Why have you combined SMB and nonprofit in one school?

At first glance, you might wonder why BCTA has curriculums in both SMB and nonprofit coaching. They might seem like very different niches.

But, in fact, they have a lot of similarities and perfectly complement each other.

Here are some of the characteristics that they in common:

  • Fast paced, fluid (ie. highly changeable) environment. Every day is different and brings a different challenge.
  • Most employees – from the top executives to the individual contributors – wear multiple hats and have a wide range of responsibilities, typically crossing functional boundaries.
  • More often than not, those multiple hats and responsibilities have competing priorities and aggressive timelines.
  • There are never enough hours in the day and never enough hands to complete the work – the to-do lists can feel never-ending and overwhelming.
  • In many organizations, they have not yet established robust processes or procedures for how to get work done. So even though every penny and every minute counts, they are often less efficient and productive than their big-business counterparts.
  • In general, executives, managers and employees of either an SMB or a nonprofit really believe in their product or mission. It’s not just a job for them – it’s a crusade. Because of this, they are susceptible to overwork, exhaustion, and an inability to say “no.”
  • Both types of organizations have to spend a lot of effort and time focused on getting funding – for SMBs that’s investors of various types and for nonprofits, it’s foundations, donors and grants.
  • All nonprofits, and many SMBs, have Boards of Directors or Boards of Advisors to work with and keep happy. In addition, they have to keep an eye out for good recruits to their Boards and bring new Board members up to speed.
  • Both organizations, on top of everything else, have to stay very tuned into what their ‘customers’ need and want. The organizations must stay on top of changes in their marketplace and be nimble enough to change as needed.
  • Changes in the economic landscape impact SMBs and nonprofits first. Larger companies may have some extra financial ‘cushion’ that they can fall back on, but smaller organizations feel the pain right away. This means that they have to be flexible enough to ramp up or ramp down as the economy shifts.

However, they have some big differences as well. Below are a few:

  • SMBs are profit oriented, whereas nonprofits are mission oriented. This creates differences in how decisions are made, priorities are determined, strategies are developed, and resources utilized. This difference also makes for very different organizational cultures.
  • Nonprofits have the extra challenge of relying heavily on volunteers to keep operations and programs underway. Leading and managing volunteers is very different (and more challenging) than leading and managing employees.

I bet you’re starting to get the picture. SMBs and nonprofits aren’t so different than you may have imagined. In fact, they’re more like siblings than strangers.

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