Running a coaching business is more than just throwing open your doors to clients and making a steady profit each month. If you want long-term success, you must also strive for long-term sustainability, profitability, and market advantage.
Excellence in your coaching business doesn´t depend on just one system, process, or practice. It´s a collection of all of these components complementing each other that will result in the optimal business operations you´re after. Excellence stems from fundamental values and principles drawn from a solid business model.
No matter which model you choose, there are 9 basic stages you must face and conquer. I´ve outlined them here for you. Start with the first and work your way through to the end. Doing so will make a world of difference in the success of your budding coaching business.
Be clear on where you want to go and why you want to go there.
It is your vision that will pull you forward and motivate you to keep on improving your systems and processes.
It is your vision that determines your direction as you set your goals, draft your plans, and lead your employees.
State it in a simple and straightforward manner. It can be as ambitious as you want it to be, but it should be attainable.
Your vision, together with your mission (why you’re doing it) and your values (how you’re doing it), should guide your coaching business operations. Your vision should continually inspire you upward and onward, to better things.
You’ve probably already heard about setting SMART goals. That’s because it’s the best way to set goals. You have to set specific goals that are measurable, using set standards and benchmarks. They should be realistically achievable and relevant to you and your business. You should also be able to set a time-frame within which to achieve each goal.
Sit down and truly think about the milestones that you have to reach as you work your way towards your vision. Your goals should create value for you, your business and your clients.
Your strategic plan is your road-map. Its purpose is to guide you as you work towards your goals and your vision. Your strategic plan should be based on careful assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as well as your competitive advantage. You should be able to leverage your strengths and minimize the effects of your weaknesses to boost your competitive edge.
Your strategy should detail how you will create opportunities for your coaching business and how you will take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
Your strategic plan should be detailed and meticulously laid out. Even with grand and ambitious plans for your business, you need to look closely at your weaknesses and any threats that might endanger the success of your coaching business. Keep in mind that glossing over these negatives could render your strategic plan ineffective.
Here we´re talking about your toolbox. Taking your strategic plan into consideration, what do you need in order to achieve your goals? Make an inventory of what you need, what you have, and what you need to procure. These resources could include training, manpower, supplies, etc. that are necessary to execute your strategies. Budget is, of course, a critical resource that has a significant impact on the success of your strategic plan.
Your strategic plan is not meant to be compiled into a neatly bound package that ends up in your filing cabinet. You need to take action to realize the results you´re after. A strong vision will help sustain your excitement and energy when working towards your goals - no matter what glitches and challenges may come up along the way.
Set a system to track your performance and determine if you are progressing towards your goals. You need to be able to measure results on a regular basis, so you can tweak your action plan as necessary. This will help you analyze and assess the effectiveness of specific actions or programs.
Take the time to devise ways to replicate actions and programs to expand and extend the benefits of success. Make a list of best practices you are committed to adhering to and create step-by-step outlines for all repetitive tasks. This will make it easier for you to outsource recurring components of your business when the time comes.
Successful marketing promotions should also be documented in detail, so that they can be replicated for the same expected results.
You have to be ready for whatever challenges you might encounter in achieving your vision. Coaching business excellence comes with its challenges. That´s why setting up contingency plans and identifying possible risks is so important.
You need to be ready with a plan of action in case things do not work out as expected or when any of the risks you identified present themselves. You need to be able to respond in a timely manner to mitigate the effects of any contingency.
Excellence in business is not a one-time undertaking. It is a continuous process that you go through in a cyclical manner. Go through all the previous stages again, reassess, and evaluate, as needed. This will allow you to continuously improve your processes and move towards your vision even faster.
Your choice of a coaching business model will depend on your area of expertise, your organizational structure, and your operating processes. There are business management consultants who can help you determine which one is best for you. They should also be able to guide you as you work your way through the 9 stages above.
Growing a successful coaching is possible as long as you strive to keep excellence at the top of your list of priorities. It´s rare that the course toward success will be smooth sailing - expect issues and challenges along the way. Still, knowing you have systems and processes for business excellence in place, you will always find solutions to weather the storm, so you can enjoy the rewards when you get to your destination.
William Holt is the go-to coach and trainer for executives & professionals wanting to transition to coaching as a way of sharing their professional expertise with the world. He is also the creator of the Holt Coaching Method as well as the founder and leader of the LinkedIn Group - Executive Women´s Growth Forum.
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