The role of business coaching in SMME scaling

Controversial yet effective

The role of business coaching in SMME scaling

Small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) are the lifeblood of any economy. Yet, scaling these businesses from fledgling startups to sustainable operations can be a daunting task. Enter business coaching, a service often met with scepticism yet demonstrably effective in propelling SMME growth.

Why the controversy?

The scepticism surrounding business coaching for SMMEs stems from a few key factors. Firstly, there’s a perception that coaching is expensive and unnecessary, especially for bootstrapped businesses. Secondly, the coaching industry itself can be unregulated, leading to concerns about unqualified practitioners. Finally, some view coaching as a magic bullet, a one-size-fits-all solution that ignores the unique challenges of each SMME.

Beyond the hype: the power of coaching

Despite the controversy, a growing body of evidence highlights the positive impact of business coaching on SMME scaling. Here’s how coaching empowers SMMEs:

  • Clarity and focus − A good coach acts as a sounding board, helping SMME owners define their vision, set realistic goals, and develop a clear roadmap for growth.
  • Strategic planning − Coaches guide SMMEs through strategic processes, identifying weaknesses, capitalising on strengths, and developing sustainable competitive advantages.
  • Skills development − Coaching can address specific skill gaps, from marketing and sales to financial management and team leadership.
  • Accountability and support − Regular coaching sessions provide accountability, keeping SMME owners on track and motivated during challenging times.

SMME success stories fuelled by coaching

Let’s look at some real-world examples:

  • Case Study 1 − Sarah Nomonde, owner of a local bakery, felt overwhelmed by managing daily operations and lacked a clear vision for expansion. A business coach helped Sarah develop a strategic marketing plan, identify ideal customer demographics, and delegate tasks effectively. Within a year, Sarah doubled her sales and opened a second location.
  • Case Study 2 − Mr B, a tech entrepreneur, struggled to attract funding for his innovative app. A coach helped Mr B refine his pitch, identify target investors, and develop a clear roadmap for product development. Soon after, Mr B secured a significant investment, paving the way for his company’s growth.

Choosing the right coach

While coaching offers undeniable benefits, it’s crucial to choose the right coach for your SMME. Here are some tips:

  • Seek coaches with experience in your industry.
  • Ask for references and check their credentials.
  • Ensure the coach’s approach aligns with your business goals and learning style.

The road to scaling

Business coaching isn’t a magic solution, but it can be a powerful tool for SMMEs looking to navigate the often-turbulent waters of scaling. By providing clarity, focus, and ongoing support, a qualified coach can empower SMME owners to make informed decisions, build sustainable businesses, and achieve long-term success.

Author Hiten Keshave CA(SA), Director, Unconventional CA