Essential Elements of a Business Plan for a Life Coach

A business plan for a life coach is more of a process than a document. It is akin to a garden: planning is required to start, certain steps are required and constant management and pruning must occur to produce a successful venture.

Essential Elements of a Business Plan for a Life Coach

This article addresses the basic steps as well as the business plan structure and management steps that are required for success.

The Basic Concept of a Business Plan for a Life Coach

The basic concept of a business plan for a life coach is simple:

· A life coach senses a market opportunity.
· To capitalize on this opportunity the coach establishes a business entity.
· The coach has a vision of the company for the future that foresees a healthy, growing, profitable company.
· To reach that future vision, a roadmap is required so the coach can determine progress to achieve the ultimate goal.

One benefit of a business plan is the control function that serves to measure progress against the plan.

The critical feature of any plan is not its complexity but its application. A business plan for a life coach should be the life coach’s bible and should be read and consulted frequently to determine the mid-course adjustments that are always required in the life span of the business.

TIP: Believe that your business plan is your guide to success. The completion of your plan is only the start of the business. Your business plan will act as the guide to success and will constantly change as conditions require. It will never be complete but will always be useful.

Simplicity

Business planning is a universal discipline and there are as many business plans as there are companies. Business plans can vary from simple to overly complex. A classic example of a business plan that was initially simple is the story of Compaq Computer, a multi-billion dollar computer manufacturer that was launched based on a business plan scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin.

Many companies, however, focus on the trees of the planning process and sometimes overlook the forest of building a business. Often, the business plan becomes one more document for the corporate bookshelf or ends up in some drawer and is not used as it should.

Most effective business planners add only details that are informative and productive but do not distract the business owner and the management team from the core ideas of the plan. Since each plan is a guideline for the coach to grow his or her business, changes can be made as often as required by business conditions. Therefore, excessive detail may become irrelevant in the light of new conditions.

TIP: Start with a bare-bones business plan that can be expanded or enhanced as conditions warrant.

Realism vs. Optimism in the Business Plan

Apart from serving as a roadmap for life coaches, another function of a business plan is to create interest among investors or potential business partners. In achieving this goal, business owners are often challenged by determining the proper level of optimism in their plan. That is, they must create a compelling story to investors or potential partners while maintaining credibility.

Optimism shows investors or potential partners that your life coaching company is confident about the market opportunity, its ability to execute on the opportunity, etc. Over-optimism, however, leads them to believe that the management team does not fully understand the opportunity or the tough road ahead. As such, life coaching business plans must limit over-optimism and show investors or potential partners they are realistic and credible.

Realism, the opposite of over-optimism, should be used in life coaching business plans to portray sobriety and credibility to investors or potential partners. Realism should manifest itself in management team bios that tell the actual accomplishments of managers and coaches, rather than fluff. It should manifest itself in realistic market forecasts and sober assumptions of the business’s growth.

While business plans must excite investors or potential partners so they take action, if they are too optimistic, investors or potential partners will discount their merit. Conversely, if they are too sober, investors or potential partners may not feel they will get an adequate return on their investment.

As such, life coaching business plans should present a compelling, optimistic picture, but continuously refer to hard facts and realistic assumptions to build credibility and genuine excitement.

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Jeannie Cotter
Editor/Writer
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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