When you hear the word “coach”, the notions of tactics and performance come to mind, and for good reason. Your startup coach should share workable business tactics with you to elevate your startup’s performance.

At GrowthMentor, we connect founders with some of the best startup mentors on the internet. Our mentors are in the top 3% in marketing and growth because they focus on those two things and have a proven track record to back their claims up.

Don’t struggle on your own for too long. Reach out for help from time to time.

This article will:

  • Explain what startup coaching and lean startup coaching is
  • Demonstrate the ways that startup coaching can be useful for you
  • Teach you how to find a startup coaching program

What is Startup Coaching?

Startup coaching is the perfect way for you to learn from those who have founded successful startups, or who know what founders need to become high-performers. An effective startup coach will guide you through the steps involved in making a new business profitable, including the steps you’ve neglected, and because of their experience, their feedback will hold extra weight.

At the start, the startup coach will conduct an overview of your business and take stock of everything you’re doing. The first thing a coach will look at is likely your business plan. From there, they’ll have enough information to assess what you should do differently.

Afterward, the startup coach will be there for you to ask for advice at each step. This is especially critical when you encounter growing pains or when things don’t go as planned. If you hit it off with your startup coach, the relationship doesn’t need to end. Even when you succeed, the learning phase lasts forever.

What Do Startup Coaches Do?

Usually, startup coaches will help you:

  1. Find funding
  2. Avoid expensive errors
  3. Get through hard times
  4. Improve your efficiency
  5. Identify weaknesses and pain points

The benefits you get from working with a startup coach are limitless. With an experienced coach who has gone through the struggles and heartache, you have an indispensable resource for your business. Moreover, the best coaches don’t merely critique and advise you, but they also provide ample encouragement.

How to Find a Startup Coach

When you’re looking to hire a startup coach, you have a few options. You should begin by narrowing the choices to founders that are relevant to your field. If you want to launch a SaaS product, then you won’t stand to learn much from someone who founded a pharmaceutical company. In these cases, a SaaS coach would be better suited to help you find your first 100 clients.

When you go through some of these coaching options, do your due diligence. Make sure to research the business coaching startup platform before you enter into any agreement with them. You can conduct your research using Google and LinkedIn Check their reviews and see if they have the right social proof to validate their claims.

Look for a Startup Coaching Program

These days, there are numerous online marketplaces where you can find your ideal startup coach. On each of these websites, you can expect to view profiles with a headshot and a few sentences detailing the coach’s background. Alongside this, you’ll typically see a list of rates, conditions, and past reviews from customers.

The advantage of growing through a coaching marketplace is simple. There is less time and energy spent looking for the right startup coach and there’s already some form of social proof baked in.

One example of a startup coaching program with a marketplace is GrowthMentor. We’ve created our own hybrid subscription and marketplace as we’re a business coaching startup ourselves. You pay a monthly membership and get free access to mentors. Some mentors might agree to meet you online a couple of times a month, while others might give you more meetings or other perks. It depends a lot on the individual.

With each mentor you work with, you’ll have the opportunity to speak 1-on-1. You’ll also have access to mastermind groups where you can discuss growth alongside both peers and mentors in an extremely personal setting.

We have mentors that are perfect for all sorts of businesses. If you run a SaaS company, you would do well to speak with one of our highly qualified SaaS coaches and mentors.

Get Referrals

Look to your network to find a connection that might lead you to a conversation with a startup coach. If you have a client that is particularly impressed with your services, maybe try to get to know them better and see if you can capitalize on their connections to get you an “in” with a startup coach.

Naturally, you can also consult with your fellow founders to see if there was anyone who helped them in their journey. Who knows, maybe they’ll be able to lend you valuable insights of their own.

Look on LinkedIn

While LinkedIn is another source of organic referrals from your current network, it is also a great tool to help focus your search for a startup founder. Practically every formal startup coach will have a profile on LinkedIn.

Based on profiles, you’ll quickly learn about a coach’s experience and how they can leverage it to help you. Also, the endorsements will give you an extra bit of confidence in their coaching skills.

Ways Your Startup Could Benefit from Coaching

Your startup deserves every opportunity to thrive in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. You don’t want to sell your business short. You could benefit from a wide variety of assistance. Depending on the scenario you’re in, your coach will adapt their advice accordingly.

Receive Personalized Advice

When you’re first starting your journey, you might think that Google has all the answers. For most people, search engines are sufficient. They might lead them to the right blog article or even course that solves their burning issue.

You aren’t like most people though, and it can get rather lonely at the top. You have specific questions that only an experienced startup coach familiar with your business can answer. A search engine won’t cut it, especially when you’re burdened with a mountain of responsibilities and deadlines, but a startup coach will give you direct feedback.

Tackle Challenges with Confidence

Whether growth is causing struggles, or your business is struggling to grow, a growth mentor can help validate your ideas so you can grow with confidence.

One of our past clients at GrowthMentor, Johanna Rustia, describes the mentors she’s worked with as a “secret arsenal”. If there was something she procrastinated on, she knew she could find a voice to hold her accountable and inspire her to take action. It makes a world of difference when an outsider life gives you props and a guiding hand.

Learn the Right Mindset

Startup coaches are battle-tested. They can draw from the troubles they’ve endured to give you the mentality needed to thrive.

Once you’ve benefited from startup coaching, you’ll find you need to consult the coach less and less. This is because their influence will set you on the right path.

Expand your Network

Having spent a lot of time developing their business, a startup coach has likely met some influential contacts. While you won’t necessarily get the same startup coaching experience from random contacts as you would from a coach, the potential exists.

Most importantly, your coach could refer you to the person you need at the right time. Maybe you need a top-notch web designer for your website, or perhaps an experienced contract lawyer. Instead of looking for such contacts blindly, you can consult with your coach to find the right person. After all, you are already placing a lot of faith in your coach, so you should trust their judgment here too.

Get a Sober Second Look

Even the most successful enterprises can fall victim to group-think and startups are no different. From the moment you launch, the deck is stacked against you. It’s common for the few members that endured the good and bad times to adopt narrow-minded, almost cult-like thinking.

This is a double-edged sword. Your startup likely flourished due to its unique perspective and way of doing things. However, this same perspective can produce some odd results. Startup coaching will help you cut through the BS to help your business thrive as much as possible.

You can also improve your relationships with your co-founder(s), or look for a marketing coach to focus on your marketing strategy or skills.

What is a Lean Startup? And How Does it Relate to Effective Startup Coaching?

The concept of a lean startup was first outlined in 2008 by Eric Reis in The Lean Startup. According to Reis, a lean startup strives to offer useful products as rapidly as possible and learn from its mistakes in the process. Such startups acquire a couple of initial customers to evaluate their products and validate their ideas.

Having tested the waters and gained some actionable advice and data, the lean startup will proceed to attract investors. They will demonstrate their newly improved product to angel investors and begin to generate revenue. As the business grows, it will attract venture capitalists and will therefore acquire enough funding to hire more employees and spend more frivolously. Thus, the startup exits its “lean” phase.

This entire process is intended to be quick. Hence the name “lean startup”. Reis is adamant that it is preferable to fail in the first three months of your startup’s life and learn the corresponding lessons from that failure than to spend years trying to develop the “perfect” product. You stand to lose much more time with the latter approach.

Creating Defined Processes

Mitchell Hora runs Continuum Ag, a company that helps farmers access data about their soil and learn from it to optimize their business.

Having run a lean startup himself, he’s encountered more than his fair share of pain points and obstacles. One of the most important things that he learned is that to accommodate his company’s growth, he should have devoted more effort to creating defined processes.

Initially, Mitchell believed his biggest error was having grown too fast. However, he realized that had he created sufficient documentation, he could have replicated his business’s unique processes more easily. As a result, he would have experienced fewer growing pains.

Lean Startup Coaching

Mitchell’s story illustrates how lean startup coaching and the insights of an experienced startup coach can help your business grow faster and more comfortably.

When your startup is still in its lean phase, it benefits a lot to outsource work. However, you must still be judicious with how you outsource such work and to whom. For example, although a marketing agency is useful to larger startups, alternatives such as freelancers or growth mentors are cheaper and more efficient.

When you’re in the lean phase, you don’t want to get locked into anything you can’t afford. Hiring a startup coach or a growth mentor is the perfect way to optimize your business for growth and stay lean.

Which is better, startup coach or self-study?

While you need to do plenty of self-evaluation when your startup is lean, you can still benefit from an extra voice in the room. As we outlined earlier, startup coaching will help bolster your confidence with actionable advice tailored to your business.

There are certain things that you simply can’t figure out alone. Who better to advise you on everything from hiring decisions to email marketing than someone who has been in the trenches and learned these things from experience?

Grow Your Startup With Growth Mentor

You can’t do everything by yourself. Rather, you need to spend time targeting your weak points with focused advice from a mentor who has been there before.

At GrowthMentor, we run a business coaching startup that allows you to discuss your unique concerns with founders, entrepreneurs, and marketing experts who have seen it all before. Whether you need advice on copywriting or growing your app downloads, we satisfy your needs as we specialize in growth marketing.

Ready to get started? Browse some of our mentors to find one that fits you.