Startup Coaching Guide

January 8, 2024
Startup Coaching Guide

Why You Need Startup Business Coaching

The Founder Checklist To Find The Right Mentorship

How Startup Coaching can help your business? Discover how to find the perfect mentorship and win competitive advantage. Tips, Courses & Best Practices.

In entrepreneurship, experience is a competitive advantage that is why mentorship is fundamental for founders. We grab knowledge from books and experience from people. And the people you need right now as a founder are startup coaches.

Sure you can do it all alone but it will take more time to realise what is best to do. And in the end, entrepreneurship is a race, time matters. The right business coaching will take you places.

In this article we will dive into what is Business Coaching for Startups, where you can find it and how to choose the best for you.

You will learn:

  • What is Startup Coaching?
  • What Do Startup Coaches (Should) Do?
  • Lean Startup Coaching
  • Founder Struggles and Why You Need A Coach
  • Benefits of Startup Coaching
  • Step-by-step Process To Find The Right Coach

What is Startup Coaching?

Startup coaching is getting another entrepreneur, who is at least 10 years ahead of you and has successfully launched and marketed a product or a service, to give you advice on your business. Startup coaching is the best way to speed up your progress. Speed, not for the sake of just going faster, but to avoid wasting time on silly decisions.

For example, you might be wondering right now:

  • How can I scale?
  • When to do my first hire?
  • Do I need [X] technology?
  • Is there a market for my product?

A (great) startup coach can help you to answer all these questions.

The best startup coaching is a tailored experience. Yet, there is currently a wide offer of courses and training on business that could also get you ahead for the fraction of the price.

📘 Improve Your Business Development Skills with our
Business Development Courses

Here is an overview of the things you will do with your startup business coach:

Dedicated coaches serve as trusted advisors. The operational part and execution is up to you. The moment your coach/advisor takes part in the actual execution of the tasks they are becoming your business partner too.

Who knows, that might happen to you.

On the other hand, you can opt for a more generalized approach to start-up coaching by enrolling in a business course or training program, which allows you to learn from multiple experts simultaneously.

Regardless of the method chosen, roll up your sleeves because as a founder, any type of coaching will set you to work hard to ensure efficient and effective progress towards your goals.

📘 Get a coach for you and your team with our
Business Development Training

What Do Startup Coaches Do?
Or At Least Should Do

Weather you are taking 1-on-1 sessions, online business coaching courses, tailored coaching programs

What exactly should these coaches do to provide effective mentorship?

  • Provides industry advice: Any startup mentor should possess a deep understanding of the startup ecosystem and be experienced in various industries. This knowledge enables them to offer relevant advice and insights tailored to your specific business needs.
  • Builds a tailored roadmap: For you as a startup founder these experts help you to build a tailored roadmap specifically designed for the challenges and goals of your startup. For example, creating the step-by-step plan for a go-to-market strategy, customer research frameworks or even how to develop your MVP.
  • Brings an inspirational & motivational approach: Your startup mentor should have genuine passion for helping startups thrive. Experience is not enough, they have to motivate you. By providing ongoing support, motivation, accountability, and a feasible successful future startup coaching help founders navigate easily the dos and don'ts of entrepreneurship.
  • Shares practical and hands-on steps: Startup coaches should be skilled in identifying bottlenecks and developing strategies to overcome them. For example, a great startup mentor should provide a comprehensive roadmap for success to craft a solid marketing plan, achieve profitability, hire the best talent, or build a motivated team.

So, when searching for a mentor, look for someone who embodies these qualities and has a genuine passion for helping startups founders. They were in your feet once and so it should feel natural when they are helping you out.

With the right mentorship, you can make informed decisions, avoid common mistakes, and really get the momentum we all look for in the startup phase of our business.

💡 Looking for a coach? we got them!
Best Business Development Coaches For You

Lean Startup Coaching

Startup coaching in itself is lean: continuous experimentation and iteration to find the best out of you as a founder and out of your business idea. There are no rules, everything is yet to be tested, proved, and launched.

The coaching helps entrepreneurs like yourself define, refine and redefine your product offerings, ensuring that you are delivering real value to your customers. It is not difficult to be trapped by your idea and fall in a loop hole. Instead to aiming to a years plan, you will go down to the basics:

  • find a problem,
  • build a viable solution,
  • sell it to those with the problem,
  • get feedback from the people you sold your solution,
  • rinse and repeat

The fundamental goal of lean startup coaching is to guide entrepreneurs in developing their ideas, products, and services while minimizing waste and maximizing value.

The Business Development School - Feedback loop for startup business development
Lean Startup Method - Experimentation Worflow
💡 Check Our Business Development Guide For Startups

What founders struggle with?

Why do you need a coach?

Your business network is limited

Your business network may currently be limited in terms of effective engagement. If you are not actively crafting platforms like LinkedIn, attending industry events, making proactive calls, or effectively promoting your brand, then it's likely that your business's presence... Well, you almost have no business presence. That will limit your capabilities way too much.

Networking is not a task you do on the side. You need guidance and connections.

Startup coaching will help you to: get in front of relevant people and build relationships in your industry, allowing more people to notice and appreciate the impressive progress you are making. For example, potential customers might be just one coaching session away.

Do not be shy. Actually, be annoying. Tell your about your startup like you actually are building it!

📘 Want to get good at LinkedIn, check our
LinkedIn Course For Founders

You are working too much IN the business, not ON the business

You find yourself consumed by the daily operations of your business, leaving little time to focus on the bigger picture. Lack of attention to strategic planning and long-term goals is detrimental to the growth and success of your startup.

Startup coaching will help you to: delegate responsibilities and automate certain processes, allowing you to shift your focus from working in the business to working on the business. For example, how to take a step back, reevaluate your priorities, and empower your team to handle the day-to-day operations, while you concentrate on the vision and strategies that will shape the future of your business.

💡 Want to get more clients, check our
SaaS Sales Strategies

Your leadership skills require refinement

Being a leader is a skill. Whether you are on your own or already have a team, your leadership will set the path to success. And the same as your solution is still in development, so do your leadership skills.

Your leadership skills, though undoubtedly present, may benefit from some refinement. And to clarify, it is crucial to recognise that everyone, even the most accomplished leaders, have moments of insecurity.

Startup coaching will help you to: understand your strengths but most importantly how to use your weaknesses as an advantage. Sometimes we even think that what we consider a weakness is actually a strength we should use. By acknowledging these feelings and actively working on self-improvement, you can address any areas that need refinement and strengthen your leadership abilities.

Remember, leadership is a continuous journey of learning and growth. Embrace your potential, trust in your capabilities, and seek guidance and support when necessary.

Check our webinar in Negotiation Skills

With Lucia Piseddu - Founder at The BD School and Morgan Barlet - Sales Director at HousingAnywhere.

Your product-market fit is still far away

You have an MVP but are not sure how to get the clients. Or the clients you got are asking for almost a completely new solution. To find the right market requires patience and iteration.

To make the process faster we can rely on experienced entrepreneurs that have done something similar before.

Your product-market fit is a crucial aspect of your business's success, and it requires careful consideration and understanding to achieve. Product-market fit is an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation.

Startup coaching will help you to: mitigate potential risks and uncertainties that may arise during the product-market fit journey. For example, finding the best channel or features to market your solution.

It is also important to have a flexible, agile and lean mindset, allowing for quick adjustments and pivoting when needed.

You are not able to delegate easily

You may find it challenging to easily delegate tasks (too much in the business), which can be attributed to a fear of failure. This is the best recipe for burnout.

The fear of failure acts as a barrier, preventing you from entrusting others with for example responding to a simple email on your behalf. It might not meet my standards, you might think.

Startup coaching will help you to: confront your fear of failure and embrace the idea of delegation. By assigning tasks to capable individuals within your team, you can distribute the workload and even get a rest, so much needed in many cases. This will provide you with the space and mental clarity needed to focus on higher-level strategic activities.

Embrace, empower, delegate and grow.

Benefits of Coaching When You Are A Founder/CEO

New Direct Connections With Peers, Partners and Potential Customers

By engaging in coaching sessions, you (founders and CEOs) will gain access to a broad network of experience. Your coach will have a wealthy wallet of people they worked already in the past. A world of knowledge and insights within hand's reach.

For example, joining your coach in business events. Hanging out with fellow entrepreneurs allows ideas to happen: experiences of others, best practices, struggles... This creates a sense of community that will motivate you and help you think more clearly.

One connection brings the other. If they all happen within your business realm, growth will happen.

Networking tips for startup founders

A Fresh Reality Check On Your Business

One of the most significant advantages is that your coach will tell you the hard truth: it is in the best of your interest to have it. For instance: gaining a new perspective on your real ICP (ideal client profile), how to build scalable processes, why your solution won't work and how it could work.

An honest feedback can be particularly valuable, as it can help you identify blind spots, turn down long-standing assumptions, and make you think for real. Coaching provides an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day demands of running a business and take a holistic view of its overall strategy and direction. Remember: be more on the business.

Tailored & Personal 1-on-1 Advice

You are the leader, the intern, the sales department, the marketing manager... With a trusted coach by your side you will get a safe space where you can openly discuss your concerns and aspirations, enabling the coach to understand your individual needs and create the plan that suits you and only you.

Through a tailored approach, you can address specific challenges such as team management, strategic planning, or work-life balance, while also working on your personal development areas.

Both The Hard & Soft Skills

Let's start with the so-called 'hard skills', such as financial management, strategic planning, and operational mastery. Your coach will get you those no problem. Those are your aptitudes.

Yet what we call 'soft skills' you give your 'hard skills' a direction. Coaching offers support in developing soft skills vital for effective leadership. For example, conflict resolution, and interpersonal skills will enable you to build stronger relationships with your team, partners, and clients. Coaching will empower you as a visionary.

7 active listening skills to master as a startup founder

Join our Business Development community and events

Join inspiring founders and business developers from all around the world sharing their tips, insights, frustrations and best practices. All on the same mission: Learning together and becoming more successful business development pros.

Our monthly meet-ups are highly informal gatherings where everyone contributes to each other's success by sharing their experience, doubts and best practices.

You're fully in control of what we talk about, because you actually suggest the topic that you need the most help with.

Monthly Business Development Meet-ups
Free Business Development Webinars

How to Find a Startup Coach - Step by step

1 - Get Active on LinkedIn

  • Promote your product or solution
  • Show your expertise
  • Start connecting with peers

Building an audience will help your search for coaches, and it will be handy in a long-run.

Join Our LinkedIn Course

2 - Networking

Now that you made connections you can initiate meetups, online coffees, and actual coffee. Any contact will be good if the person is relevant for you and your business. Networking is you most valuable asset as founder.

3 - Due-diligence

When it comes to finding the perfect coaching for your startup, it is crucial to carry out your due diligence. Take into consideration whether the coaching team has prior experience in your industry and if they have successfully nurtured and grown similar businesses in the past. It is essential to evaluate whether their approach aligns with your vision and values.

Transparency is another vital aspect to consider - ensure that the coaching team is open to sharing their expertise and knowledge with you.

Questions you have to ask yourself:

  • do they have experience in my industry?
  • are they open to sharing everything?
  • do I like their approach?
  • why do they coach?

4 - Self-study

Check All Our Guide Best Business Development Training & Courses

Startup Coaching Platforms

  • Coaching Hub: it enables organizations to create personalized, measurable, and scalable coaching programs. CoachHub focuses on measurability, scalability, and flexibility allowing coachees to track progress.
  • Growth Mentor: this platform facilitates tailored mentor matches based on specific criteria like objectives, language, industry, or even software tools.
  • Mentor Cruise: it helps to find highly-vetted mentors & industry professionals to move your business forward with world-class industry experts.
  • Noomii: this marketplace is a premier provider of corporate coaching, linking clients with top-tier leadership coaches globally. It is active in more than 100 countries, and it ensures precise coach matches based on individual goals, personality, and organizational needs.

From Startup To Scale Up with The BD School

If you are a founder and need to boost your team business development skills we got this options for you:

- Enroll in one of our Business Development Courses

- Book a Tailored Business Development Training

- Get Lucia Piseddu (our founder) for a 1-on-1 Call

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