Business, Focus Edition How to Turn Your Coaching Business into a Profit Machine
By: Dr Greg Chapman • 4 years ago •
So you have become a coach. You even have a certificate that proves you are one… ta da! You know lots of neat stuff about your chosen field and you’re really certain that your expertise can help others. So why isn’t your phone ringing off the hook and why is your inbox filled with spam rather than emails from people who want to be your clients?
On the other hand, perhaps your day is filled with appointment after appointment (that sounds great if you are in the first category) but you end up rushing around helping everyone but yourself, with not much to show for it in your bank account at the end of the month in spite of all that effort.
If either situation is your experience, it’s time to learn how to turn your coaching practice into a profit machine.
Are you taking home the wage you deserve? At the end of the week, at the end of the month, at the end of the year, is there enough left to justify all your hard work?
Working harder is not an option for most coaches. They are already putting in the hours, but they probably suspect that these hours are not as productive as they could be, and that they should be Working Smarter, not harder. In fact working less hours may be a better approach, if those hours are spent doing the right things.
To be a successful coach, you need to treat your work as a business rather than a profession, albeit a business that delivers coaching services. There are five pillars for the success of a coaching business, a formula if you like. The Five Pillars for Coaching Success.
Planning Your Coaching Business
Start with the end in mind. What do you want your coaching business to look like in 5 years’ time? How does it look now? Analyse the profit structure of your business. Will it achieve your goals? Is your business really profitable? Does every sale to a new client make you money? Often there are hidden cross subsidies that drain your profits. Make sure you know what your profit objective is so that you can build your desired wage into your invoices and ensure every sale truly adds to your bottom line.
This process involves looking at each of your client types, and the different services you offer, and analysing each to ensure that all contribute to your bottom-line. From this analysis, a plan can be developed that will refocus your coaching business into the most profitable areas. This would include how you deliver your services, as well what support will be necessary to achieve your plan. Without support, you become the chief cook and bottle washer who does a bit of coaching on the side.
While you may do all the coaching, that doesn’t mean you should undertake all the other tasks in the business yourself. There is also a lot of low cost technology available that will automate many of your non-core functions so that you can dedicate more of your time on business development and on the delivery your coaching services
Marketing Your Coaching Business
Without marketing, you will have no clients. You may be the best coach in your field, but if no one knows about you, your practice will be empty. Alternatively, if your marketing is poorly focused, you will end up with clients you don’t want, the type whose first question is about your fees.
The purpose of your marketing is to find and attract the clients who want to buy,
what you want to sell, at the price you want to charge.
The first step in this process is to identify your Points of Difference. What is it that your best clients value most about what you provide, and how does this set you apart from your competitor coaches? If you can’t differentiate your services from your competitors, you will just be competing on price. Of course, one way to fill your coaching business with clients is by being the cheapest, but that just attracts the wrong kind of client, and you will end up working yourself into the ground generating profitless turnover from your practice.
With these points of difference in mind, who in your marketplace most values them? These are your best buyers; the 20% of your clients that produce 80% of the value for your business. In order to attract more of these best buyers, coaches should use all four marketing channels: Advertising, Public Relations, Word of Mouth and Cold Calling; to attract clients. Relying on a single channel to market to your clients, means missing out on many opportunities.
The key is to use multiple strategies that will predictably fill your marketing funnel. Once these strategies have been developed, a marketing plan can be created which you can delegate to others to implement for you. Your role then is just to measure the results of the plan making any required adjustments as your market changes, so that you have a sustainable stream of enquiries.
However, it’s not enough to have enquiries, it’s also essential to have a sales pipeline to turn enquirers into clients. This is a step-by-step process of increasing engagement and commitment with the potential client. It’s a system that, when combined with your marketing, delivers a sustainable stream of paying clients who value your service and are happy to pay your fees. Your sales pipeline should be systematised, and automated wherever possible, so your involvement is limited to the point where you close the sale.
Systematising Your Coaching Business
Without systems, your coaching practice will always depend on you. All coaches have the same 24 hours in a day, it’s what they do with them that sets them apart. Too often, when coaches give work to others to do, they find they mess it up, and then they end up spending twice as long fixing things themselves, so they become micromanagers, if they delegate at all. However, with systems in place, they can train others to perform the non-core work, ensuring consistent quality and client satisfaction.
In the event you wish to engage others to perform coaching on your behalf, systems are essential so that your coaches can be trained to deliver in your unique style, maintaining your points of difference.
Without these systems, your business cannot grow, but systems on their own will not guarantee delivery to your standards without reporting. Reports provide accountability, quality control, and ensure that your coaching business can run without you. As a coaching business grows, the owner/ head coach does less coaching, reserving themselves for just their top clients, with the rest of their time split between growing their business and managing their business by reports
People in Your Coaching Business
As more people become involved in your business, more time must be spent on performance management to ensure that standards are met and goals achieved. This requires the development of People Systems so that everyone knows their role, and what a good job looks like. Performance measurement is just part of the reporting process so that the owner knows that a good job is being done even when they are not there. This makes it possible for their business to run without them.
Driving Your Coaching Business
In large business, there are structures in place to drive performance. Shareholders appoint a board to represent their interests. The board appoints a CEO who, together with the board, develops strategy, policies, and goals for the business. The CEO is then tasked with managing the organisation to implement the agreed strategies and policies. The board reviews the CEO’s performance and holds them to account.
Only the very largest coaching businesses have a board. In most cases, it’s just the single owner/coach, who is therefore, the shareholder, the board and the CEO. Who holds the coach to account? This requires a lot of discipline, and even the most disciplined of coaches can fall into old habits, miss the big picture or even just get tired. In spite of this, in front of staff they must remain energised and motivate everyone with their vision.
While hiring a board is out of the question for almost all coaches, there are alternatives. Many coaches have their own coach, someone more experienced, someone who is where they would like to be in five years. Another option coaches choose is to join a Mastermind Group. This could be with other coaches, but a group with business owners from quite different sectors can be even more powerful offering very different viewpoints.
Whichever approach you choose for your coaching business, education is always essential to stay at the top of your field and to be the CEO of your own coaching business.
Dr Greg Chapman is the CEO of Empower Business Solutions and author of the award winning and best selling book “The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success”. Visit www.empowersolutions.com.au and download a free copy of his Mission Statements Made Easy Too.
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