Coaching business plan: The ultimate guide to writing your own for 2022 and beyond
Let’s create a coaching business plan that suits your current situation and achieves your dream lifestyle.
As Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. You wouldn’t embark on a journey without checking the weather, the length of the journey, and the accessibility of the roads if you want to be sure to reach your destination. So why would you have a coaching practice without a coaching business plan?
Writing a coaching business plan is very important especially for your first year in business. You don’t want to build a coaching business that feels and earns like a hobby. You want a 6-figure business in 12 to 18 months so you can quit your job and coach full time.
A business plan will help you understand where you can be within a year and how you’re realistically going to get there.
Here are 9 simple steps to build your coaching business plan:
Let’s do this together
A Coaching Business Plan based on Your Vision
The first step is to clarify your vision. Not everyone is great at this, but even if you don’t have a vivid imagination and are not sure what you want from your business, you can still write a good business plan.
In order to outline your vision, you need to know what you don’t want. Imagine you’re still where you are today in 10 years’ time – what do you hate about it?
Are you working too many hours?
Not spending enough time with loved ones?
Doing a job you hate?
Now you should be clear about what you don’t want in your business.
This doesn’t however tell you what you actually want.
Imagine now that you have no financial problems, you’ve created the business of your dreams. What does your perfect (or ideal) day in your business look like? I did this exercise with one of my coaches many years ago and my day went something like this…
“I wake up at around 8 am to a warm cup of coffee on my bedside cabinet. My husband prepares our daughter for school and off they go, each seen off with a kiss, to get through their days.
I get up around 9 am, wash and get dressed and make my way to my home office. I spend most of my time writing and coaching clients and my accountant and VA take care of everything else, except for my live training. I love doing that.
At around lunchtime, the doorbell rings and my lunch and freshly pressed juice are delivered to my door. I take a break and drink my juice, and do a bit of yoga. At 1 o’ clock, I wrap up and pick my daughter up from school.
We eat lunch together and then I help her with her homework.
I then pop into my office to catch one last call which I leave space for due to the timezones I work with.
When I’m finished we go for a walk or meet a friend returning home at around sunset. We eat dinner as a family together and then hang around reading or watching Netflix together till bedtime.”
Now imagine your dream working day – and write it down.
How many working hours did it contain? If this isn’t realistic right away you can work your way into this routine.
This is what you’ll build your business around.
Your mission and core values in your coaching business plan
The next step is to get clearer about your business core values and your mission in business. For example, I built my online coaching business because I wanted Freedom – this is an important core value for me. My second core value is Family – I wanted more freedom to spend more time with my daughter and also to travel, Adventure – is another core value. Things need to be fun.
My core values are Freedom, Family, Adventure, Perseverance, Philanthropy, Simplicity, and Peace.
My mission is to help women build businesses that give them financial independence and freedom. I also want to make enough money so that I can contribute to my favorite causes and charities as well as live my ideal lifestyle – which is pretty simple with lots of space for travel and experiences.
My first business was not built around my core values and it ended up becoming something I quite hated, much as I loved the work but I ended up hating the business because it wasn’t aligned with my ideal lifestyle and priorities. Drawing up your own Mission and core values will help you avoid the mistakes I made.
You can ask yourself questions like:
- What’s my ideal lifestyle?
- What is non-negotiable if I want to be happy?
- What causes would I volunteer for if I didn’t need to work?
Your coaching business packages
This is where it starts getting real. The first step is to define your packages. Make a list of the packages you will offer in the next 12 months and who the ideal client for that is. Remember to stick to your niche. (if you haven’t picked one yet – read this https://www.stephaniefiteni.com/digital-strategy/digital-marketing-for-coaches/coaching-niches/)
You don’t need more than 3 packages. Often you will need to build your packages in a way that allows you to customize them but define the ones you will put on your website very clearly. If you find this hard start by making a list of features and benefits for each package. Some examples of features are… email support, WhatsApp support, and 1:1 recorded video calls.
Some examples of benefits are… improved confidence, tools to use to diffuse anxiety attacks, a roadmap to sticking with new habits.
The financials of your business plan: Work out the rate you need to make this perfect working day happen
Start off with the amount you want to make. Say you want to hit 6 figures this year, your income would be $100,000. You want to calculate the number of days you will be working and then calculate the income you want to make and expenses you will incur to come to the hourly rate you need to charge.
Once you have a clear hourly rate that you need to charge you’ll know whether this feels doable or not. If the hourly rate seems high, you may have to compromise and perhaps spend less on a VA this year and put in more hours. Once you’ve figured out which packages can help you earn the targeted figure as charged at the required hourly rate, you will have to figure out how many leads you need to make this happen.
For example: if your ideal hourly rate is $250 then your 4-session package needs to sell for $1,000 (ask yourself if this feels doable and whether it is a reasonable price based on the information you have about your competitors and industry).
Then if your billable hours totaled 400 you need to sell 100 of them to sell all 400 hours (at 4 hours per package). This means you need 100 clients per year or approximately 8 clients per month.
If your closing rate from discovery calls is 33%, then you need to book 8 x 3 discovery calls per month. That’s 24. So now it all starts taking shape – you know you have 12 hours per month (or 3 hours per week) allocated to discovery calls. Look at what you have right now and it.
Competitor research and pumpkin planning your coaching offers
Now that you know what the ideal financial situation looks like you can envision the steps to get there. By reducing some expenses and aiming for a smaller goal you can perhaps charge a little less until you garner a larger following and more confidence.
The next step is to look at your competitors – Find out how much they are charging and what packages they offer. Think of how you can grow your offering to increase your rates over time or move towards group coaching.
If you have too many offers ‘Pumpkin Plan’ your offers. The Pumpkin Plan is a great business book written by Mike Michalowitz. The idea is that you find out which are your best, most profitable customers and packages and build your business around that, dropping the rest.
It’s a great book that will help you figure out which packages to keep, which ones to drop, and which ones you should grow.
Your business resources
Keep in mind the resources you have in hand. If your financial breakdown from the calculator is predicted at 100,000 income and 27,000 in expenses this doesn’t mean you will have the cash flow to spend to generate the number of leads you need for the first few months, especially if you’re kickstarting the process from the start.
This is why your first step should be to grow your business organically, using blogging and social media. Keep track of your cash flow and learn how to manage it whilst you generate leads organically.
Marketing your coaching business
Once you have an idea of the kind of cash flow you’ll begin with, you can create your marketing plan. Your plan should contain most if not all of the following:
i) A list of packages you need to sell with the number of packages to sell
Example: 4 x 4-session packages per month and 2 x 8-session packages per month.ii) A goal for the number of leads for each package
iii) A plan on how to generate those leads using marketing strategies such as blogging, social, videos, etc.
iv) A clear picture regarding what needs to be measured to understand your progress.
If you’re not very experienced with marketing start with a simple strategy and work your way up. Don’t feel like you have to compete with people that have been doing this for 10 years. Perseverance is the name of the game. You want to make sure you invest, however you want to make sure that if your investments don’t play off you can still stay in the game.
Click here to find more detailed information about simple marketing for coaches here.
Potential partnerships and expansion
Once you’ve figured out your marketing plan you can enhance your results by focusing also on partnerships that can help your business expansion. Seek out partnerships and exchanges with people who already have your audience. This will help you build friendships and partnerships but also grow an audience more quickly.
Finally, make sure that everything has a timeline. Break down your strategy into projects and create a Gantt chart to understand if you’ve loaded certain parts of the year too much. You can use free tools like this one https://workspace.google.com/marketplace/app/free_gantt_chart_maker/631490414706.
Keep in mind your private life and lifestyle too. If, like me, you take 2 weeks off in August make sure you keep your goals in proportion to that. You also want to mark all your holidays and those of your closest family members (including kids’ school calendars). This will help you stay realistic when it comes to planning your workload and deadlines, giving you a higher chance of reaching your goals.
Would you like to plan your rates and marketing plan with an experienced coach?
Book your free discovery call here to understand if we’re a good match