Well, you’ve no doubt heard the cliché dozens of times… if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.

This cliché has stuck around for so long because it’s true!

It’s simply staggering the number of business owners that don’t plan. It’s not limited to coaches, it’s prolific throughout small business, and possibly most prominent in service (as opposed to product) orientated business.

It may be that business owners: don’t know how to plan; don’t place a high priority on it and hence apply their time elsewhere; or they just don’t see value in it.

Whatever the reason, the number of business owners that actually do plan is extraordinarily low. Maybe that’s a contributing factor to the reason so many businesses fail.

As a coach it’s imperative that you recognise and respect that you’re operating a business, and plan accordingly. And we’re not talking about ad-hoc planning. We’re talking about thorough, considered and consultative planning. Below are a couple of pointers to assist you with this process.

Goals and Objectives: In all effective planning it’s paramount to incorporate what results you expect from your efforts. These objectives will assist to motivate you and keep you focused on implementing you’re the operational aspects of your business.

You should clearly and quantifiably articulate in this section of your business plan all of your goals and objectives.

For example:

  • I will become the recognizable niche specialist in the XYZ Coaching field by 200X;
  • I will make $100,000 turnover during 2006/2007;
  • My margins will be X%;
  • Profitability will be Y%;
  • I will derive my income by the following product/service mix:
    • 15% 1 to 1 coaching.
    • 15% Affiliate relationships.
    • 30% products.
    • 30% seminars and workshops;
    • 10% recurring revenue coaching clubs and ancillary services.
  • I will obtain a market share of Z;
  • I will spend 15% of sales on advertising/promotional activities;
  • I will work ON my business 1 day per week;
  • I will allow myself 2-days per week purely to myself and my family.

It may be useful to divide objectives into those that are a must and those that are desirable.

SWOT Analysis: All planning requires an honest assessment of yourself. To do this, most business plans incorporate a SWOT analysis.

SWOT is short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Doing an analysis of these will help you define areas that you can promote as strengths, areas that need to be worked on and opportunities that may be identified to market new customers or products/services.

Under each heading put in point form your honest comments regarding yourself, your business and the market in which it will participate.

For example:

My Strengths:
- Excellence industry knowledge and contacts within my target niche.
- An existing database of clients to package my coaching services to.

My Weaknesses:
- Little marketing experience.
- Not technology savvy.
- Limited capital start-up funds.

My Opportunities:
- Existing contacts and database of potential clients.
- Niche market becoming increasing aware of coaching benefits.

My Threats:
- Several strongly branded competitors in market.
- Education of coaching benefits required to niche.