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Posted on 05-04-2011

Recently, an attorney was quoted in the local newspaper responding to a question about owing the federal government a large sum of unpaid incomes taxes said, "Unfortunately nobody teaches you how to run a business in law school and I've learned the hard way".  Actually, nobody teaches you to run a business in medical school or in most college courses.  Even in business schools, you may learn how to write a business plan and conduct market research and maybe learn to read a financial statement, but not necessarily, how to run a business.  

So how does the business owner learn how to run a business?  It seems that most owners might answer the same way, "I've learned the hard way".  The "hard way" is a good teacher, if you learn and if you survive.  There is no guarantee, however, that learning to run a business the "hard way" is either effective or is the best way.

So how does a business owner learn to operate a business successfully?  

Let's talk about teaching.  There is an assumption that you can be taught to teach.  Yet, schools of education may have courses in curriculum, but they cannot make someone a good teacher. You can learn what to teach, but not necessarily how to teach. 

While I took graduate courses in education for four years, I did not pursue a teaching certificate.  I did however, teach myself how to teach.  I engaged in a process of learning theory and putting it into practice as a teaching fellow to learn the "how" of teaching over a three year time frame.  Yet, no matter how much I learned, being a good teacher is measured by the students.  If the students learn the material and grow as a person and develop critical analytical skills, they are the ones to say who is a good teacher and who is not.  

Likewise, the learning how to "run" a business is a process.  It is better that the process is designed and intentional rather than being "hard" and unplanned.  

Enter the Business Coach.  An effective business coach should be someone that understands good theory, recognizes good practice and can take the business owner through a process of business growth that is planned, intentional and based on good sound practice. It is not that someone can teach a business owner to run a business.  A good business coach can help the business owner learn how to build a strong sustainable and profitable business.  You cannot teach unless someone wants to learn.

One important question a business owner has to ask is, Do I want to learn how to run my business right?   

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