We spend a lot of time thinking about our futures, but strangely the subject of business planning still causes folks to groan and procrastinate… many to the point of never planning at all.
Here’s what I know… if you don’t plan for your business you’ll make less and have less fun. It’s true. I still shoot from the hip as much as the next entrepreneur, but over and over I’ve witnessed that the more I plan, the better I do – both financially and emotionally.
What if planning could be fun and inspiring? What if you could do it quickly?
I just whipped together my plan for next year and I feel great! Plus, now it will be really easy to break it down into baby steps so I never have to wonder or worry whether I’m taking actions that will payoff.
Ready to play? Keep this simple at first. Just jot some thoughts down. Then it’s simple to go back and add more structure and details.
1. What are your personal goals for the year?
Before you do anything else, decide when you’ll take vacations! Get the “me time” and “family time” in there because your well-being always comes first. For next year, I’m taking all of May and December off. Woohoo!
Then, consider how you want your days to flow. I’m planning office hours for Monday – Wednesday, no more than three calls a day.
Consider the theme or overarching inner game for your year. For me, this coming year is about JOY, REST and FUN. I’m going to do more celebrating and less sweating the small stuff.
Then answer these questions:
This is a guest post by my friend and colleague, Erika Kalmar, the Coaching Biz Start-Up Strategist …
One of the often seen mistakes of coaches is that they start setting up their business on the wrong end. Sometimes it is due to overwhelm, at other times due to lack of planning, but conclusion is – many coaches do not start where they should be, the #1 step they would need to take and this is preparing a business plan.
So what, you may ask? Everyone is free to choose their first steps, right? Some might feel starting up with their website, others with their Facebook Fan Page and again others might jump straight into creating their products.
The thing is – if you also belong to this group of people, then you are not following a long-term plan but acting on a short term strategy basis, working on a to-do item on your list.
Do you see where I am getting at?
How will you know that this strategy or to-do item will really fit the big picture, the vision of your business – and most importantly, that this is the best way to fulfill your business vision?
Because this is exactly what is happening if you tackle individual steps instead of the “big picture” first – you are working on short-term goals, hoping that it will ever contribute to your long-term one (that you might not even be aware of at the time).
You know how certain clients are a perfect fit for you? They come to the table fully responsible for their feelings, decisions and actions. They’re hungry for the gifts of coaching, no matter what they look like. They allow it to catalyze their own wisdom and intelligence.
Those folks are showing up empowered and fully stepping into their role in the co-creative relationship.
But what about the flipside when it feels like a client comes to a session resistant, as if their arms are folded across their chest. Coaching seems to bounce off them. Or worse they bring the expectation that you’ll fix things for them, but aren’t willing to be part of the solutions. What’s going on there?
For coaching to happen, both coach and client must show up co-creative, resourceful and whole.
How can you do your part?
How to Stop Shrinking or Inflating Your Power
Most coaches I meet genuinely want to help others. In fact, it’s often a driving force in their lives to give.
I know I have that “helper” archetype. And I’ve gone many turns around the spiral learning to be conscious about the heavy shadow side of that noble desire. Do you feel me?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 13 years, but I’m still learning things that make me feel like slapping my forehead. Know what I mean? Something comes along that’s just so smart and eye-opening that I think I should have known it years ago. Or I should have come up with it myself!
In just the past week, I’ve had three such light bulb moments. So I thought I would share them with you. The resources linked in this post all taught me things I wish I’d known when I started my coaching business 13 years ago.
I’ll give you one highlight from each of them.
Why People Don’t Buy From You
Brendon Burchard has put up a free video series to market his Total Product Blueprint program. For your opt-in, you get three meaty videos outlining:
- The basic structure of an information product, and the 12 types of information products with money-making potential.
- How to market information products.
- What makes information content valuable and how to take your teaching to a deeper level.
This is worth the investment of time (nearly 3 hours). I learned things on these videos that are going to improve my ability to get clients and make money. Brendan is planning on taking these videos down tomorrow, so grab it while you can by opting in here.
(I’m not affiliated with Brendan’s campaign, and I’m not encouraging you to buy – just to learn.)
Brendan teaches that there are six universal reasons why people don’t buy. Or to turn that around, six shifts your marketing must accomplish for people to buy from you:
When I announced last week that I was going to stop publishing an ezine, the response was strong, and mixed. It led to some juicy conversation in the comments on that post, and a lot of personal emails that really touched me.
I know many of you will miss getting the ezine or the full blog post with your email. I feel badly about that. And I know that if you read your email on a mobile device, that makes clicking through and reading the blog online more of a hassle.
But here’s the thing. I want more from you. You all are my tribe. I want to do what I can to encourage you to join the conversation on this blog, because that will make the blog a richer resource for everyone.
I’m also hoping that for most of you, the new way will be more respectful of your time, because there is less coming into your inbox.
Tribes Need Connection
All this has got me thinking about how coaches connect with their markets. What kind of relationship do coaches want with the people we serve?
It’s become fashionable to talk about business in terms of tribes, but if you haven’t checked out the source of that trend – Seth Godin’s brilliant book Tribes – I recommend it. The message is: business leadership is not about building factories anymore, and it’s not about using advertising to push an idea on people. It’s about connecting like-minded people and leading them to a place they want to go.
By Godin’s definition, a group of people needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. So the lesson is, if you want to strengthen your tribe, help them communicate.
This is a guest post by my friend and colleague, Nancy Marmolejo, the Online Visibility Expert for Heart Based Entrepreneurs…
Click the play button to listen to the audio of this article directly from Nancy!
If you’re a coach, consultant, speaker, author, trainer, or other service professional, then you have a powerful message to share with the world and your business is how you get it out there.
What good is that message is it’s hidden in the shadows and no one can find you?
It’s time to get your business out of the shadows and into the spotlight so more people can know about your message, your business, and your expertise.
These 5 tips will get you started so more people know about you, connect with your offers, and buy from you!
- Claim Your Expertise, Claim Your Medicine
Your expertise is more than what you know; it’s medicine for the world. Don’t be reluctant to claim your expertise. In fact, it’s really not about you; it’s about the transformation your work activates. Let your message and your “medicine” lead you to step up into a bigger arena and get your name out to the people who want and need what you have.
- Use Your “Spotlight Style” for Maximum Marketing Impact
There are 3 distinct “Spotlight Styles”, which is how we’re wired for marketing success. They’re based on personality traits and comfort level with certain actions. Knowing your Spotlight Style keeps you from making the marketing mistakes that trap your business in the shadows.
Here in Colorado the new year came in on a snow-scented breeze, with an air of purpose. It feels like 2011 is off to a running start.
Is your business feeling the new winds blowing? Mine sure is. I‘ve upgraded my Ideal Coaching Market workshop and moved my membership site over to a WordPress platform. I’m about to launch a couple of new marketing approaches, and some new programs are also in the works.
All this inspired me last time to write about reasons to make over your coaching business, and that post brought some pithy comments. One coach asked – now that I know a business makeover is necessary, where do I start?
A great question that deserves an in-depth answer, so I thought I’d address it here.
The essence of the business makeover is to systematically go through everything in your business to uncover what’s working and what’s not working, and then replace what’s not working with something better. To make the process manageable, keep your focus on four fundamentals: market, message, offers and conversion process.
Start With Your Niche
Start by looking at your coaching niche. Is it viable? That means, have you targeted a narrow niche market that is accessible to you and ready to invest in their own personal and professional development?
It seems like every year I do a business makeover. Somewhere around September or October I go into innovation warp drive, and by January of the next year I have a completely refreshed business.
Right now, everything I offer coaches is getting reworked and upgraded. (Watch for specials coming soon!)
I like it. It keeps me on my toes and rings in the new year in another delightful way.
But why do I do it? And is it really such a good idea to keep changing up what I’m doing? I think so. It’s about staying aligned with what is most alive in my business. And there are more concrete reasons too.
8 Compelling Reasons to Make Over Your Coaching Business
These eight factors have spurred me and my clients to close up a program, start new ones, upgrade, and update to a new business model. Are any of these at work for you right now?
- You’ve realized what you love to do more than what you were doing.
- You’ve grown new skills and deeper knowledge.
- You’ve learned more from the folks you serve about what they really want.
- You want to scale up to serve more people, so you can leverage your time.
- You’re utilizing new technologies and systems.
- You want to model the best practices of your mentors.
- You’re amping up your income and profits.
- You’ve refined to a more profitable niche.
The most important thing is to let your business grow and evolve as you do. If you’re like me, you sometimes make changes of a lifetime in mere months. No moss gathers on you, because you’re always seeking ways to better yourself, better your life and help others do the same. That should be reflected in your business, because your business is a reflection of you.