PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Starting your own business — it is still one of the American dreams open to all of us. But how do you start a business? And what is its chance for success? Can a business coach help you?

I decided to ask these questions, and more, to Bob Bremm, business coach and founder of AdviCoach. The answers I got were so interesting I decided to share them with you (normally I pick on politicians, but don’t fear, I’ll get’em next week instead).

According to the Small Business Administration, 30 percent of businesses fail in the first two years, 50 percent at five years, and 70 percent after ten years. Why does this happen? Common threads include the following: Insufficient or no business plan, poor management/leadership, poor accounting, lack of planning, and/or the business was created for the wrong reasons.

Steven Wallace

Steven Wallace

As a business starts to falter, the normal human reaction is for the owner to work harder, work longer hours and incur more debt. Though a noble approach, this rarely addresses the underlying problems and only prolongs the inevitable result. However, there is an alternative: An owner can engage a professional business coach.

A good coach helps an owner work on the business instead of just slaving away in the business. The coach does not do the work for the owner, but instead — through coaching, teaching and mentoring — helps the owner become more proficient in three key areas (1) Awareness: Of the business possibilities, (2) Education: In good businessbuilding practices, and (3) Accountability: In achieving peak performance.

According to Bob, business coaching is similar to the proverb, “If you give a hungry man a fish, he eats for a day; if you give him a fishing pole, he will eat for life.” Coaching is not a product but instead a process. As such, coaching sessions are often weekly, either in person or on the phone. During the session, the previous week’s work is reviewed (for accountability) and the next week’s plan is developed and explained (for awareness and education). As the process progresses, the owner experiences great personal growth and should see tangible business results in three to six months.

A common myth is that business coaching is for troubled businesses. Though true, coaching is also valuable in helping good companies reach the next level. Many times, owners that reach a plateau are highly motivated to improve. They just do not see the path on how to progress. A business coach can guide them to greater success.

As an owner comes to understand the value of business coaching, the lament of “I don’t know if I can afford to do this” becomes “How can I afford not to do this.” If an owner retains a good coach and dedicates themselves to the process, then this statement should always become true.

I will also tell you a little secret — I decided to visit a business coach last year. Although it wasn’t Bob at AdviCoach, I can tell you that he did an awesome job helping me in a couple of areas over the three months I worked with him. When the time comes, I will absolutely look to him again to help bring me to the “next level.”

I invite you to visit the chamber’s website and look at Bob Bremm’s profile, as well as the other life, job and business coaches. These folks can help you succeed, and I will attest that it is money well spent.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Best Western Plus Brunswick Bath hosts the Wednesday, Sept. 25 Chamber After Hours at 71 Gurnet Road, Brunswick. This is the place to be for regional business networking including make new connections and cementing previous connections. Tours of the renovated property will be available along with refreshments and door prizes. Please go to the chamber’s website (, scrolling the calendar to register for events.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS: The chamber welcomes, specializing in wordless websites. And two new health care professionals located in Topsham to membership: Clifton Hodges, D.D.S., and Doc B’s Eye Care, P.A. Discover more about chamber members at or download MyChamberApp for use on your mobile phone or tablet.

The chamber proudly serves 760 businesses and organizations in the following communities: Arrowsic, Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Brunswick, Dresden, Edgecomb, Georgetown, Harpswell, Phippsburg, Richmond, Topsham, West Bath, Westport Island, Wiscasset and Woolwich.

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