May 26, 2010 // Franchising.com // Whether you're talking about business or you're talking about family, communication is crucial, says certified business coach David Beam.
As a coach with ActionCOACH, a leading business coaching firm, one of his jobs is to help prevent a communication breakdown. The problem often occurs when expectations are not voiced on one end, or misunderstood on the other end. There has to be a two-sided agreement on what should be done, and helping business people reach that stage of communication is just one of the many of his goals as a business coach.
Having worked with more than 130 businesses in the Tri-State over the past eight years as a business coach, he hopes that he's helped take businesses that perhaps had reached a plateau to the next level.
Along with improving communication, he likes to help small businesses find ways to develop in areas in which they may have been struggling.
It takes a lot to run a business, he says. Not only do you have to be skilled at providing the product or service that you're selling, but you have to stay on top of bookkeeping, people management, a slew of human resource issues and several other areas that require at least some degree of expertise.
"A good business person has to be good at a lot of things," Beam said. "So a coach has to be a good generalist."
He asks a lot of questions to help business people figure out for themselves what they need to work on.
"Through questioning, I draw out their views and ask them how that's helping or hurting them," Beam said. "It's a process of self discovery."
John Bentley II, president and chief servant at an Ashland-based IT company, techServant Inc., has been working with Beam a few months and said it's made him look at sales in a new way.
"I had spent my whole life in a computer lab being the stereotypical nerd," he said. "I did not see myself as a sales person."
Once Bentley started to see sales in a new way — which was less in the way of being pushy and more in the way of trying to help potential clients find solutions to their problems — his company's sales improved. techServant does IT work for businesses throughout the Tri-State region, and Bentley hopes to someday work with companies throughout the South.
"My conversion rate for sales has gone to 75 percent," Bentley said. "Before, I'd go out and meet with four people and one would buy. Now, I got out and meet with four people, and three will buy. And the (making-a-sale) process went from a one month process to a 11⁄2 week process." Not that getting coached is always warm and fuzzy.
"I was mad at (Beam) for four days," Bentley said. "I was so mad I was spitting nails. Then I realized I was mad at myself."
Beam got into the business by way of being an environmental consultant for WTI. The University of Kentucky graduate, who actually has a background in chemistry, also worked for one year for Lee Todd, now UK's president, in a research and development business called Data Beam.
When the possibility of being a business coach came up, he wasn't so sure. He said he talked to his wife, Connie, about it and prayed about it. The 53-year-old is father of son Nathan Beam, who helps out with the business, and stepsons Michael and Aaron Picklesimer. A Wheelersburg, Ohio, resident, Beam also is deacon at Wheelersburg Baptist Church and a certified marriage counselor with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors.
He decided to go for it, although it cost $50,000 to set up an ActionCOACH franchise and $20,000 for training. The banks at first laughed at him, Beam said.
But he was the No. 1 startup rookie of the year for the Las Vegas-based ActionCOACH. And he's worked with over 130 local businesses and maybe 800 employees in the area since. He works with the Small Business Development Centers in Huntington and Ashland, and has hosted workshops for businesses and business-related organizations.
He's even hosted workshops for charity.
Beam has helped the Barboursville Rotary Club raise over $15,000 in two different events over the past year, said Ron DeTemple, chairman of fundraising committee for Barboursville Rotary. The money went toward scholarships for local students, dictionaries for third-graders and other education-related charities.
"It all started in October 2008 when Dave called me and said, 'I want to do something special for Christmas, and the people in Barboursville have been so good to me I'd like to figure out a way to give back,' " said DeTemple, who owns Garden Park rental properties in Barboursville. "We did a fundraiser and raised $4,000 for the Ronald McDonald House. ... We've had two other (events) in the past year and raised over $15,000 with Dave's good draw."
DeTemple likes that while Beam not only tells business people to give, but he gives of himself, he said. And having under gone Beam's business coaching about five years ago, he said his advice is effective.
"He was able to communicate to my team things I had communicated to them unsuccessfully," DeTemple said. "We're still benefiting from some of the neat things he taught us. He stays in touch with us periodically to see how we're doing."
ActionCOACH is the world's number one business coaching and executive coaching firm, with more than 1,000 offices in 29 countries.