Maybe your business coaches never experienced business failure before. The primary job of a business coach is to help a newly minted entrepreneur develop the skills they already have.   Envision a business coach standing on the sidelines cheering on the new owner to success. Their goal is to getting you to avoid thinking about failure.  Failing is not an option.  If you consider hiring a business coach or advisor, ask them, “What is your experience with business failures?”

In the United States small business world, approximately 85% of new startups fail. In the United Kingdom, four in ten small businesses don’t make it to year five.  Who can help these entrepreneurs get to the finish line? Someone who’s been there before and not only failed, but picked themselves up and continued on through many obstacles to reach the goal line.  That someone is a business consultant.  This consultant is out on the field with the new entrepreneur pointing out roadblocks and inevitable landmines to avoid.   The consultants job to is help the entrepreneur grow a successful and sustainable business.  Helping new small business owners avoid the initial startup failure rate and continues on to grow and prosper.

You may find the best business coach for you is someone who failed and survived many times over.  Here are five interview questions to ask before you hire or accept advice from a business coach. Some of these are very tough and direct questions.  But if the entrepreneur is willing to ask them and their potential advisor is willing to answer them, this new business owner will have a much greater chance at not wasting valuable time and money with the wrong coach.

Ask these questions of anyone you consider taking business advice from:

  1. Have you owned a small business in the same industry? How long did you have this business and why don’t you have it know?
  2. Have you experienced business failure and what are the top three reasons why you think it failed? They may not know why their business failed.  Their answer could be a sign they did not learn from their mistakes.
  3. If you have failed and started another business, what did you do differently?
  4. If you have previously failed and did not start another business, why not?
  5. What life lessons are you sharing with me that you feel will make my business a success?

These are very key and challenging questions to ask potential advisors advising any entrepreneurial startup. At any stage in a small business, entrepreneurs should seek advice from those who did it before and is willing to share those important life lessons so history does not repeat itself.