The reason why you became a coach may be altruistic, your skills and desire to help others create positive outcomes in their lives the driving force behind your decision. But once you have taken the plunge and chosen to become a professional coach, the practicalities of earning a comfortable livelihood do take front seat. Career ambitions to start your own coaching business is the next logical step, where you spend a lot of time, energy and money to get your business up and running.
Humans by nature are inquisitive, always keen to explore new avenues and opportunities. Naturally, once the venture is set up, as an owner you will look to various means on how to scale a coaching business and expand beyond the current parameters.
As with any expansions you will have to navigate the ever-present challenges – different requirements for different clients, lack of established coaching methods, trouble attracting enough clients or converting prospective customers into actual paying clients, inability to cater to a greater number of clients, and more.
What you need to have in place is an organized, systematic process that can be repeated to reach a higher volume of clients and subsequently generate higher profits for your coaching business. Read on to find effective ways to scale coaching business in 2022.
Define your coaching model
Having a definitive coaching model that is well planned and with feasible action steps that can be actually executed is the main initiator when you are looking to scale up your coaching business. Having a concrete strategy on paper, in front of your eyes, works far better than a vague clutter of ideas in your head.
Once you have a grasp of your own coaching model – the type of coaching that is scalable (corporate coaching, group coaching, hybrid coaching or online coaching), the services you are going to sell, the pricing strategies, delivery management, and more – it not only becomes easier for you to move up but is also beneficial when explaining your coaching process to your prospective clients.
Have an integrated system for client onboarding
One of the most essential tools to have while scaling your coaching business is to have a fully integrated system for client onboarding. In other words, an automated coaching management software that offers multiple features (admin, client & business management, content management, sales & marketing, pricing options, etc.) under a single platform.
From initial contact to actual client sign up, the software should cover all the key elements such as introduction to your business and its philosophy, service offerings, overview of owner credentials, past client testimonials, and also offer ease of usability for the client. This will ensure that your clients get the best experience and quality service, thus helping boost your coaching brand. Leveraging technology can be really helpful in scaling your coaching business.
Put together a support team
When you were a single person operation, it was possible to handle the various tasks of your coaching venture by yourself. Now that you have moved up to being a coaching business and looking to further scale it, one of the most important long-term investments that you will make is to build a team of support professionals who will assist you with the daily running of your business.
Having dedicated personnel for administrative work, accounting & finances, and sales & marketing will reduce your burden and free up your time and resources to concentrate on the core aspect of your business that is offering a superior quality, customized experience to your clients. Another benefit of having experts handle their areas of know how is that they can provide valuable feedback and insights that can help you refine your coaching model, take informed business decisions, and offer better and quality service to clients.
Create relevant content
A coaching program is effective when all the stakeholders are equally invested in its outcome. A client will be fully onboard only when they trust the coach and the program. One way of establishing that trust is to create content that conveys what your coaching services will offer and the outcomes that they will deliver for the client. For example, having past client testimonials, your own work experiences, or success stories on how you were able to deliver transformative outcomes to a client will have far greater impact on the prospective clients than a run-of-the-mill sales pitches.
The content that you create should focus on your coaching process which will help educate the client and also create a positive image of your coaching business brand in their minds, increasing the chances of them converting from prospective to actual clients. Add links to articles that you have written, lists of recommended books, informative pdfs, affiliate informative material, and more to further engage with your customers.
Focus on scaling your existing programs
Many coaches often make the mistake of thinking that having a plethora of coaching programs and packages will mean higher number of clients. But that is a misconception as a higher number of programs also means one needs to also have the ability to support them which can take out a lot of valuable time and energy, leaving one stretched thin.
Instead of obsessing over launching new offers continuously, focusing on scaling your existing offers will reap better results. For instance, when your client completes their entry level coaching program, scale that program where you offer the client an option to opt for a higher end support that gives higher returns. Or create a high-end group coaching program or an online course that has repeat sales value with built-in support features, online study material, and more.
Use a solid sales funnel
Having an effective sales funnel that will drive traffic to your coaching business, get you leads, and then turn those leads into real clients is vital to any business expansion. After all, the client is the very backbone of any successful venture.
Having a systematic sales funnel – zeroing in on your target audience base, getting a handle on their requirements, offering services that align with their requirements, presenting a competitive analysis that shows not just your USP but also areas where you can deliver superior services in comparison to your closest competitors, maintaining a sustained engagement with prospective clients, and then finally closing on the deal in terms of actual client onboarding – is what will drive increased volumes of clients to your coaching business.
Additional effective sales strategies include offering an initial free discovery session to let clients get an idea of your coaching style and if they’re a good match for them. The other way is to announce new launches regularly to remain top of mind. But this can be a tricky one to navigate unless you actually have new features to offer; just packaging old wine in a new bottle can get tedious quickly and actually be a turn off for clients.
Leverage online mediums to connect with your clients
You already have a solid sale funnel in place, so another strategy that will augment that sales pitch is smart use of online mediums to boost visibility. Online presence, use of social media, affiliate marketing channels is a necessity of our times. Without a sound online marketing strategy, it will be a struggle to truly expand your business reach.
Of course, just having the internet audience at your disposal doesn’t mean that millions are going to be interested in your offerings. There are several other similar businesses who are pitching themselves to a similar audience pool such as yours. So, a dedicated but smart targeting is important for the online advertising to work. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram are some of the famous networking sites where you can plan your brand advertising and marketing to target specific clients (based on their profession, age, financial position and paying ability, gender, etc.) whose requirements align with your coaching services. Much of the success of online mediums rests on your ability to assign a budget.
Build a strong brand
The real success of a business lies in instant brand recall. If the clients equate your business automatically with quality service offerings, then you have truly arrived on the scene. This brand building is not instant, it takes a lot of time and dedicated effort, professional ethics and transparency, real feedback from customers to make a solid name for yourself in the coaching business, and more.
But the rewards of investing in building a recognizable brand in the market are incredible. The positive word of mouth publicity results in more client interest, enhances customer loyalty, boosts your credibility as a top-class coaching business, gives you that vital edge over the competition, lets you prepare long term expansion plans with added features and benefits to clients, and much more.
Set boundaries on client interaction
Yes, the client is the king in the business world and without them your coaching business will not survive, let alone succeed. But that also doesn’t mean that you need to at the beck and call of each client 24×7!
Unless you have certain limits on professional interactions (number of phone calls, emails, video conferencing, etc.) outside of coaching sessions, you will be spreading yourself very thin attending to each and every overanxious client.
There is a reason why schedules are in place – they let you work efficiently and to the best of your ability by providing quality service. These attributes are going to have a long-term impact on your business, so focus on giving your best to the clients but within limits.
Don’t under-price your services
As a newbie coach it is obvious that you will charge lesser than the usual market rates as well as competitors in an effort to establish yourself. But once you have experience and a fair amount of success stories under your belt, you have earned your remuneration.
Under-pricing is not a sustainable option for long-term business goals and it also gives the perception (maybe wrongly so) that low-priced services are of lesser quality.
Being generous with your skills, knowledge, time and resources at a lower price point is fine for a while, but it is necessary and practical to be realistic about what actual market rates are and how they align with your expertise and experience. Based on the success of previous results, don’t hesitate to charge a good rate. This allows you to recover your costs and also turn in a profit for your coaching business. Most coaching businesses will hike their rates once they get a strong hold in the market, have substantial brand recall, and enough experience.
Scaling your coaching business is a long and steady course of action that requires not just concentrated effort but also patience for the efforts to bear fruit. Rushing the process won’t result in a long line of clients and instant uptick in revenues. Instead, invest in your own development (attend workshops, seminars, courses, etc.), show your clients that you are committed to delivering to the best of your ability, and are prepared to work hard for the long haul.
By following these tips to scale coaching business, you can chart out a successful path for your business as well as positively impact your clients’ lives.
1. How do I start a scalable coaching business?
Starting a coaching business, in fact any business, is not an easy initiative. You need to stick to your path despite having setbacks. If you wish to start a scalable coaching business you need to select the right coaching model (group, corporate, hybrid, online etc.), highlight your unique offerings or specialization (for example you may have expertise in coaching small businesses succeed or in mergers & acquisitions), have a dedicated schedule for effective time management, use an automated coaching management software, have attractive and multiple pricing options, a top notch sales & marketing strategy, create a strong brand, and set & monitor short-term goals so that you stay on track for achieving your long-term objectives.