Coaching, Consulting and Mentoring

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jan 01

As I get older I find myself doing more real estate, tech and startup coaching, mentoring and consulting and less doing. That is as it should be.

A coach might send in the plays (after s/he gets team buy-in as well as their prior agreement) but it’s the team that actually executes the plan. The team has to approach their investment (of their time, energy, money, luck) like a business not a hobby. In real estate for example, many people view it more as a hobby and, as a result, don’t have the kind of experience they should have.

I don’t take responsibility for my actions, unless it’s someone else’s fault,anonymous client

To use a coach effectively, you have to include him or her in your decision making process. You have to remember, “Hey, I think before we do this, we ought to ask…”

Anyway, here is my 10-step coaching process for a typical client:

1. we figure out an overall strategy together;
2. we create a biz model, value proposition, functional program and design so that the harder you work, the more money you make;
3. we look at what resources you need (finance, HR, Internet, other) and how to get them often using unconventional sources, for instance, of bootstrap capital;
4. we make sure you have a guerrilla marketing, social media and sales strategy that works and is cost effective;
5. we set goals*;
6. you execute the system and plan;
7. you track your metrics* and report back to me;
8. we decide on any mid-course corrections;
9. we celebrate success;
10. we figure out what comes next.

(* Startups that set goals, track their metrics and are held accountable grow 7x faster than those that don’t according to Startup Genome Report 01, Max Marmer, Bjoern Lasse Herrmann, Ron Berman, Silicon Valley, California, 2011.)

That is my 10-step program although it can and does vary depending on client and project. There are many more things that could be included here but following this outline has led to a lot of success for my clients, students and others so it must somehow work.

I believe in coaching and, if there is one thing I could change about my career, it would be that my mentor died young (when I was 30) and I never found another until I was in my late 50s.

Real Estate Case Study**

A client of mine recently purchased a residential condominium in downtown Ottawa. She was going to rent it out for $1,800 a month. When she totaled up her costs (mortgage, property taxes, insurance, condo fees, maintenance and so forth), she was looking at losing $375 per month, every month. She was also considering hiring a property manager who would take 8% of her monthly gross revenues so that she would not have to collect rent, deal with tenant issues or be involved with Ontario’s RTA (Residential Tenancies Act) which can be a nightmare. This would increase her monthly cashflow loss by $144 to $519.

One thing I tell my clients (all of them not just real estate but tech, services, etc.) is never buy anything that loses money or for tax losses. Make money, every month, and pay your taxes– that’s a good news story because you are then profitable.

Here’s what we did instead:

a. turned the condo into a furnished apartment with all services (Internet, Netflix, etc) switched on;
b. put it out there for rent as an executive travel apartment renting for $125 per day or $3,500 per month (+HST).

Now she is covered by the much more forgiving Innkeepers Act and she has turned a $519 monthly loss into more than a $1,000 per month NOI (Net Operating Income). Over the next five years that she expects to keep the unit, that’s a $90k turnaround.

Now that’s coaching.


(** Some facts changed for privacy reasons.)

Dr Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (Civil), M Eng-Sci, Phd. Founder, Ottawa Senators; Author, Quantum Entity Trilogy, Entrepreneurs Handbook II; Executive Director,; Broker, Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc; Entrepreneurship Ambassador, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. 613.566.3436 X 200. bmfirestone @

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Prof Bruce’s current motto is: “Making Each Day Count”

Posted in Bootstrap Capital, Business Methods, Coaching, Consulting, Future Vision, Incubator,Leadership, Mentoring, Self Capitalization, Value Proposition, Why Businesses Fail

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.