6 Signs You Need a Stronger Strategy for Your Coaching Business
When you decided to start your coaching business, it was likely because you had already been teaching people how to do what you did. Or, you may have found yourself feeling called to share your unique perspective with people doing work in your industry.
Whatever brought you to coaching, and whatever kind of coaching you do, there’s a lot that goes into running this kind of business. From booking new clients to managing schedules and completing plans or supporting your current clients, to invoicing, marketing, and all the rest… You have a lot to manage, but you love helping clients with your unique transformations.
That’s why it can be so incredibly frustrating when things aren’t going as well as you’d hope with your coaching business. For some coaches I’ve spoken to, they’ve shared that revenue is slow, or inquiries have dried up. Others realized that their existing offers or packages weren’t meeting their clients’ needs. And most of them complained that it felt like everything was on them; they had no help.
If you’ve felt like you’ve hit a rut in your coaching business and you’re not sure what’s next, I’d recommend evaluating your business strategy.
What is a coaching business strategy?
If you’ve worked in your industry for a while or had a service-based business prior to shifting to coaching, you’ve heard the word “strategy” before. Honestly, this term gets thrown around a lot without a lot of context. So what does strategy mean, and how will it help your coaching business?
Strategy, specifically business strategy, simply means the plan you create to meet your goals. It is the steps you plan to take and the projects you plan to create to move closer to your goals, be they client bookings, revenue, flexibility, team growth, etc.
Typically, there are seven areas of business strategy that I review with clients:
- Products or Services
- Professional development
- Client Experience
I don’t want you to dive into all seven of those areas of business strategy, though. Because right now, you likely know that something is off… but you don’t know what. So let’s dig into signs that your business needs strategic help, and figure out which area of strategy can help you improve.
Sign #1: Revenue or profit is low
This is a common problem for small business owners and entrepreneurs. There are a few reasons why revenue or profit dip.
Your work likely has seasons, or dips, where income is high and then income is low. This is something you need to create a strategy for, deciding when to promote certain offers to avoid seasonal dips or overwhelm. Maybe you can create a 1:1 package during slower summer months, and offer early coaching sessions for those who’d normally come to you in the New Year. This can stabilize cash flow and reduce stress.
If you realize that you’re not hitting your revenue goals despite having a full client roster, you might want to check your pricing! It doesn’t matter how many clients you book if you’re not charging enough. You want to charge enough to be competitive in the coaching space, while also acknowledging your own goals and needs.
Maybe you’ve got great revenue and steady clients coming in, but your profit or take-home pay is not where you want it to be. That could be a sign it’s time to check your expenses, your tax contributions, and any contractors or team members you’re working with. All of those things can add up and eat into your profit. This could also be connected to your pricing!
Sign #2: Lead quality is low
We’ve all had nightmare clients. We’ve all seen those red flags and took on the client anyways, because we needed the cash. So if you’re there right now, struggling with non-ideal clients to keep things afloat, that’s OK.
However, if you consistently have inquiries from people who are not ideal from the get-go, or who are referred to you by non-ideal clients, that’s a sign your lead generation strategy is off.
- How are you attracting leads? Through a freebie? Social media? Podcast or speaking appearances? Word of mouth?
- Which one of those sources of leads gets the most non-ideal clients? Which one gets the most ideal clients?
- What can you improve on those channels where non-ideal clients find you?
To improve your leads, you need to know where they’re coming from — and how to plug the proverbial holes. If you’re getting a ton of word-of-mouth recommendations from non-ideal clients, maybe you create a survey that helps people self-select before you talk to them. If your freebie is attracting people who aren’t serious about working with you or receiving coaching, you might need to reconsider the content.
Reflecting on this can help you stop the cycle of booking non-ideal clients and despising your work. Plus, you’ll be surprised by how much better you work (and how much more you get paid) with an ideal client.
Sign #3: Outcomes aren’t what clients want
You’re a coach because you want to help people experience a certain transformation, or develop a certain skill set. So it’s a real bummer when a client doesn’t receive those outcomes — or they don’t implement the tools you gave them. This could be caused by one of two strategic shortcomings:
- Your client attraction strategy
- Your product strategy
You’ll want to determine if the product is actually working the way you want, or if it needs improvement. If you find the product/process is solid, you’ll want to look at your client attraction strategy (see Sign #2!).
Sign #4: You’re doing everything alone
Building a business can feel lonely sometimes — especially when you’re wearing all of the hats. From sending onboarding packets to hosting the coaching calls to sending invoices and managing team members, if you’re doing it all, you’re going to feel stagnant at some point.
This is where an operational strategy can come in handy. Operations are the systems you create to actually help you do your work; the strategy is how you implement those systems to fix your problems.
Maybe you need a new onboarding tool, like HoneyBook, to help you streamline new client inquiries and onboarding. Maybe you need a project management tool to help you keep track of projects or manage clients’ tasks. Or maybe you need help with your inbox, if that’s a source of stress.
If you’re really overwhelmed by doing it all, think about the tools (or hired help!) you can find to help streamline operations more.
Sign #5: You don’t have time to innovate
You barely have time to eat and sleep, let alone watch all those courses you’ve paid hundreds (or thousands) for. But you’ve noticed that other coaches in your space are starting to offer a new approach, or have created new packages. How can you stay ahead of these trends if you don’t have time built in for professional — and personal — development?
Part of strategically growing your business means selecting the right supports to help you constantly improve. Your business will never be 100% automated and you’ll never be the absolute expert in your space. There’s always something to learn and new ways to grow. If you’re struggling with feeling like you’re behind with your business or offers, now’s the time to build a professional development strategy.
Learn what you should be doing every day to grow your business to the next level and how you can finally find more time, energy, and interest in your work again.
Sign #6: Every project or package is unique
That new client needs this added onto their package. This other client has a special package price. Those old clients have a different package and get more 1:1 calls with you.
As your coaching business grows, you’ll probably find that your packages change, too. But what happens when packages change and you’re working with old clients? Or when you’re shifting packages but you’re in the messy middle when you book a client?
You end up providing different things to different people and it makes it hard to 1.) track anything 2.) make changes in your business. Now’s the time to create an offer strategy and to review your client experience.
If your packages or offers are all over the place, it might feel to your clients like you are all over the place. You also will end up re-creating the wheel with every new client; you can’t use the same contracts or onboarding materials, call questions, or deliverables. You’ll end up in a cycle of doing more work — and it’s not necessarily even work that your clients need.
Instead, ask yourself: How can you make the client experience more cohesive by creating 2-3 packages that meet your clients where they are right now? And how can you shift all of your client work to those packages in a way that feels good to existing clients?
What if your entire business needs strategy support?
For some of you, you might realize that you need strategic support in 1-2 areas — like pricing and client experience. For others, you might realize that you don’t really have a strategy in any of these areas. Don’t worry; this is actually a pretty common thing for coaches.
I know because I work with them! I also know that just thinking about looking at these foundational areas of your business can make you want to roll up in a blanket cocoon and never leave your coach. You’re strapped for time and you want to get things on track as fast (and as easily) as possible.
That’s where my Focus Framework VIP Day comes in.
For the coach who can’t see how to move forward with everything on their plate, I offer a 1-day VIP day intensive that will help gain clarity around the direction of your business and the projects to prioritize without adding a ton of extra to-dos to your plate. Best of all? We’ll likely find a few projects and tasks you can get rid of!
This done-for-you VIP day experience is dedicated to streamlining your strategy and strengthening the biggest weak spots so you can finally free up your time and grow your coaching business with ease.
Click below to see if you are a fit for the Focus Framework VIP experience.