Lesson #4: How to Get a Full Roster of Clients and Stay There
Welcome to the final lesson in my four-part series on growing a six-figure business. If you’ve enjoyed the advice so far, I highly recommend joining Deliberate Growth when we open on Tuesday. Deliberate Growth draws from the ideas I’ve written about and bundles them into a comprehensive six-month program to help coaches consistently grow their revenue.
In case you missed anything, here are the other three lessons:
Now, to tie everything together, let’s get into the last lesson in the series.
A lesson from long ago
So far we’ve talked about deliberate practice, marketing skill development and how to generate short-term client leads. Now we’re going to shift our attention to long-term growth.
Nearly 15 years ago, I got a sobering lesson about business when I went through CTI’s certification program.
Every other week we had to report on how many clients we had and how much revenue we had generated. I remember reading out my numbers in a barely audible voice. My numbers were low, much lower than I wanted. I had six clients and they weren’t paying me a whole lot of money. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
At about the two-month mark, for the first time in my short coaching career, I read out my numbers, and - I can still feel the knot in my stomach - they went down. I lost my first client.
I was so fixated on getting 20 clients that it never occurred to me that they wouldn’t continue working with me forever. I assumed that if I just got 20 clients, I’d have 20 clients forever and life would be grand.
Now, over a decade later and the added experience of operating Noomii, I know what it means to build a business and that’s the focus of today’s lesson.
What does it mean to run a business
Months ago, I asked Sifu Karl Romain (our partner in delivering Deliberate Growth) what he thought was the biggest challenge in the coaching industry. He answered the question in two parts. First he said that too many coaches don’t make enough money to stay in business doing what they love. Eventually, they run out of steam and quit. That’s really sad for us.
Next, he said that other coaches get stuck at a certain financial level. They get to $2k per month or $3.5k per month or even $8k per month and then they can’t get any higher.
Our solution is to offer coaches a system and a process to follow, one that ensures consistent action, steady growth and long-term viability. It means running your coaching practice like a business so you can get a full roster of clients.
Here’s what we think it means to run a business:
It means having differentiated roles
Could you imagine working for McDonald’s but instead of being the “fry guy,” you were asked to take orders, manage the supplies coming in the back door, cook the food, deliver the food to the customers and then, at the end of the day, run the financial statements. No, of course not.
Companies don’t do that because they have clearly defined roles. For starters, there are those who sell the product or service, and then those who deliver it. If you are a coach running your own business, you need to first recognize that doing the coaching is different from selling it. Then, you need to allocate time for both of those roles to happen.
It means having a plan, even if it changes
Every company needs to have a plan, both short and long term. We’re not talking about a stuffy 30-page business plan produced by an overpaid consultant. We’re talking about a simple plan that works for you. Something that is easy to create and even easier to adjust as you implement and learn.
It means knowing your numbers
Imagine if Warren Buffett invested in your company and when he asked about your numbers and you said hesitatingly “I think I have 10 clients, err, maybe it’s only nine now, and I made, uhm, something like $4,000 last month.” That’s not good enough. You need to know your numbers, or at least have a system for collecting those numbers on a regular basis, so you can be accountable (yeah, that’s the next point).
It means being accountable
When you’re working for yourself, what happens if you don’t quite hit your targets? In the case of most corporations, they have a vertical chain of comment. At the top are the shareholders who appoint a board of directors, the board of directors advises the president who is then responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business.
Of course, most coaches are operating one-person businesses where the president, board and shareholders are all the same person and that’s why accountability often falls apart.
We’re here to change that.
Even if the group coaching program is not the solution for you, we invite you to start thinking more like a business. Try defining roles within the company, build a plan, execute the plan, measure the results and then report them to someone that matters to you.
If you set up a system for doing that for months and even years, you will get a full roster of clients and stay there.
Just a few more days and we’ll open up Deliberate Growth, our 6-month group coaching program. It includes education, accountability, group collaboration, and more. Stay tuned...
About Stephan Wiedner
Stephan Wiedner is the Co-Founder and Head Coach of Noomii.com. Stephan helps entrepreneurs and free thinkers forge their own unique career path.