… and How To Fix It
What is the most common problem that coaches of all fields face online? Many answer something like this: “It’s working to your max, but, at the end of the day, finding yourself no nearer to having more clients, better clients, or passive income.
For example: You know that you absolutely need to ‘build a responsive email list’ but still you have fewer than 100 people on that list.
You’ve purchased software for creating landing pages, but you’ve accessed it only twice in the last year. It hasn’t given you an adequate return on your investment-but in the end, you know it may not be the software—
It’s probably, somehow, you.
Somewhere, on some level, you feel like you’re just spinning your wheels. You may not be curled up in a little ball or seeking therapy for low self-esteem issues, but it niggles away at the back of your mind.
Or, it keeps you working twice as many hours as you want to work, giving up time you’d rather spend with family, hobbies, or your favorite charity. Maybe your health begins to suffer, and, before you know it, your business is more stress than satisfaction. And it’s certainly not meeting your financial goals.
This phenomenon is common. And it’s worse if you do have an idea of what you’re doing wrong, but no matter how much you resolve to crack down on yourself and get your email list built up, or determine that you’re going to create those landing pages, the days wear on and you just can’t seem to find the time to do it. You still find yourself scrambling to do the essentials.
So how do you get unstuck? First, it helps if you understand the most common reason for getting stuck in the first place:
Your Business Vision is incomplete.
We could say this: – ‘You Don’t Have a Business Plan’, but that doesn’t go far nearly far enough. You’ve heard that phrase before. You’ve tried to make a plan, and you got stuck.
That’s because this particular problem encompasses so much more than a simple ‘you need a business plan’. Say that to the average entrepreneur and immediately a dreary weight accompanies that sentence. The instinct is to say, “Yes, I do. Must get onto that”.
So, creating a business plan gets put to the back burner, because it’s boring and/or overwhelming.
Naturally, if you’re not excited about your business plan, you will tend to escape from even thinking about it.
But how do you create an effective plan when you’re not even sure of all the tasks you’ll have to do, or what you can expect in terms of timeline and monetary investment?
How do you get to the other shore where you have passive income and a highly responsive email list, when you’re still dipping your toes in and setting up vital parts of your business?
How do you get excited about something as thrilling as preparing a tax return is to the non-accountant?
If you feel like this, you’re making the common mistake of assuming that creating a business plan is all about admin. It’s not. The good news is that looking at business plan creation as a purely dry, admin exercise is seeing only half the picture.
There are actually two components that need equal attention right from the start.
Creating a business plan is about details and systems, yes: But-equally important-it’s also about your business vision and goal.
Don’t underestimate vision. It’s the engine that can drive people-on a minimum of fuel-to the far side of the Universe. It’s sparked with creativity, inspired by your mission, fueled by your goals, and the passion dreams and goals generate.
If you don’t have a vision for your business, it’s no wonder that creating a business plan seems overwhelming or dreary. You’re trying to create a plan for something you haven’t yet uncovered, or even identified.
Here are 4 ways you can get clarity for your business vision:
1) Find Your Reason
Go through the following checkpoints to properly identify your business vision and goals. Start by determining your reason for wanting to create or expand your business.
Which reason sounds most like you?
(Note that none of these responses are ‘wrong’, but they do affect how you should approach your business planning.)
If A: You need urgently to generate income but you’d really rather devote all your time to volunteering at your favorite non-profit (or even if you’d rather just sit home and crochet all day), then you will want to look for a plan that has:
- A foolproof set-up
- Passive or recurring income
- Easy maintenance
Having these will be your primary focus, so you’ll want to look for models that do not involve live interaction. (Or that involve minimal live interaction.)
If B: You’re really happy with coaching, but you want to serve more people, your plan will focus on adding passive or recurring income to augment your existing business. You’ll want to look for products or programs that are evergreen, so that people can jump in or out at any time, but you’ll also want interaction and community building.
If C: You want to be a famous celebrity, your business plan will focus more on:
- Your Visibility
- Your running with the right crowd
- Public speaking
- A high-end, signature program and book
- Branding yourself
You can also expect to invest significantly more capital into this goal than someone who just wants to add a book version of their coaching, a purchase-on-demand webinar, or a simple course.
If D: You are excited about something you know or do that can help specific people who really need that help, and no one else is offering it in the way you can, then you’re greatly to be envied, because you are in the sweetest spot of all.
Your passion and excitement will propel you forward like an express train. But even you too can get bogged down in practical details, as I bet you’ve already found out.
So, before you sit down to plan your business, make sure you know:
- Your mission: Why you are doing this
- What you want to achieve
- Whether you are planning a complete business model, or just a sideline
Here’s another element that will help you clarify your business vision and objective: Write a Mission Statement.
2) Mission Statement
Mission statements can be worded any way you like them, and be as long or as short as you want.They are your own unique words, about the business goals and aspirations.
One of the best ways to write an effective mission statement, however, is to make sure you focus on who you want to help.
Looking for examples of mission statements on the net is an easy way to get your creative juices flowing … but you’ll notice that some companies (particularly corporations) don’t seem to know what a mission statement should be.
Their statements are long and full of rhetoric and buzzwords. They may sound wonderful, but if someone asks what the company’s all about, the average person would be hard-pressed to come up with a brief description of the company’s goal.
That’s because they are writing their mission statements to impress shareholders and investors.
If you’re submitting your business plan to a bank or a board of directors, prior to securing major capital, those are the examples to heed. But if you just want to increase your income in a more organic way, or you are eager to help more people in your niche, keep your statement short and succinct, and use it to tell the right people how you can help them.
Here’s a good, basic template:
[Company/you] is a __________________who/that helps _________________ to______________________________ and_____________________________
That’s the very first statement on her ‘About’ page. It’s not marked “mission statement”, but that is nevertheless what it actually is.
A good mission statement performs two functions:
- It hooks the right people instantly by identifying them and what they need
- It invites them to hear your story
Great mission statements also state, or imply, your values (what you stand for).
Your story is the demonstration of why you do what you do-your burning reason for wanting to help. You can write it in the first person for a more personal connection, or in the third person (whichever suits your business, goal, and audience the best).
Your story can be as long, or as short, as you want it to be. It can be as short as “determined that no one else should struggle to fill out forms while clinically depressed, Sandra created the ‘Easy Form Finder’ software for people with special needs.”
Or your story can be as long as the deeply personal story shared by TimeFreedomBusiness.com’s Melissa Ingold.
If affiliates, employees or contractors are going to be a part of your marketing plan, be sure to include a promise to them (how they are going to be treated).
Let’s summarize the elements of a powerful mission statement and story:
- Who you are
- Who you want to help
- Your “WHY”
- Your values
- Your promise
We’ve gone into some depth on your motivations and mission, but it’s important to realize that without being crystal clear on these elements-your reasons for creating your business, and just how far you want to take it-you can’t make an effective business plan.
4) Break it down
If you have a ‘big’ goal, break it down into small bites. Aim for milestones (rather than “making fifteen million overnight”), and set deadlines for each one.
If you have a ‘small’ goal, then keep it simple. Create systems, products and programs that leave you as much free time as possible.
And, no matter whether your main business goal is small or large, you should remember to you leave yourself time for:
- Doing what you love most, and find easiest
- Doing what directly makes you money
Finally, you need to be sure that you know exactly what is involved in running an online business. This may not apply to you, but, if you didn’t major in business at a college level, making sure you’ve covered essential business basics is especially important.
If you do find yourself in a fog about what essentials are necessary, you might want to check out the following resources that will help you decide where there may be gaps in your knowledge, and what you need to do about them.
If you live in the US, start by visiting this free government site. It details all the basics of running a small business. This is where you can go to learn stuff like what’s the best legal structure for your business (i.e. LLC, INC, Sole Proprietor or something else altogether?)
Here you can register for state and local taxes, obtain business licenses and permits, get business assistance and training, learn about local assistance and employer responsibilities, and much more.
Quickly educate yourself here on business nitty-gritties that apply to your business model-and what you need to do about any ‘gaps’.
LivePlan bills itself as ‘online business planning software’, but it is so much more. All you need to do is scroll down the home page to get a clear overview of exactly how it can help you. And you can bet that any website that can organize its home page that helpfully and succinctly is going to deliver on its promise.
LivePlan helps you not only generate all sorts of business plans, just by answering questions in the interactive template wizards, but also lets you brainstorm different business types. It provides training and resources people would happily pay top dollar for. But it’s very affordable.
You can track day-to-day performance, create specific plans for banks or other investors, run projections, compare your business to your competition, find templates for any type of business, create and track your milestones, and much more.
If you’d like to learn how to manage your business more effectively, in the IAPLC Gold membership you’ll have access to our “Business Management Bootcamp: The Business Management Course For Every Entrepreneur.” The four in-depth modules will help you build a rock-solid foundation, create repeatable, scalable systems, and make some critical mindset adjustments, so you can step away from the overwhelm and into your business owner role.
This course is just one of 7 courses included in our “Coaching Business Training Vault” where we walk you from the first steps of putting together your business, all the way to being able to market it. It’s like a high-ticket month-by-month playbook of everything that you need to do, in order to start your business, grow your business, and scale your business—all in a membership that’s only $47 a month.
Join us here: https://iaplifecoaches.org/membership