose from that I think are best. I will give you my recommendation, just as thought I’m a business coach, and say “Hey. This is what I would do in your shoes,” but I’m not going to teach just one way to do things. I’m going to go out and do the research and find what is the best option for your business, and then you, as the business owner, get to make the choice. That’s why I’m consulting. I’m consulting to you these options based on my experience, past client experience, and then you, as the business owner, get to make the education decision.
Now, trying to figure out which of these options do you need, which do you need, a mentor, a coach, or a consultant, it’s going to vary depending on the type of personality you are, the type of industry you’re in, where you’re at in your business. This is something that you’re going to have to figure out on your own. I’m more than happy to help you guys figure it out. If you want to reach out to me, you can submit to the contact form on the website at RachelBrenke.com. I’m happy to help you, and I’m happy to tell you that if I feel you need a mentor that’s going to hand hold and be emotionally invested, I’m going to send you to someone or help you find somebody. If I think that you need a coach, you just don’t want to make decisions, you just want to follow a checklist, I’ll help you find a coach.
I really strongly recommend that you guys sit down and see which of these categories do you fall into and go with the one that you feel is going to be the best. Keep in mind, I’m going to teach you guys here in a second how to get one of these, how do you, what is the process, to make sure I’m not throwing my money and time and energy away, is you guys want to make sure that, to know you don’t have to be stuck. Say you get in with someone and you decide “Okay. A coach really isn’t what I need. I really wanted someone that would give me options,” you can fire them. Granted, you may have some kind of coaching agreement with them, but keep in mind that you are not stuck with them forever of the life of your business.
Let’s jump right into how to get a mentor, coach, or a consultant. I just kind of gave you a little tidbit. I need you to have a clear vision on your business, where you’re going, and what you think you need at the time. I completely understand a lot of time you don’t know what you don’t know, and I just told you you can’t see the label when you’re inside the bottle, but I think you’ll have a little bit better idea now that I gave you the definitions of these different types of coaches, mentors, consultants that are out there that will give you a little bit clearer vision that you can wrap up with your business plan and your strategies to help pick the person that you want to have help you.
I want you to evaluate your weaknesses and strengths as well as these other individuals you think that you want to have in this consulting or counseling, I guess I should call it, counseling type of position for your business, because you want to see what your weaknesses and strengths are so you can identify the areas that you know you definitely need help on and also areas that you can capitalize upon. Now, this month, you may want a consultant that’s going to help you figure out what to do with some of your weaknesses, and, then, once you get a wrangle on that, maybe next month you need a consultant that’s going to help you capitalize and expand your strengths. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can go to different people for different things. What is the one thing that they are most known for? What is the thing they’re most successful at? You can pair up your weakness and strengths with their weaknesses and strengths and be able to really narrow down the pool of who you should have. I want you to choose someone based on these sorts of things at the time of when you’re seeking this individual in your business.
The next tip that I have is going to be dependent on your personality, but I really want you to let these people rip you apart, and I’m not meaning tear you down, not be derogatory and negative to you, but you need to go in with an open mind that you are ready to get your feelings a little hurt, because let’s be real, as entrepreneurs, we definitely are tied to our business. We have emotions and feelings, and a lot of time, when we hear negative things, we don’t necessarily want to hear it, but getting that band-aid ripped off, letting that salt be ground into your wound will help you grow to be a bigger and a better successful business.
You also want to make sure they’re going to hold you accountable, so you want to make sure that they’re going to keep you from wasting time, money, and energy in areas that you don’t need. If you start seeing individuals that are trying to upsell all these areas that you feel and you are confident are already your strengths and you don’t need further help, or it’s taking you in a completely different direction than your instinct, which I’m going to talk about here in a second as my final note, but if you start seeing these people aren’t holding you accountable, that’s not the type of individual you need to have helping your business. If they’re not helping keep you wasting from time, money, and energy, then you definitely … If they’re just selling you products and services and resources, then that probably someone you need to reevaluate being with, keeping in mind, balancing that with “You don’t know what you don’t know, and you’re going to someone for help.” They’re going to present you with the resources, and you’re going to need to invest time, money, and energy into changing of your plans.
Just be vigilant that you don’t want to be a blind sheep and follow these people. You want to have your instinct. At the end of the day, I do recommend having someone that’s going to counsel your business, whether it falls into the mentorship, coaching, or consulting. They all have a place in time for you based on where you are in your business, but never discount the instinct that you have. You’re an entrepreneur for a reason. You had an instinct and a drive to be here. That’s why you’re listening to the podcast. That’s why you’re even considering having someone help you, because you have this instinct and desire to grow your business. Never forget that, at the end of the day, your instinct is most important. Always weigh what someone else is saying against how you feel, and always follow your gut.
If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please just click subscribe as well as leave a little review or feedback so I know exactly what you guys want to hear. Also, if you want to see any transcripts, Tweetables, or other resources, head over to RachelBrenke.com and click “podcast,” and all of the episodes are listed there for your review, as well.
Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.
Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke
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