Here is a small business plan template which gives you a great guide to planning your coaching business. I know I resisted doing a business plan for a long time, just letting my business grow organically. However once I realised my business wasn’t growing as quickly as wanted I decided to go through a business planning process and document what I claimed I had in my head. I found completing this small business plan template a hugely valuable process getting me to examine the different areas of my business, who my competitors were and how I was competing. It also forced me to look at the financial side of my business – which income streams were working best for me, what my outgoings were and what income I actually expected to take out of my business.
This has to be your starting point…clearly articulating what is important to you and what is important to your business. This will act a firm guide for your and your business helping you to make decisions that are right for you. As an example one of my own organisation’s values is:
Making A Difference: Everything we do has to make a difference whether this is to an individual, an organisation, society or the world
You need to be crystal clear about what you want from your business and quantify it. This includes looking at your desired financial goals as well as others such as the number of days each week you want to work, how many holidays you want and any flexibility you desire.
Who is it that you really want to do business with? If you have already started coaching you will find you are attracted to and work better with some people more than others. But more importantly who is prepared to pay for your services at the fees you want to charge? Make sure you really understand what it is that your customers want and need and how you will help them. Potential clients will only sign up if they believe that you are providing them with real benefits.
We all have competitors but instead of seeing them as a threat see them as a useful source of information. Do your research – what are they offering, how much do they charge, what are their strengths, what are they doing that you are not, how do they market themselves? This will help you to decide how you can differentiate yourself and decide on your own unique selling point (USP).
How are you going to get people signing up and paying for your services? There are many ways to do this and cost vary enormously but the trick is finding the right ones for your business e.g. networking, direct mail, website, business cards, social media marketing, referral marketing, advertising and PR.
An essential exercise to carry out is a SWOT analysis:
Strengths (e.g. your experience, knowledge, skills, contacts, your USP)
Weaknesses (e.g. current marketing methods, competitors, lack of finance)
Opportunities (e.g. new gaps in the market, new contacts)
Threats (e.g. competition from other coaches, current economic climate)
You need to consider where you are going to coach and whether you need a dedicated room or office clients can visit or call.
Who else do you need to work with? Do you have a network of associates whose expertise you can draw upon? There may be areas you have less experience in or desire to carry out such as your accounts or admin so it might be worth considering what you might want to outsource.
As a business person you must ensure that your business is financially viable. You need to give a projection of your income based on how much you want to charge out, how many paid hours you intend to work and the number of clients you want to work with.
And you must take into account your costs which could include:
Marketing e.g. website, business cards, networking etc.
Personal development e.g. coaching fees, courses, books
Once you know your total costs you will then know how much you need to earn to break even, in other words how much you need to earn so you are not making a loss.
That's the outline of the small business plan template that I used. If you want to avoid all the heartache and trauma of learning how to set out your plan out then there's a great template that you can buy, click here and make life easy. From their home page just click on the “C” in the A2Z search and scroll down to “coaching”.
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