You can COPY me, but you will never BE me

Kind of pisses me off that I have to write this post….but I just can’t let it slide. I know I should be doing other things (like BAS lodgements or finalising my new business), but instead I sit here writing ranty blog posts because you choose to use my services, then sell the information I taught you, and pass my information off as your own to your business coaching clients.

“You are a copy cat. You are not qualified to give financial, accounting or bookkeeping advice. You are not me. Why can’t you focus on your own grass and stop cutting mine?”

I could sit here and rant and rave for hours about how you are just being a copy cat, this is not the first time you have copied me, you are not legally qualified to give out financial advice and information and the back end of your own business is a dogs breakfast – but what is the point? You HAVE already copied me (TWICE), you have taken the information and knowledge I gave to you and are now blogging about financial reporting topics and you are looking like an absolute saint to your tribe.

So instead of sitting here all glum and writing a bitchy post (well ok, I did write the bitchy post just to vent and I went back and deleted it as the only person it was helping was me), I am going to write some hints on how to choose a business coach.

“Hopefully, this will help small business owners and entrepreneurs see through your dirty tactics and your lack of knowledge, and help them avoid being left up the creek without a paddle.”

So here are my top 5 tips on how to choose the right business coach:

1.Work out what you need help with. Saying “I need help with my business” – is far too broad. What areas are you struggling with, what don’t you understand, what is holding you back, what is stopping you from jumping to the next level? Is it marketing, branding, advertising, public speaking, mindset, financials – which area – and find a coach who SPECIALISES in that area. I have not yet met a coach who specialises in every single one of those areas. We each have our own talents so find someone with the expertise to help you with your road block.

2. What skills does your coach have? This is the biggest blunder we see business owners make. They get sucked into the pretty Facebook advertising promising a 6 figure business in 20 days. But what skills do they have to deliver that exact result for you. If the back end of their business is a shambles, how do you think your business will end up? If the coach is not paying themselves a wage, how do you think they will help you become profitable to pay yourself a wage? If the coach had their generic branding done on Fivver should they be advising you on your branding? Don’t be scared to come right out and ask “what are your qualifications”….if you don’t ask – you might just be the one left up the creek on your own.

3. Ask for testimonials. My biggest bug bear with pretty, internet testimonials on websites are things that say “She is the best coach ever…..Sarah” – now just between you and me – I know “Sarah” is just a complete and utter made up bullshit story to make the coaches services look good. If they were an amazing coach, business owners would be only too happy to provide a proper testimonial about how their services have helped their business, and they would not be ashamed to link back to their business.

4. Word of Mouth (is only as good as the mouth it comes out of). I cringe nearly daily when I see people in various Facebook groups put up a post saying “I need help with my business can someone recommend a good coach”. Before you can blink, there are 300 comments about how people “hear” that “Mary” is a good coach. You know what, no hope in hell I would be trusting my business growth, direction and future on someone somebody “hears” about. I want word of mouth referrals from people who have actually used their services. Ask for comments why they are referring them, what results did they see and are they happy with the return on investment.

5. Trust is everything. They always say trust your gut, and most times this is bang on the money. So my advice is to start slow, and build up as you need it. Signing up to a 12 month coaching plan if you are not 100% sure that is what you want (or need) may not be the best way to start off your coaching relationship. Your business will change by next week (I promise you that) – so I can only imagine your coaching needs will change well before your 12 month commitment is up. Start slowly, ask for a starter session or a Skype session initially, build up trust and if your gut is starting to feel like you are on a downhill rollercoaster, then stop and reassess your needs.

“So whilst I can see through your bullshit and know that you are leveraging off my success, I hope my tips to find the right business coach help at least one innocent business owner.”

So yes, I have taken off my “ranty pants” today – or maybe they are half down, as I think (and hope) I can turn this shitty situation around and actually use it as ammunition as to why people come to me in the first place.

People come to me as they don’t understand their business finances. They are scared and embarrassed. We don’t judge and we make them feel normal and welcome. They have no clue why they are not making a profit, they have no clue about accounting software and generally if they are using it – they are not using it correctly. From unregistered business names, charging GST when legally not allowed, from not lodging Business Activity Statements on time and racking up huge ATO debts to not saving enough for tax and having no idea how to even price their business idea to see if it is viable. We have seen it all, and more.

“That is why people book in for my financial coaching sessions. Because they know if they don’t understand the basics, then they will come off second best. And they won’t have a clue until it hits them like a freight train.”

I know a lot of amazing business coaches, so I am not tarnishing the entire industry, but what I certainly hope is that if you are a business coach and have clients asking you for advice on accounting software, bookkeeping, financial reporting and budgeting – you form a strong partnership with an accountant (like me!) who can provide these add on services for you.

Your clients will love you for being honest, for providing an experienced advisor and for providing a complete solution which is actually accurate and reliable.

So, if any other business coach has the bright idea to book in for one of my services to then become my next copycat – you are not welcome. I base my working relationships with my clients on trust, respect and honesty and I expect the same in return.

Want to learn to love your numbers? yes please...Bookkeeping, Accounting & Tax services Australia wide