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Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

Let’s face it, running a business is tough. If it wasn’t, far more people would try it out and far more businesses would succeed.

But just because it’s tough, doesn’t mean that it has to be a solo mission. Even the best entrepreneurs in the world can benefit from the sage advice of a seasoned business coach.

Having said that, there is a stigma around the idea of a business coach. It almost sounds a bit like a therapist, but for business. There’s a perception that only entrepreneurs with deep, psychological issues should use them.

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But this isn’t the case. Business coaches aren’t interested in exploring your Freudian impulses or childhood trauma. They’re in the business of making your business more effective.

Here’s an example. You might think that you know a lot about your product. And I’m sure you do. But I bet that you don’t know half as much about how to do things like marketing your business online. After all, why would you? This is where coaching comes in handy. An online business coach can help with technical issues like SEO and digital reporting, for instance.

It’s not all about the technical details either. Often coaches are a great place just to vent about the problems you’ve been having with staff and suppliers. Keeping it all bottled up can be difficult and even counterproductive.

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Before grabbing a business coach, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions. The first is what is it exactly that you want out of the relationship? If you want high-level technical training in a particular process, you’ll have less choice. But you might just want more general advice on how to grow a company effectively. Finally, you might just want a mentor, rather than a coach with specific training. Perhaps you just need a person who can provide moral support.

The next thing you want to ask yourself is where you want to meet, and how often. It could be that you only need to check in with a coach once a quarter or less, depending on your needs. Or if you’re implementing something technical right now, you may have to meet every day. Choosing where to meet is also important. By all means meet up at the local coffee shop if it’s convenient. But don’t say no to services like Skype if they will save you both time and effort. You may also want a coach who is just flexible and is just a phone call away. Those who are semi-retired tend to make great choices here.

Lastly, you need to figure out whether or not you’re willing to put in the time. As with most things in life, you only get out what you put in. Your coach may recommend that you spend time reading books they recommend, going to seminars and watching webinars. And all of this takes time away from your busy schedule.

Most people who choose to use business coaches swear by it. There’s no need to go it alone in business. So why do it?