Coaching is big business nowadays. You can get free advice from places like the SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives), easily find thousands of for-hire coaches through Google or sites like The Coach Connection and even drill into specialized areas like this site which provides Franchising coaching.
When I started my first business in 1983, I contacted SCORE and I have to say they didn't do much for me. The problem was simple, I think: the coach was someone who had worked as a CFO at large businesses but had no understanding of my little one man consultancy. We talked right past each other. Looking back, I realize that I should have understood that it was just a mis-match and requested someone else, but I was much younger then and I just gave up. I had to learn from my own mistakes, which certainly does teach the lessons, but the cost can be pretty high.
That's too bad, because whatever your business, there's surely a coach who can help. The Internet makes it much easier to both find and work with people who might be geographically distant, but you can probably find someone close enough for face to face coaching if you prefer. Whichever you choose, make sure you have a good match, that the person understands you as well as the business you are running. If you feel uncomfortable, move on: there are plenty more out there. Finding the right mentor can really help you avoid having to learn it all the hard way.
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