Episode #062 Creating a Strong Business Plan for Your Coaching Practice
How to write a coach’s business plan that helps your practice thrive
A business plan is crucial for a coaching business as it provides a clear vision, strategy, and financial planning. It helps in understanding the market, mitigating risks, and developing effective marketing and operational strategies. Moreover, a business plan aids in tracking progress. Overall, it serves as a roadmap for achieving success and managing the business effectively.
In this episode, we talk about:
How to clearly define your vision and identify what you don’t want in your business.
Business and Personal Values and how these are reflected in your business
Defining your core offering: coaching packages.
Use the calculator to determine your ideal hourly rate.
Key marketing data: leads, sources, closing rates.
Simplifying your schedule and considering your lifestyle
Hourly Rate Calculator: https://my.stephaniefiteni.com/coachingratescalculator
Podcast Website: https://www.stephaniefiteni.com/online-coaching/
Check out our blog about marketing for coaches and building an online coaching business: https://www.stephaniefiteni.com/digital-strategy/digital-marketing-for-coaches/
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Coaching business plan
Today, we’re gonna talk about your coaching business plan. I’m gonna walk you through the steps and all the things you need to think about to create a strong business plan that helps you create a practice that thrives. It’s very important that your coaching business is based on your own vision.
Your Vision for Your Coaching Business
So Try not to, you know, admire other people too much, and try not to take on too much of what other people are doing. Of course, it doesn’t have to be totally original, you can take bits and pieces from other people’s business, but it’s important that you clarify your vision first, Before you start your coaching business plan, in order to outline your vision, you need to know what you don’t want first. I’m a big believer that that’s what you wanna start from so that you don’t steer your business in the wrong direction over time. So imagine you’re still Where you are today in 10 years’ time, what do you hate about it? Are you working too many hours? Are you not Spending enough time with loved ones. Are you doing a job you hate? Which part of the stuff that you’re doing right now in your business do you dislike? Now you might be very tempted to say, oh, I don’t like this part of my business, but it’s necessary. I’ve got to keep it in. At this stage of the business plan, you just want to get clarity. So forget the fact that some things are absolute necessity And just make sure that you’re making a clear list of the things you don’t want in your business.
The next step is To find clarity about what you really want. A great way to do this is this little exercise I love to do with my clients. Imagine that you have no financial problems. You’ve created the business of your dreams. What does your perfect day in your business look like? Here’s an example from one of my clients and this is what she came up with when we did the exercise. It’s just here to inspire you of course, Your ideal day could look completely different, but here’s an example of what you can write down. Here’s what she said. She said, I wake up at around 8 AM to a warm cup of coffee on my bedside cabinet.
Your Perfect Day Exercise
My husband prepares our daughter for school, and off they go. Each scene off with a kiss, they 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 I do a bit of yoga, and at 1 o’clock, I wrap up and get ready to go and pick up my daughter from school. We eat lunch together And I help her with her homework and then pop into my office to catch one last call, which I leave space for due to the time zones Because I want to have discovery calls and clients from all over the world.
When I’m finished, we go for a walk or meet a friend. We may watch the sunset and then eat dinner as a family and hang around reading, watching Netflix, and playing games. Now imagine your ideal working day. What would it look like? How many hours will you work? This might not be very realistic, you might feel, but you need to have an ideal to work towards. Otherwise, it’s going to get out of hand very quickly, and you might be drawn into a direction that you don’t really want to go in. So let’s start with the ideal. Imagine how many working hours you’re gonna work. Imagine how your day can go.
Imagine how you’re gonna break up these hours. What are you gonna do in between? And if it makes sense for you, you can also get into the details of the different things you’re going to do on different days. Once you’re happy with your perfect day plan, the next step is to get your mission and core values clear. For example, I built my coaching business because I wanted freedom. This is an important core value for me. My 2nd core value is family. I wanted more freedom to spend more time with my family, and also to be able to travel, you know, Adventure and add more things like that into my life. I wanted things to be fun.
Business Core Values
So my core values, you could say are family, freedom, adventure, perseverance is definitely another one of my core values, philanthropy, simplicity and peace. Peace is a very big part of it because it really makes a difference to the choices I make in my business. But let’s not go down that rabbit hole right now because what I wanna do right now is sort of talk to you about my mission. So my mission was to to help women build businesses that give them financial independence and freedom. I wanted to make sure that I make enough money, of course, so that I can also have a little bit of overflow so that I can donate to my favourite causes and sort of that’s the philanthropy side. I also wanted to make sure that I have lots of space for travel experiences, Traveling with my husband and my daughter, and also, of course, any other thing that adds Adventure to my life, you know, being able to stay active, you know, spend a lot of time right outdoors. These are all things that really make me love my life. So how do you go about finding your own mission and core values? Your mission is something that is usually close to your heart, and it’s quite easy for people to find out what their mission is.
But if you don’t have 1 right now, it’s perfectly fine. Your mission is probably going to be, at its core, connected to the kind of people you want to help. And as a new coach, maybe you don’t know this yet. If you’ve been coaching for a few years, you’re pretty sure about this. So let me give you a few questions here that you can ask yourself to help you get clarity on the topic. So the first thing you wanna ask yourself is, what is my ideal lifestyle? You wanna start with the lifestyle side because that’s going to dictate what you want in your life. Then you want to make sure that you make a list of what is nonnegotiable for you if you want to be happy. What are the non-negotiables? For instance, one of my non-negotiables, I may have given up on travelling often but spending time with family for me was definitely a non-negotiable.
You also want to think about maybe what causes you would volunteer for if you didn’t need to work. So if you had enough money in the bank and didn’t need to do absolutely anything for work, what courses would you volunteer for? Answering these 3 questions is gonna help you get a bit of an idea of what your core values truly are, what you appreciate, And, you know, ultimately, what you really want your business and your life to be about. Once you’ve got these down, it could be just 3. It could be 5. I mean, in my experience, it’s probably more difficult to have a short list It’s been a long one. It was very easy for me to come up with 6 or 7. To cut them down to 3 felt like a little bit hard, a little bit of a stretch, so I just opted to keep them all. Once you’ve got all of them down, the next step is gonna be to come up with your coaching packages. And this is when it starts getting really real.
The first step is gonna be to define how many you’re going to have. You know, you need to look at the duration, perhaps. Take a look a little bit at your competition. I actually have some very detailed articles about how to define your packages. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail right now, but, basically, what you wanna do, you wanna have 2, maybe 3 packages, ideally not more. And what you’re gonna need to do is you’re gonna need to build these packages in a way that you can, of course, customize them. Coaching is always It can never be just sort of the same off the bat for everybody. We’re all individuals and the coaching process itself begs for customization.
Make sure that you have 2 or 3 packages and that you clearly define the outcomes that they give your clients, and the features. So when I say features, I mean, do you have WhatsApp support? Do you have recorded video calls? What kind of email support do you give? So You want your features. You want your outcomes. You want to make a list of benefits, and you also want to, of course, add the price, Which brings me to my next step. But before we talk about the financials, if you’re not sure about what kind of packages you need to create, Make sure that you have nailed down your niche first. If you’re unsure about your packages, chances are you’re still unsure about who you wanna target, which means you’re still unsure about your niche. I have a great resource for that, and I’m gonna share that in the show notes as well. So if you wanna Check out the show notes.
It’s gonna be at stephaniefiteni.com/podcast, and you will find this podcast, which is the most recent one in that page, or you can just Search the number 62 and it will come up. So moving on to the next step, the financials of your business plan. Now this is, of course, the most difficult part. Especially if you’re new to business, you might struggle to find the right pricing for you. Now it’s difficult for me to go into how you should price your packages in terms of The pricing as in what’s fair, I have plenty, again, plenty of resources about this, and I’m gonna link them to the show notes. But for the sake of today’s exercise, which is our business plan, what we need to do is start off with the amount you want to make. So your goal is to make $100,000 a year. You would want to calculate the number of days you will be working and then calculate the Income you want to make and the expenses you will incur.
I’m gonna go through each step again. Maybe that’s a bit difficult to absorb with all these steps right away. So let’s say you have $100,000. The first thing you need to do is make a list of the number of days you’re gonna be working. So let’s that you wanna work 4 days a week. Let’s say during these 4 days a week, you have maybe 3 hours when you’re coaching, And you have another 6 hours or 5 hours where you are not coaching. So you’re working on other things in your business. So if you get these and you put them in your hourly rate calculator, which I’m going to link in the show notes, it’s going to give you the hourly rate.
So let’s say if your ideal hourly rate based on the calculator tells you that it’s $250, and the reason why you wanna use the calculator It’s because in the calculator, you can also input all your expenses. So if you’re gonna hire a VA, if you’re gonna hire an accountant, Your taxes are also accounted for, also your time off and everything. So use the calculator, go in, find your hourly rate. And let’s say if your hourly rate is $250 an hour, then your 4 session package needs to sell for $1,000. Now just because the calculator says that this is the hourly rate, does not mean that it’s necessarily feasible. You may have put in a very large amount of Revenue, and perhaps it is not doable in a 4 day week. And this may be the case maybe because you’re a beginner and you cannot go charging four $400 an hour, or it could be simply because your market and your competitors do not support these kind of prices. Of course, there’s also high ticket coaching, which is something that is a little bit different.
So if you are in an industry, For instance, executive coaching where you can charge very high ticket, then obviously, that would be a completely different story. But in any case, the coaching rates Calculator is gonna tell you exactly what you can do. So for instance, one thing you might wanna do, let’s say you put in a 100,000 and it’s your 1st year of Coaching, and you got a $250 hourly rate. You feel that maybe $1,000 is a little bit too much, So you’re gonna have to go in and adjust the calculator and maybe also adjust your revenue, maybe making maybe it’s realistic For the 1st year, to just aim for 80,000 or 60,000. So, of course, this is gonna vary In different parts of the world, it’s gonna vary based on who you’re targeting. It’s also gonna vary based on how confident you are at marketing. The first step in getting a realistic idea is your hourly rate. So let’s say let’s take back the rate we mentioned before.
You have $250 an hour. We have a 4 session package which needs to sell for $1,000. Of course, ask yourself if this is doable. So let’s say you would need to sell a 100 packages because there’s 4 hours in each package. So if your billable hours sold, Your coaching hours total 400 a year, then you have with 4 hours per package, you have to sell a 100 packages a year. This means a 100 clients. Or maybe, you know, you might have some repeat clients, but let’s just assume there are a 100 clients per year or approximately 8 clients per month. If your closing rate from your discovery calls is, let’s say, 1 out of every 3, That would be a closing rate of about 33%.
So then you would need to book 8 times calls per month. So that would be 24 discovery calls per month. Is that doable for you? If you know That you have the marketing skills to book 24 discovery calls a month? Then you can be pretty sure that you are going to hit your goal or get close to it. You also know that you’re gonna need about 12 hours per month Or 3 hours per week allocated to discovery calls if your discovery calls are 30 minutes. Of course, you can make them longer in the beginning, but it does help to bring them down to 30 minutes in the long run so that you become more efficient. I do have some information about Discovery calls as well and how to work those. I will add those to the show notes. I have some great resources even for your script.
So check out the show notes, a little bit later. But our next step now is gonna be to do our competitor research because, there is no business plan without competitor research. As a coach, you’re gonna wanna look at what packages Your competitors are offering and, of course, what they’re charging for them if possible. If there is no information on their website, you might want to get A friend to do some secret shopping for you, where they of course get in touch with the coach and inquire about the services. Think also about how you can grow in the long run by moving maybe towards group coaching. If your competitors have a lot of packages or even worse, if you maybe are in the beginning of your business and have a lot of packages, Especially if they’re for different ideal clients, you may want to pump in plan your offers. The Pump in Plan is a great a business book written by Mike Mihaljevic. The idea is that you find out which are your most profitable clients And then just customize your packages for these clients that are most profitable, that love you the most, and that are Really willing to pay you.
If you build your business around your most profitable customers and drop the rest, Your business will automatically become more profitable. So once you are pretty clear about what you’re gonna be Offering in order to hit your financial income, you also want to look at your business resources. Keep in mind that the resources you have in hand are, in reality, the only things that you have in your business. So if If your financial breakdown from the calculator that I mentioned earlier, has predicted that your income is gonna be about $100,000, That might carry in the calculator itself, say, $27,000 in expenses. And this doesn’t mean that, However, you’re gonna have the $247,000 in cash to pay for the expenses when the expenses come in. It’s important that you, as much as possible, try to generate the number of leads that you need at least For the 1st 6 to 12 months from organic means. This means that you wanna grow your business organically using blogging And social media and maybe also, some other video formats like YouTube or maybe adding vlogs to your blogs. Some people also use podcasts.
Time And Resources
But in my experience, podcasts and YouTube, they take a bit longer to pay off. Vlogging tends to have a much Quicker return on investment. Definitely, if you’re starting out, go for that. But it’s very important for you to start generating leads organically because then you’re not Spending a lot of money up front and running out of cash flow. So what you wanna do is you want to get these leads. You wanna get the money in 1st, and then use that money and sort of spend on expenses as you go along and, you know, hire a VA later. Make sure that you do this when you have the cash flow. I do actually have, a great episode you can listen to about this.
It’s called how to start a Coaching Business with the Resources You Have, and it’s episode 50 5 of this podcast, and you can just go and look for Profitable Online Coaching podcast and find episode 55. Or I am actually going to add that to the show notes as well so you can go to stephaniefiteni.com/podcast and look for episode 55. Our next step is, of course, going to be marketing. So there would be no business plan would be complete without a marketing section. It doesn’t have to be a complete and detailed marketing plan, but you do want to at least have a bit of an understanding on how your marketing is going to work. So you want to know, from the calculator that we had before, you wanna know the list of packages that you’re gonna sell. You wanna know how much you’re gonna sell them from, and you wanna have a goal for the number of leads that you want for each package. So let’s say if you have a package of €10,000, which Choose for a year of support.
You may wanna sell 1 or 2 of those in a year. You have a package, maybe a 6-week package. You’re, of course, gonna sell a lot more than All those. So you may wanna sell, say, 6 per month. And if you have a 3-month package, maybe you want to aim at selling 2 of those per month. Of course, these Figures are not at the stage absolutely realistic, but, of course, you will do your math and you will make sure that they are real figures you can work with. You also need to have a plan on how to generate those leads. So you need to actually have a good idea of the time that you have for your marketing, And then make sure that you can use that time to generate the exact number of leads that you need.
So you’re gonna start off perhaps with blogging, social media, videos, you You know, if you’re gonna throw in maybe some TikTok, I always recommend going from, for 1 social media platform, your website, which is Out the blogging, get those going regularly, get your leads coming in, and then build on those. Don’t go for 10 different platforms at once because You’re going to end up wasting a lot of time and not seeing any traction on all of them. So try to put as much energy as possible on as Few channels as possible in the beginning so that you see traction more quickly. The best way to do that is to have your high-quality authoritative content On your blog and then repurpose that for social media, if you have a bit of extra time, add a little bit of video. That’s a great way to art. Of course, then once you see the leads coming in, if you don’t, you can need to adjust. If you do see the leads coming in, then, of course, you build on that. But I have a lot of content About that, I’m not gonna go down that rabbit hole today because the next step needs to be to have a clear picture regarding exactly what needs To be measured to understand your progress.
Marketing for Coaches
And this is absolutely key. It’s key for your marketing, and it’s key for every other part of your business. You want to keep track of how many leads you’re getting, from which platforms, or from which sources these leads are coming from, how many of these leads you’re closing. Maybe you could measure also which leads are closing more easily. So for instance, usually, we would see that leads that come from SEO, are more purchase ready, so they close more quickly. So you want to sort of measure the closing rate for the people you’re speaking to for so for the discovery calls from the different platforms because you wanna find out which platform is giving you more leads that close more quickly, so which platform is actually giving you more real, tangible money in your hands, and then you wanna focus all your efforts On that particular platform and grow from there. Another thing, however, is because I did say that you wanna measure as much as possible, but You also don’t want to measure things that you don’t intend to action because that can be a waste of time and a waste of money. So make sure that you only Track data that you intend to action.
For instance, if you’re working on traffic and blogging as your main source of leads. You may not really care too much about how many followers you have on social media. So don’t stay tracking and reporting on your social media followers Because that is just an extension, maybe a way of sharing and disseminating your, your content, your blogs, your videos, whatever. So if that is not a core part of your strategy that you’re going to put more time in if you feel it’s not performing, then don’t measure it. Then once you come to a stage in your business where you say, okay. Now I really wanna focus on getting more followers on social media. That is when you start measuring and reporting every month and every Water on those particular numbers. And, the reason why I’m mentioning this is because it’s a little bit of a word of warning because what tends to happen is That we like to see a lot of data.
People love numbers. You know? We like to see the numbers growing. But what this can do is It can either disappoint you if the numbers are going down or maybe they’re not going up fast enough. So, you know, if there’s a number that is not important to the bottom line, to the profitability of your business, do not add it because it might either pull you away in a direction where you end up working on numbers that don’t really matter, so you’re spending time increasing numbers that are not going to increase your profitability. Or you could end up in a position where you kind of demotivate yourself because you’re not seeing the numbers do well enough. But if these numbers don’t matter and they don’t actually put money in your pocket, they actually should not be there because, you know, they’re just motivating you for nothing. So keep an eye out for those. And finally, the last section of your business plan, you wanna make sure that you have a simple section in your business plan that has your goals, that are clearly set and simplified.
You also then want to make sure that you give your goals timelines. Because from these timelines, you’re going to then work backwards and create your projects. Every strategy that’s gonna be executed, like, say, you’re Vlogging. Maybe you’re going to create a freebie. Maybe you’re going to add a new section to your website. Everything you’re going to do is going to become a project. Every project needs a start date and an end date. Every project needs a goal so that we can measure how profitable bill it is.
So create a little table, keep it simple, and make sure that you take a look every now and then at the number of hours that you have available that year because what tends to happen is that we overestimate what we can get done in a week. We overestimate what we can get done in a month, but we grossly underestimate what can be done in a year. So if you put a the number of hours On each project, once you’ve broken it down, then you have a much higher chance of perhaps understanding how many projects you’re gonna manage that year. Another thing you wanna keep in mind is the lifestyle that you chose. Because if, like me, for instance, you take 2 weeks off in August And you slow down a lot in the summer. You don’t work much because, obviously, like I said, one of my core values is family, so I like to have the Flexibility to spend a lot of time with my family in the summer. Maybe certain projects are not really doable during that time of Yeah. So keep in mind how your routine and how your time availability changes throughout the year, and make sure that your workload and your deadlines are Realistic.
Once you have all of this in place, you’re going to have 1 great coaching business plan in hand. Of course, then the next step is gonna be to review it for anything. You may wanna add detail. You might wanna remove details. Maybe you put in some too much detail in some places. And you wanna make sure that you format it in a way that is actionable. For instance, I like to break down my business plan into quarterly projects So that I can very clearly see what projects I’m working on every 3 months, and it works swimmingly for me. Of course, everybody’s different.
Some people love detail. Some people love the bigger picture, so make sure that you create a plan that is tailored to how you prefer to work. Once again, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for listening. If you would like help with your coaching business plan, I am here to help. Make Sure you go and book yourself a free discovery call at stephanie fitteni.com/call. And we can talk about your situation and what’s the best way forward for you.
Thank you very much for listening. To get in touch, go to stephaniefiteni.com/call.
About the Show
In the Profitable Online Coaching podcast, Stephanie and her expert guests answer the most common online coaching and coach marketing questions to help you unravel the facts and take the right next step for your coaching business.
On solo episodes and with guests, she talks about popular topics such as marketing for coaches, blogging, digital marketing strategies, pricing, mindset, and how coaches build successful businesses.
Stephanie is an experienced SEO Content Marketing Strategist as well as a Marketing Coach for Coaches. She talks about online marketing strategies, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), marketing tools, books, and much more.
She learned programming as a fresh graduate and has worked as a trainer, programmer, and web consultant for over 15 years before becoming an online coach. For the last 6 years, she has offered 1:1 coaching and Online Programmes designed for coaches, therapists, and online service providers. She also offers Content strategy sessions and SEO Content Consultancy services to 6, 7 & 8 figure coaches. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stephaniefiteni.com