by Carma Spence-Pothitt
Do you have a vision for your coaching business? Do you see it accomplishing great things? Helping a lot of people? Providing you with the income and lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of?
If you are like most coaches, your answer to these questions was, “Yes!” But you might also feel a little frustrated because you aren’t achieving that vision as swiftly as you’d hoped.
So I ask you: Do you have a plan for achieving your vision or are you just winging it?
Many coaches don’t plan for their success. Part of the reason is the false belief that a business and marketing plan is only needed if you are seeking outside funding. Another false belief is that you have to create a large, complex, traditional business plan.
This is simply not the case. To move your coaching business toward your vision, you only need to create a simple, flexible plan comprised of these five key parts, which you should be able to fit into about three pages:
1. Vision Statement
The vision statement is the big picture of your business, stating where you see your business in three to five years. It creates a mental picture of what the business hopes to become or achieve, and states it in the present.
The problem is, too many coaches fail to create a clear vision, instead, creating one that obscures their path. Your vision statement should be as specific as possible on whom your business serves and what you provide them.
2. Mission Statement
The mission statement zeros in on the present and looks out to the future by only a year. It declares boldly to the world what makes you and your business unique. It defines the purpose of your business, as well as the values and ethical principles by which you aspire to conduct business. It is an explanation of why the business exists and the path it will take to achieve its vision.
Of all the coaches out there, why should someone hire you? Here is where you can bring together your skills, experience, passion and special characteristics to form a mission that is distinctive to only you and your business.
The mission statement also focuses on the results your business brings about for your clients. What do your clients get out of working with you?
The objectives section is all about measurement. By what markers will you determine your success? Will it be a sales figure? Quantity of clients? Products developed? Your objectives must be clear and precise.
One way to create clear, measurable objectives is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. methodology:
- Specific–be precise and relevant to your business.
- Measurable–assign a specific measurable value.
- Attainable–can you achieve this goal?
- Realistic–similar to attainable, but more specific to your business.
- Timed–include a date by which you will achieve that objective.
Objectives are the milestones you must arrive at to achieve the success you’ve outlined in your plan.
The most important part of your plan is the strategy section. This is the meat, where the rubber meets the road. This section clearly lays out the activities you need to focus on to move your business toward the success you’ve envisioned. This is where you describe how you will accomplish your objectives.
For every business model, there are some traditional and appropriate strategies you can use. However, you can’t implement them all at once. You need to select which ones will give you the highest return on your investment in the current stage of your business. For example, in coaching, some common strategies include free “get acquainted” sessions, article marketing and public speaking.
Take a look at the strategies available to you and select no more than three to focus on for the first year. You can always re-evaluate and change your decisions when you check in with your plan in three to six months, after having enough time to see if those strategies proved fruitful.
5. Action Plan
Your action plan is your roadmap to success. It states those activities you will engage in over the course of a set period of time. Each of these activities must support the other parts of your plan.
For example, if you selected article marketing as one of your strategies, and “grow your list by 500 names” as one of your objectives, steps in your action plan might look like this:
- By Nov. 15, I will complete keyword research and select 20 keywords to focus on for the coming year.
- By Nov. 30, I'll have written 50 headlines for the articles I want to write, based on my keywords.
- By Dec. 15, I will have written a resource box template that points readers to a specific landing page where I collect their name and email address in exchange for a relevant incentive.
- By Dec. 31, I will have written 50 articles and began submitting them one per week to EzineArticles.com.
The larger strategy and objective of adding 500 names to your list using article marketing was broken up into smaller tasks with specific due dates that are realistic.
Monitor Your Progress
Don’t stop once you’ve completed your plan. A business and marketing plan is a living document. You should refer to it at least once a month, at first, to monitor your progress and ask yourself these questions:
- Have I moved forward along my action plan? If yes, do I need to add more actions? If no, why not?
- Do I need to re-think my objectives? Do any of them no longer serve my vision or me?
- Have I changed direction or deviated from my plan? Why? Out of fear? Or of greater clarity?
By revisiting the plan regularly for the first six to twelve months, you enable yourself to fine-tune it and make sure it is in alignment with your core values and your realistic capabilities.
Carma Spence-Pothitt has more than 20 years of marketing and public relations experience and has helped a wide variety of clients with their promotional activities. If you enjoyed this article and wish to learn more about the topic, take her free e-course at http://www.planyourbusinessvision.com.