by Kathy Mallary
If you happened to sneak a peek at your email over the holidays (and you know you did, even -though you promised you wouldn’t), you most likely discovered two things:
- Spammers apparently don’t take a holiday break.
- Virtually every other message in your Inbox lately is an article or blog post about setting goals for 2011.
I don’t understand what spammers have against taking a break, but #2 happens because this is the time of year when folks realize they want more of some things (money, time, quality of life, partnership, fun, power, freedom, hair, etc.) and/or less of other things (debt, stress, frustration, overwhelm, risk, limitation, doubt, hair, etc.), and the first obvious step is to set some goals.
This is not an article about that.
This article is about rocking your business in 2011. Rocking, as in: getting down, shaking it up, snapping out of it, breaking through, busting free, going big, kicking some booty… you get the idea.
And since we’re talking about your coaching business, the natural place to begin is with your business model.
What business model, you ask?
Yes Virginia, You Do Have a Business Model
Did your business make money in 2010? Any money at all; the amount is not important. If yes, then relax, you have a business model, either by design or by default. On the other hand, if your business generated NO revenue … well, then 2011 could be the year you get a business model AND some revenue—woo hoo!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what a business model is:
A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value—economic, social, or other forms of value. (Wikipedia)
(Please note: a business model is not the same thing as a business plan. A business plan is something you pack up in a 3-ring binder and take to your banker when you want a line of credit; a business model is something you sketch on the back of a Starbucks napkin when a friend asks you to explain this crazy idea you have for making money with coaching.)
I’m not kidding about the back of the napkin thing, either. If your business model is so complicated that you need more than one napkin, you’re probably making it more complicated than it needs to be. Keep it simple!
Okay, so how do you rock your business from the back of a Starbucks napkin?
3 Simple Steps for Rocking Your Coaching Biz in 2011
When you want your car to go zoom-zoom, you take it in for a tune up. Likewise, if you want your business to rock, you need to give your business model a tune up.
1) Get out your napkin and outline the four key elements of your business:
- Customers: Who are they, how do you connect and what type of support are they looking for?
- Offer: Your value proposition—how do you address your clients’ needs, wants and desires? What’s different or uniquely effective about your offer?
- Money flow: Map out the mix of costs and revenue streams that fuel your business and produce profit.
- Assets: What are the activities, resources and partnerships that it takes to reach, serve and profit from your market?
2) Assess how well each area is working and identify opportunities for improvement:
- How many are you reaching out to? How can you reach 5-10% more people each quarter?
- How often are you reaching out? Are you showing up regularly and consistently? What are some new strategies you could try this year to increase how often you show up?
- How many are liking, following and engaging with you? Is this number growing, slowing or plateauing? What can you do to accelerate this rate by 5-10% each month?
- Who is showing up? Are you reaching your ideal clients? Do you need to fine tune your website copy or adjust your process for qualifying clients so that you’re hitting the target better?
- How quickly do they buy? On average, how long does someone hang out on your list before they make their first purchase with you? What could you do to help people make that decision 5-10% faster?
- What are they buying? What’s your most successful offer so far? What other offers could you try?
- How much do they spend? And who are your best clients? What else might they like to buy?
- What are your customers saying about the value they get from you? What kind of feedback have you gotten? What key words or phrases can you find in their testimonials? How can you use your clients’ words to help you build trust and credibility with more people?
- How much is coming in? What steps can you take that would help you to sell 5-10% more this quarter than last quarter?
- How much is going out? What expenses could you cut that would help you lower your expenses by 5-10% from last quarter?
- Are there any cyclical peaks or valleys—certain times of the year/quarter/month when your cash flow tends to dry up or flood? How can you fill the gaps or create some reserves so that you have more consistent cash flow throughout the year?
- Was your business profitable last year? Did you have a profit goal and did you reach or exceed it? What could you do to increase your profit margin by 5-10% each quarter?
- What have you acquired, produced or leveraged that increased the value of your offer? What products or programs can you create that would appeal to your existing clients? What else could you create and/or offer that would convert more people to first time buyers?
- Who are the influencers in your market, and what results are you getting from win-win relationships with them (co-opetition, vendors, colleagues, clients, referral sources, etc.)? What can you do to expand your own influence and reach through partnership, joint ventures, etc. this year?
3) Pick 2-3 ideas and create an action plan for implementing the changes you’ve identified.
You don’t need to do everything at once—just pick a couple of high-impact ideas each quarter and design a project around each. And you don’t necessarily have to try to make huge changes, either; improving results by just 5-10% in three areas will often be easier, faster and have a greater impact than trying to improve one area by 50%.
So before your Inbox grabs you and drags you under again, take a moment to look at your business model and find a few places where you could rock it with just a few tweaks.
To borrow a line from my favorite Stevie Rae Vaughn tune, “When your business is a-rockin’, clients come a-knockin’!”
Kathy Mallary is a business development specialist who helps coaches get into high gear with both clients and cash flow so they can make a bigger difference and healthier profits. Get free resources for innovative coaching business models and signature coaching systems that add to your bottom line at www.spiritspring.com.