Do You Have A Coaching Business Plan?
There are two sorts of coaches in this world, those who have a coaching business plan, and those who don’t.
A coaching business plan can vary between something that’s a 50 page detailed document or it can be written in crayon on the back of a fag packet. (We strongly recommend that if it’s the latter, that’s because you are SO experienced at writing these things that you’ve just written the headlines in crayon!)
Those without a business plan tend to consider themselves ‘free spirits’ who want to take advantage of their flexibility and ability to adapt.
However, categorically those who have a plan succeed more often than those who do not. Yes, there are always the apocryphal stories of Fred Bloggs who never wrote a business plan in his life, yet had 4 separate £10 million businesses. Equally, there are hundreds, nay thousands more who went back to working for someone else because they just couldn’t make it work.
Why Do I Need A Business Plan?
At it most basic, a coaching business plan is a focus on action. It is a document that clearly defines where you’re going and what you’re going to need to do to get there. There will be lots of words it in and plenty of numbers in it too. Without both, your plan isn’t viable. The words part is the where are you going part. The numbers part is the how you are going to get there.
The words are the overall map. Are you going to coach businesses, or individuals. Do you have a particular ‘thing’ you want to coach/mentor around? Perhaps you want to build your business coaching people who have a fitness goal, a weightless goal, a personal goal and are people who are found within the general population. Or maybe you have masses of experience in leadership and/or executive coaching and the people you want to coach are found within corporations. Are you beginning to see the difference in action necessary between say, a life coach and an executive coach?
You need to define what your coaching business is going to look like.
Once you’ve established who you want to coach, you then need to know what you’re going to charge them. You also need to know how many of them you’re going to need. If you’re a life coach who charges £150pppm and you want to earn £50K per annum you’re going to need to be coaching 334 clients in a year. Let’s assume that you’re going to build up to that so that your second year in business you’ll earn £50K.
What that means is that you need to engage 28 clients. If we assume that you have a modest 20% success rate at talking to people and them becoming clients, you are going to have to have 140 conversations to engage your 28 clients. Perhaps you are very good at influencing people to want talk to you and 50% of people you speak to are happy to sit down and actually have a meaningful conversation. That means you need to have an informal chat with 280 people, in order to have 140 people want to move on to meaningful conversations, in order to get your 28 clients who will generate your £50K income. Your coaching business plan is beginning to take shape.
Knowledge Is Power
Now that you know that your magic number is 280, you are in a position of power. You have something to aim for. If we estimate that you can have two or three meaningful conversations with potential clients per day that means that working flat out, Monday to Friday, you’ll take between 47 and 70 working days to get to your 140 conversations, which in turn will enable you to engage 28 clients. That’s without factoring in the chats that need to precede these conversations.
Are you beginning to see why attending a couple of networking events a month isn’t cutting the mustard?
Working Without A Coaching Business Plan
The thing about doing just the little bit of planning that I’ve done writing this blog post, is that it makes visible the work necessary to create the income. It is all too easy to be distracted by the sponsored posts on LinkedIn and Facebook. These say that if you just do this one thing you’ll have; your first £10k client/a £20k month/a stream of high-paying clients (delete depending on which advertisement you saw). The honest answer is no, you don’t have to do ‘just this one thing’. Overnight success takes years to create.
Create a plan that describes;
- what your business will look like
- who you’re going to engage as clients
- why you want that client in particular (what can you do for them)
- where you’re going to find them
- what you’re going to charge them
- how many of them you need to create your income
If you do this, you’ll be way ahead of the crowd. You’ll have a visible framework that shows what action you need to take.
Write It Down!
We have spoken to coaches who have reassured us that they have a coaching business plan, and it’s all in their head. Really, even though they’re coaches, they’ve said that.
We, as coaches, all know that our minds are very good at focusing on the bits we like to do. We’re also great at avoiding the bits we don’t like doing. If it’s not written down, we’ll have a gorgeous website, lovely business cards, dozens of LinkedIn contacts. We’ll have very few paying clients. We will spend our time on the non-income generating stuff, because we enjoy it.
In short, without a basic plan your chances of succeeding drop dramatically. Unless you’re Fred Bloggs of course.