Are you starting out as a coach? Do you ever get the feeling that something always seems to go wrong even before you formally launch your business?You know that what you offer is valuable enough, but why does it seem so painstakingly difficult to get your business going? You are not alone.

More than 92% of entrepreneurs fail to achieve their long term goals. Yes, you read right. A whopping 92%! That’s what Harvard MBA Business School found in a study on goal-setting (Source). And with coaching businesses, this is a hard truth. And it has something to do with bittersweet passion. It is what fuels coaches, and on the other side of the spectrum, it’s also what pushes one to be stubborn and ultimately risk burnout. Whatever the passion, whether health, finance, spirituality, and anything at all, you need to focus on the right things to ensure a successful coaching business.

Based on over a decade’s worth of study, that we at .Coach have conducted with what is now more than a thousand coaches worldwide, we give you 2 simple steps to succeed as a coaching business:

Step 1: You must differentiate yourself

Being different does not mean differentiated. Differentiating your brand involves developing a product nobody else has really thought about creating, which serves a problem and a population completely neglected by everybody else. Whilst to be different is simply doing things differently from the competition, not taking into consideration customer value.

Currently, there is an estimated 105 registered brands of cola (Source) flavored beverages in the world, yet most people would only be able to name two: Coca-Cola and Pepsi. These two brands stand out from the rest because they have successfully differentiated themselves.

The same misconceptions come up time and time again in differentiating coaching brands. Most coaches fall into the delusion that because you are different, it means you are differentiated. A vomit-inducing ice cream is different, not differentiated. Differentiation comes through the development of distinct competitive advantages. 

These differentiating factors come from work in the following two areas:

1. Influencer Marketing (IM)

Current marketing strategies employ Influencer Marketing (IM), to set them apart from the competition. So what is IM?

Think of someone whom your ideal client looks up to, could be a famous celebrity, for example. Then contact them, get them to try out your product, have them fall in love with it, and they will share it to the world. If this celebrity can influence customer behavior towards his endorsement, then he is an influencer. And you know how in this digital age, when an Influencer shares something, the world listens, hence word gets around really fast. This is IM.

About two weeks ago, we were working with a client who has an executive coaching practice, the details of which we cannot divulge due to confidentiality reasons. To go about and leverage his marketing efforts and literally ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ we conducted some preliminary analysis on his market. The results showed that the majority of his clients played golf as a hobby. Further research found a number of local ‘hubs’ surrounding major cities where they gathered predictably every time they flew in for work. Most of these golf courses were owned by the same private owner. After attending one workshop from our client, the course owner’s eyes grew in excitement. He knew the executives that frequented his courses would love it. Long story short, just a few days after our client had mailed out, he had a filled practice. The cherry on top is that it cost him nothing but just careful and thoughtful execution. Now, so long as our client consistently delivers a stunning product (taken care of by CBA), he will achieve a sustained, predictable client flow from membership turnover year after year, without having to lift a finger. This is the power of IM. At this point, if you are interested in watching our free webinar on this, please register here for free. 

2. Consumer Behavior Analysis (CBA)

Sylvan Goldman amassed a fortune of over $200 million by simply observing clients at his Oklahoma supermarket chain. He found out that people bought more products when he assisted to carry with them. Hence, the first shopping cart was born. It wasn’t an instant success at all: men felt it was effeminate and women were distraught because it reminded them so much of baby strollers. Thanks to the help of many, Sylvan tweaked the shopping cart’s design until it took off internationally. Even today the experience of shopping is so closely linked to it that it has survived digitization and is present in every online store.

Carefully observing what your customers like, dislike, prefer, object, hate, relate or disengage from, pays off. This means following their steps for a day to realize the myriad problems they encounter and what solutions you can propose to simplify their experience. 

CBA takes away all the guesswork of entrepreneurship.

Step 2: Be careful with certifications

Most coaches think that the certifications work, and this is another delusion. Certifications are a double-edged sword. They give you the tools and knowledge to coach better, faster and with more confidence. But if you rely on that piece of paper hanging on your wall to get you clients, you have a problem. 

In a consumer awareness study done by the ICF (International Coaching Federation), 91.2% of coaching clients worldwide (including businesses) don’t take coaching certifications into account when deciding on a coaching hire.

Just think, if you were lying in bed with a terrible illness, would you rather choose the doctor who has the best track record in curing that illness or the one with most certificates on their wall?

Do you know if Tony Robbins has any certifications? The truth is he doesn’t. But look at how successful his coaching practice is.

There are countless more examples of coaches out there who have achieved the unthinkable without having to hang any certificates on their walls. Fact is, to the vast majority of clients, a certification means only an abbreviation, a name, and not much more.

In summary

So how were we able to build a 7-figure coaching business without any external investment, and at the same time avoid the burnout many coaches experience to this day? We treat coaching as a business.

There are many people purporting to have the ‘secret’ to building sustainable businesses online. We instead subscribe to equipping you with the right tools and teams to make it happen for you.