Who are You Working With?
It’s sometimes hard to believe I’ve been involved in the entrepreneurial space for 30 years. I’ve seen people come and go, I’ve coached, mentored, facilitated — and I’ve been coached, mentored, and facilitated.
A variety of people and talent are needed to support entrepreneurs and the small business world, and it’s important to know where every person fits, and the skills they have to offer.
So many people call individuals entering the entrepreneurial space business consultants, mentors, coaches, advisors, trainers, and facilitators. We need all those roles. We also need to know who is performing those roles, and what makes them qualified for the role.
These things are backed up by the ultimate goal of the incubator, accelerator, business center, or innovation hub.
I’ve seen people labeled as an overall business consultant, advisor, or mentor, when in reality they only know the specific business they started or grew, or their specific area of expertise within a specific industry.
I caution you here, because in the past I’ve had to clean up the 25–100 thousand dollar mess resulting from the advice of someone who doesn’t have experience supporting startups or small businesses.
While we can all be consultants, advisors, or mentors, the reality is you can’t be an Olympic swimmer just by watching the Olympics.
With all due respect, it takes a lot of practice, hours, patience, and trials. I played chess competitively through high school and can tell you that there were thousands of hours spent learning and playing and practicing before I was able to compete, or make it look easy to win.
The same is true in business. it seem everyone transitioning from one job to another likes to call themselves a business consultant, coach, or mentor.
While we need the skill that comes with transition, we must find a term that is more specific to what they are: professionals in transition, or experts in their field. We must stop using a blanket term that could result in a painful process for the entrepreneurs who are starting or growing a business.
BEFORE YOU GO
We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.
- Who are you really hiring when you hire a business coach?
- What does business coaching, mentoring, advising, or consulting really mean?
- What expectations do you have of anyone performing these roles?
Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.
#entrepreneurship #leadership #business #farisalami