ask-a-business-coach.jpgLaunching a small business is no easy feat. Entrepreneurs often need to be resourceful, able to solve problems on the fly and ready to spend long hours on a myriad of day-to-day details. 

So when small-business owners become overwhelmed by it all, what can they do? A number hire business coaches -- expert advisors paid by clients to help streamline processes and find new avenues for revenue, among other things.

"Small-business owners are often overworked, mired in daily operations and can't focus on strategic initiatives," says Greg Scheingold, vice president of operations at Cincinnati-based Growth Coach, a franchise whose clients are mostly small-business owners. 

"Anyone can get stuck in bad habits and lose sight of their goals and how to accomplish them," says Scheingold. A coach can help close the gap.

Top requests among Scheingold's coaching clients involve:
  • time management
  •  strategic selling and marketing
  •  leadership
  • operational planning
  • people management
Average hourly coaching fees are about $200, according to a 2008 survey by the International Coach Federation, a professional organization, and the large consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Full-time coaches can command hourly rates of about $250 and part-timers, about $175. 

Coaching for small-business owners is becoming more mainstream, according to Scheingold. "Getting past the economic downturn, more people are seeing the need to do things different," he says. "Business is a new game now with a lot of new rules."

What would you ask a business coach? How much would you be willing to pay for help?