Business Coaching with Discovery SME Business Coaching

07:06 Hanna Tantoco 0 Comments Category : , , ,

Not a lot of people know this but I’ve always wanted to own my own yoga studio. I started practicing yoga in 2015 and I immediately fell in love with it. As the years went on, I met a lot of like-minded individuals who also want to make their own mark and carry their own brand of yoga. Yoga may mean different things to different individuals and there’s no right or wrong. Yoga can be a form of an exercise, some use it for meditation, for some it has become their lifestyle and for others their religion.

I’m doing my yoga teacher training in Bali in March 2019 and I’m super excited about it. Apart from deepening my self-awareness I can also start my teaching journey and later on build my own studio. Before I totally get married to the idea of building my own empire there are preparations needed to be made.

Although I possess the necessary business education – undergraduate and post-graduate on the subject matter. I feel I lack the necessary entrepreneurial experience. Upon graduation I immediately hopped on the corporate train and I decided to work in the finance industry, specifically in marketing because I was once told I was a good storyteller. I always envisioned myself climbing the mythical corporate ladder – for me nothing sounds and looks more fulfilling than having corner office overlooking the CBD skyline. But life makes a massive turn and as I mature I realise the dreams I once had and aspire also changed.  That said, I had the necessary theoretical know-how and passion and I was missing the confidence bit.

I have started to speak to women who run their own passion projects, I spoke to owners of the yoga studios I frequent and most importantly I spoke to my family. From time-to-time I would do my research on how to start your business in Singapore (I am not local) and it warms my heart that Singapore is a very encouraging place to start your own business from Government grants to entrepreneurial circles. But I feel that one of the soundest advice came from the business I consulted with.

Ethan Cheng is the lead coach at SME Discovery Business Coaching where their business mantra is to support SMEs (businesses with less than 100 staff) to pave the way and lead successful businesses and I had a preliminary chat about what my plans are and agreed to meet for 3 sessions initially and then adjust it depending on the progress and needs. There’s no standard schedule or cookie-cutter methodology in Ethan’s coaching. It varies from client-to-client and complexity of the business. I’ll be sharing my experiences here.

During my first session we had an honest and open discussion about what my business aspirations are. He helped bring clarity around my business goals and aspirations and collectively we defined actionable objectives that I will be working towards to.  Our chat was around my motivations, my passion and how I see my potential business growing. I shared with him that my family is very supportive of my endeavours. In business it is very important to have your family, partner, spouse or anybody that is super important in your life to be aware of what your plans are. It would be good to have their buy-in, if not their full buy-in, clarity around what having a business entail and how that will change or affect your lifestyle or your relationship with them. Running a business is not like working for a company. When you’re working for a company you have the flexibility to shut off or take a little break. The reality of running or starting a business is very different. You need to be on top of things 24/7. You need to know what your strengths are and what facets of your business you need to outsource or hire a person for. I am personally kicking off my business with a friend whom I share the same passions with. At the same time, I am aware that we have a truckload of differences, during the discussion I start to appreciate that discussing this seemingly touchy topic with my business partner prior to diving into the business is important. We closed the session with an assignment – on finance. Another important but often forgotten aspect of the business.

Second session started with a recap of what we’ve discussed during the first session and then we moved on with the assignment. Ethan shared with me some online references on service providers in Singapore for incorporating, some profit and loss templates and basic accounting templates. These are practical things you need to understand when running a business. I’ve used the templates to prepare my own expense analysis. It is a very scary exercise because it seems like it’s very hard or almost impossible to make money after all. We discussed the items line-by-line and I explained why I assigned a value to each of the cost. The coach would not tell you if that is wrong or right, but he would challenge you to think and defend why you thought the fees or the costs are that way. At the of the exercise, I realised that I have overestimated my expenses which is good in a way, at least I know there’s a leeway for profit.  Apart from understanding what the financial implications of running a business might be, you also need to think the kind of products, services marketing gimmicks or strategies you want to adopt. Alas, this is my bread of butter and I’ve been doing this since 2008 so I was ready.

The third session started with the typical review of what we’ve discussed so far. I had more questions, but they were also better structured. Ethan patiently addressed my concerns which is basically on breakeven points, ROI timeline and business registration. These are some of the points I am missing for my business plan so I really want to iron it out. This was the last and most important session. We had a conversation about “being realistic”. A lot of people have their own goals in building their business, mine is mostly brought out of passion and it is for profit. Realistically, it might not work. It goes without saying that I will do the best I can to succeed but if push comes to shove and I need to change gears, I am prepared. Meaning, I have a back-up plan. One important note is understanding cashflow. Ethan shared that after years of coaching he has come across many a business which are profitable but still closed down, why? Because they didn’t manage their cashflow well. That is something I need to be aware of since I would have to pay my suppliers too. We closed the session and thanked each other.

What I learned
Would-be business owners and hopefuls, whenever they can or if possible should engage with a business coach even though they have the educational or theoretical background like myself. It just builds your confidence much more. In choosing a business coach it is important to find someone you can click with and somebody you know has credible and real-life experience in say, starting a business.

I personally think I am a very organised person but it’s hard for me to organise my business plan because I have a lot of ideas add the fact that I am excited and I am scared of not succeeding.  The coaching session helped me aligned my goals in my head and on paper.
I had a successful coaching session with Ethan because I was comfortable to share my aspirations and fears in running a business. I was also very open to hear suggestions and eager to learn more. I read the suggested readings, did my assignments and asked a lot of questions. It is important that you set the goals with your coach before hand as this person would be an awesome resource for you.

If you want to find out more check out Discovery SME Business Coaching -


Instagram: @hannatantoco

Note: Consultation and this post was sponsored by Discovery SME Business Coaching