Whether you are a new start up or expanding an existing business this can be both exciting and somewhat overwhelming. Regardless of where you are in your business development it always requires a well thought out plan of action.

Is business coaching important at the start of a new business? Yes. Many potentially mistakes can be avoided with a well seasoned business coach who has previous business experience. At the same time, many sound resources can be accessed by someone who has a good deal of business experience. 

Is business coaching about the business or about the people who own/run the business? Both. It's not uncommon for businesses to reach a place where new ideas and new systems need to come into play but the business operators might be apprehensive of the changes and growth they will be required to do in order to achieve the desired outcome. When you have a set of experienced eyes viewing your business from the outside in you can gain valuable insights into your business on every level. 

Does Social Media help to market my business or do I need a website? Most forms of social media are simply points of awareness for most businesses. Even at that, it's a limited place of awareness. These forums seldom help to sell products let alone services. At the most social media might entice a few people to commit to going to an event. It's name is an attribute to it's purpose "social media". It does not say "business marketing media." Put effort into both but understand the most common action after accessing a social media page is to look for additional information like a formal website. 

Should I hire someone to build my website? Unless you are making $250G or more a year in your business operations you should be doing your own business website. There are numerous easy to do websites that are affordable, professional, effective and easy to self manage. You may want to work with someone like a business mentor/coach to establish what should or shouldn't be on your website. Websites must be continually updated to be effective. Once you are past a certain income level in your business the expectations of your existing and new clients will change. At that point having a professionally managed site or at least professionally built site is critical, since websites, for almost all businesses, are the initial store front. Your website sells you and your services before you even know about your clients - how well does your website communicate what you offer? 

What are some of the most common mistakes made by small businesses? No marketing plan and no plan of action for the business. Unclear roles, overextending and under-training of the people who work for them. 

If I am starting a new business what are 3 things I should consider? 1) What is the real demand for the product and services you will be offering;  locally, nationally and internationally.  Just because you, a few good friends, and some family members believe it's a good idea does not mean others will feel the same. 2) Your business name. Many businesses call themselves a spa in their title but they only offer limited services like Massage and Reiki. That not only confuses the customer, it greatly disappoints them. That disappointment can become negative marketing for your business. Be careful to advertise in a way that is truthful and not misleading. 3) The amount of time it takes to set up and establish a business. New businesses can take from 3 years to 5 years to become profitable and will require a great deal of work to get there. If you are passionate about what you are doing you will likely stick it out. If you are you are not passionate and only in it for money or to leave a job, you will likely quit it before you are successful. 

What are the best tools to use for developing a new business? Curiosity and the willingness to ask questions of others who are successful in similar businesses. 

If there is a partnership in the business should the expectations of this partnership be on paper? Yes absolutely. It is also good to have someone mediate these expectations, the best possible outcomes and the worst possible outcomes ahead of time so there is a clear understanding of what each person expects from the other. Not knowing what is expected and relying only on an established friendship to determine what that is can and almost always, results in a fractured friendship and business. 

Are there books I can read about being in business or understanding business? 

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, & Others Don't by Jim Collins

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

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