So you’ve started a business and need help moving in the right direction, but what would work best for you – a business incubator or a business coach? While incubators and coaching may seem similar on the surface, they are in fact very different in their focus.
Incubators offer startup entrepreneurs a physical space within which they can run their businesses, which can have huge benefits when it comes to cost to company. In addition, they offer other services, such as IT infrastructure, networking opportunities and access to funding. Incubators are aimed at providing an umbrella solution to businesses looking to be pointed in the right direction and in need of speedy growth.
A professional business coach is not interested in taking a stake in the business, but is rather dedicated to providing the business with a program tailored to each project or endeavour, while being cognisant of the holistic view of the business.
Incubators may become distracting, due to the various companies in the same space, or even possible interference from the investors themselves interested in their returns. Coaching is focused on one business at a time, whether working with a single business owner or the entire company, there is no background noise and the focus is entirely on building that company to its fullest potential.
Coaching Value Adds
- Coaching is a long term relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Each party has responsibilities: the coach to advise and the business owner to implement.
- In order for a business to grow from one level of profitability to another, there is a great deal of re-education required. In this process, trust is essential between the coach and the owner, without which the owner may become fearful of receiving the wrong advice.
- Business coaches are fully committed to helping owners grow their passion into something that generates profit. This requires professionalism, development and continual learning, to ensure that the business remains relevant in tough economic times.
- Business coaches focus on all aspects of the business; from cash flow management, profit margins, marketing, sales, and systems implementation, to issues concerning team leadership.
- In coaching, the business owner takes full accountability for the growth of the project. It is the coach’s duty to ensure that the business is sticking to the agreed upon plan.
- Coaching also allows the owner access to someone they can really trust when the cards are on the table, a true advisory partner.
When it comes down to deciding if incubation or coaching is the better option for a business, the owner will need to decide whether he or she requires guidance based on a strong, often longer term relationship – like in the case of coaching – or a jumpstart to get an idea or business off the ground – incubation.