There are so many business coaches out there, but it can be difficult to judge if someone is the right fit for you AND if you’ll get an ROI. Because of that, investing in coaching can be scary! 

A few years ago, I felt like I needed to invest in myself. Running a retail business (and mostly physical product-based business) versus running an online service-based business with a membership is quite different. I wanted some guidance on doing both. 

I made one not-so-great investment in coaching and one fantastic investment in business coaching. Luckily, the first investment led me to the second, so I indirectly feel it was worth the journey. 

The Difference Between a Coach and a Consultant

First, let’s talk about a coach vs. a consultant.  I’m actually both, but I often use the term “Coach” to keep it simple.

Small Biz Daily says that “business coaching stems from right-brained qualities such as curiosity, synergy, opportunity, evolution, and is future-focused. A business coach has a big picture perspective and helps you explore additional possibilities, illuminates bottlenecks or roadblocks… and focuses on expanding your potential.”

As a business coach, I can help you…

  • with mindset and alignment
  • find YOUR OWN answers when you’re feeling stuck or like you’re spinning your wheels
  • define your mission, vision, and goals
  • stay in alignment with your core values

A consultant is an “expert who provides professional advice. They have a wide range of knowledge in a particular field and a toolbox of resources. Business consulting stems from left-brain qualities that are linear, follow a specific process to solve problems, tests/measures data to make informed decisions, and are present-oriented,” says Small Biz Daily.

As a business consultant, I can help you…

  • with the math, systems & data you need to run your business
  • understand the data in your business (sales, inventory, P&L)
  • make decisions around the data
  • set up systems and processes in your business to lighten the load and help your business run more efficiently

To summarize, “a Business Coach helps you increase your personal capacity for long-term success, providing guidance and support so that you can optimize your life and business. A Business Consultant helps you tackle the tasks on hand, providing immediate relief for your present needs.”

After owning Savvy Shopkeeper for almost five years now, I can confidently say that I am both a coach AND a consultant.

The simplest way to describe the journey business owners go through is mindset first, math second. You have to get your MIND in the right place before you start doing the MATH. 

This is something I had to learn myself. I started as a consultant but learned that coaching is KEY. 

I love my left-brained, data-and-systems self, but I had to learn to love the right brain, too. Thankfully, using both means better results for my clients.

Client Wins #1: From Programmed Thinker to Aligned Creative

Client 1 has a heart of gold. Like so many of us, a slew of programmed thoughts to work through.  She is a “creative at heart” and used the word creative countless times during our first calls together.

When we worked on her list of values, she listed 20 other things that were important to her, and at the very end, she said “creativity.” It was a big aha moment. When you push the things that make YOU happy to the bottom of your list, you WILL be and feel out of alignment.

She started implementing some of the things she learned about herself, her revenue started to grow, and she’s much happier now.

Here’s what this client said after working together: “Kathy Cruz, Thank you!!! Honestly, if I had not been through your coaching program, I would not have been in tune enough to see what needed the tune-up, what my stumbling blocks were, and what was holding me back. You 1000% deserve the credit for getting me to the next level. I am so grateful for you every day.”

Client Wins #2: From Socially Anxious to Socially Confident

Client 2 made some decisions around her business that weren’t making her happy. Then, the pandemic hit. It made things feel worse, so much so that she was only open two days a week. Her store was no longer her happy place. 

She started questioning whether she really wanted her business.  She also questioned if she could really navigate social media, putting her face on posts, and showing the real her. 

Well, this client did some incredible things, is starting to extend her store hours, retook control of her entire space, renovated, and is showing up on Instagram as I’ve never seen her before.

She also identified a strength of hers—buying low and selling high. Her profit margin was the best I’ve ever seen in a retail business.

Client Wins #3: From Solopreneur to Aspiring CEO

Client #3 had a booth in another business but wanted more. She grew into her own brick-and-mortar space and was very happy about it. 

She had business friends who never profited or understood the financials in their businesses. Through conversations with them, she identified that she WANTED to understand this part of her business. She wanted to be profitable and pay herself. 

On our calls, we went through my Profit, Balance, Grow framework. Not only did she find she was profitable, but she started paying herself—even when it felt scary.

After our time together, this client said:  “Thanks to Kathy’s guidance, accountability, and business acumen, we identified my goals. We took a deep dive into those topics, and when we finished, I felt like a weight had been lifted – I literally slept better. 

With her advice and insight, I better understood my business’s metrics, how to analyze my P&L and how to stay on track. I even began paying myself. I am now able to get out of my own way and work more efficiently and effectively. It was an empowering experience, and I strongly recommend Kathy if you are looking to take your business to the next level.”

Client Wins #4: From Financially Unsure to Growing CEO

This client is meant for retail. She is incredibly talented at buying, merchandising, and customer service. When she hired me, she had already expanded twice. She was having killer months and grew quickly. 

She was at a point in her business where she wanted to invest in herself so that she could understand her own data, Inventory, P&L, etc. So she hired a bookkeeper before we worked through my Profit, Balance, Grow framework together. 

By the time our sessions ended, she was so confident about her business skills that she decided to take over a neighbor’s lease and start a second retail business.

This client said, “Thank you again for all your knowledge!!!  I feel so much more equipped to run a successful business.”

Client Wins #5: From Overwhelmed Shopkeeper to Dreaming Boss

This client is in a business partnership that works well. There’s a lot of mutual respect, and it’s an excellent example of partnerships that DO work. 

But this client also has her own business. When we started working together, her overwhelm not only had her thinking she disliked what she was doing, but it was also keeping her from dreaming. She was wearing too many hats. 

While working together, she started hiring, delegating, and is now considering hiring a personal assistant, too! (She helped to inspire a future podcast episode.) 

This was an example of a client where I did both coaching and consulting. I’m happy to share that her business and partnership are GROWING—and she now has the bandwidth and the courage to DREAM. She’s exploring an idea she’s wanted to work on for years.

Client Wins #6: From Data-Driven to Mindset Curious 

This client is a talented maker with an online store who does occasional in-person markets. She hired me in more of a consulting role, but our calls have led to coaching. 

After working with her for some time, It was apparent she wanted to lean into the left brain (the data) but where she was really struggling was the right brain (the mindset). This is where clients experience discomfort the most. It makes her extremely uncomfortable, but we’re working on it. I can’t wait to see what this does for her life and business.

Client Wins #7: From Uninformed Retailer to Growing E-Commerce Biz Owner

This client is an apparel e-commerce business owner who was strong in mindset and doing well in terms of monthly revenue. Like client #4, she was doing her own bookkeeping and was doing it well, but wanted to delegate this part of her business. She also wanted to feel empowered and understand her P&L before delegating it. 

What I appreciated about this client is she was focused on the GROW part of my framework. She knew she was doing well, she knew she was profitable and paying herself, but she wanted to identify the areas in her business where she could make improvements so she could grow.  

After working together, this client said: “I have so many concrete steps to take and have already reached out to sign-on with the bookkeeper I had talked with.”

Do You Need a Coach/Consultant for Your Retail Business?

From the examples above, I hope you can see that there are retailers making the investment in themselves, and it’s paying off.

The investments I personally made for coaches were not small. They were scary—almost nauseating! But when I invest in myself, it means I’m doubling down on ME. 

This is something I’m so proud of. I could choose to hide in my shell and keep feeling like I could be more and do more. But I CHOOSE to step into the discomfort because personal and business growth are essential to me. And let me tell you, I experienced LOTS of discomfort.

I might be the right fit for you as a coach, or I might not. If coaching is something you’ve considered, I genuinely want you to find the person that YOU want to work with.

I have a few spots for 1:1 coaching that will start after the 2021 Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat in mid-September. If you’ve been considering working with me or now realize that this could be helpful to you and your business, you can learn more at the Shopkeeper’s Academy


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*Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links or referral codes, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link or using the code. I make recommendations because I genuinely believe they are useful to shopkeepers.  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.


  • [02:48] The Difference Between a Coach and a Consultant
  • [08:51] Client Wins #1: From Programmed Thinker to Aligned Creative
  • [10:31] Client Wins #2: From Socially Anxious to Socially Confident
  • [12:15] Client Wins #3: From Solopreneur to Aspiring CEO
  • [14:11] Client Wins #4: From Financially Unsure to Growing CEO
  • [17:35] Client Wins #5: From Overwhelmed Shopkeeper to Dreaming Boss
  • [19:28] Client Wins #6: From Data-Driven to Mindset Curious
  • [20:33] Client Wins #7: From Uninformed Retailer to Growing E-Commerce Biz Owner
  • [22:15] Do You Need a Coach/Consultant for Your Retail Business?

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