Business Friendships for Fun and Profit

Last weekend I flew to San Diego to go bowling with friends and build my business. OK, not necessarily in that order. I attended a networking summit with a bunch of conscious business owners in the Internet marketing space. Besides the bowling, we also shared marketing tips, tried out new business ideas, and set up promotional partnerships. But the point is, I was among friends.

Old alliances were refreshed and new connections sparked. And, I brought home the precious feeling that these guys have my back. If I’m looking for a particular resource, or I need perspective on something I’m working on, I know one or more of them will be there to help.

A peer network supports coaching business success

Don’t Build Your Coaching Business Alone

Even if you’re somewhat of a loner, you still need other people to hold space for your evolution while you grow. I know that for some it can be a stretch to hold your own in a group. I’ve been there, many times. But the rewards are rich – starting with the intrinsic reward of camaraderie, that priceless feeling of good fellowship on the journey.

And it doesn’t stop there. The truth is, every business owner needs a success team. You need team members you can trust with the tasks that are not the best use of your time. You also need mentors who help fill the holes in your knowledge, fans who cheer you on, and business friends who check your sanity, hold up an honest mirror for you, and help you spark new ideas.

I owe my business success to an ever-growing group of human angels. Their questions have sharpened and clarified my vision. They’ve believed in me when my belief in myself flagged. They’ve helped me accomplish more than I ever could have alone. And sometimes they’ve led the way to a clear and easy path forward.

How to Find Your Business Buddies

A great way to start a success team is to meet regularly with a group of like-minded peers who share similar goals. That group can turn a lonesome business building experience into a fun and meaningful adventure.

Anyone can form a peer group. Just hand-pick individuals that you enjoy and you feel are go-getters, and invite them to mastermind with you. You could pull from your local ICF or other coaching association, or from your classmates in a training program. Choose people who are committed to their success and have a positive outlook.

The best groups include people who are at the same level of their business development as you, and some who are ahead of you. That gives you a well of experience to draw from, as well as the inspiration to keep moving forward.

Make agreements among yourselves about how you will operate and what you’ll explore together. Keep your group moving forward. Don’t let it get stuck in a rut. Meetings should feel fresh and productive.

Here’s just a sample of what you can do together:

  • share facilitation (to get experience as a facilitator).
  • read and discuss business books.
  • share tips, resources, and tools.
  • brainstorm ideas, get feedback, learn from each other.
  • get a boost for your confidence.
  • challenge each other to greatness (raise your fees, try something new, take a bigger risk).
  • promote each other’s programs.

Worried about sharing with “the competition”? Don’t be. Invite in peers who have chosen a specific coaching niche, so you each stand out and your offerings complement each other.

If you prefer to shortcut the process of gathering a group, join a ready-made group led by an expert teacher or mentor. These facilitated groups come with built-in ground rules and include some teaching elements, making the good ones extra juicy. But don’t sit back and let the facilitator do all the work. What you get out of the group depends on what you put into it.

The Rest of the Team

A good business success team includes other kinds of people besides your peer group:

  • family and friends, for support from the people who know you best.
  • mentors who have been there before and found the way forward.
  • your professional team (VA, web designer).
  • and your fans, clients who really “get” the value of what you offer.

It may seem counter-intuitive to think of clients as part of your team, but your clients can be a huge resource to help grow your business.

If you have positioned yourself as the “go-to person” for your coaching niche, then you have a subset of your clients who champion YOU. They believe so much in you and get so much value from what you do that they:

  • stay in touch and want to know how to support you.
  • give you testimonials and make introductions.
  • buy your next program, and bring friends.

Are your clients doing that for you? The key is to target a market full of seekers. Let me help you land a niche that will go the distance.