Since I started my coaching business a number of years ago, I’ve found that the two most common struggles I see my clients face are:
- How to create a vision for a coaching or consulting business, and
- How to create a business model that represents them personally.
I totally get it – I mean it wasn’t too long ago that I was starting my own business and had the exact same concerns.
The vision for my business didn’t come to me overnight; the vision and the exact business model took a while to formulate and implement. I knew it was important for me to be able to help my clients, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I would do that and how I would be able to make a living from it. It was frustrating, why? Well I have been in the online strategy and E-commerce business for fifteen years, but when it came to starting my own business, I had several hurdles to overcome.
This frustration became my mission and the vision for my company. I knew that I wanted to be there for my clients and guide them on their journey towards developing their business models and bringing their businesses online.
Creating your Vision
You can’t put the cart before the horse. Meaning, before you do anything for your business – before you create your website, brand your company or create a marketing strategy, you must create the vision for your coaching or consulting company.
How is this done?
Well there are a number of steps that I recommend you take when defining a vision for a company.
Start with your personal vision. By this I mean that you develop a vision of your desired future. You might want to start with a vision board exercise in which you use images, text, graphics, or pictures you draw to identify what is important to you and what you’d like your future life to look like. Pay particular attention to how this makes you feel.
Determine a timeframe for your vision and goal. The next step is to set a timeline for this vision. Identify a period of time that you feel comfortable defining a goal for. Maybe it is 1 year, 5 years or 10 years, but you will need a timeline before you can start thinking about what your business will look like at this point. Determining an “end in sight” will be helpful before setting out to determine your overall business goal.
Define a clear and concise idea of why the business exists. Ask yourself why your business exists. The reason for your business must be bigger than simply making money. What would be missing in this world if you did not have your business? If you can’t answer this, how will you communicate this with your customers? Be crystal clear and concise on the “why” for your business
Provide an identity for the business – This is very important and overlooked often. This is especially important if you work out of a practice with several coaches and consultants. This identity impacts how your business interacts with customers and partners, and it will dictate the online persona that your business will portray – aka – the personality of the company.
Resonate with external and internal stakeholders – Your vision should resonate with your external and internal stakeholders – if you are a sole proprietor, it’s easy, simply ensure that the vision is close to your heart. If you have a business with several coaches and consultants, make sure that you have buy-in from everyone – this is important. People aren’t going to buy into a vision they don’t believe in and you want your vision to be a representation of all internal stakeholders.
Speak to the core values and beliefs of your business – You know the feeling you get when you hear about a business that lives and breathes its core values and beliefs, it makes you want to be a customer – right? Exactly! The most successful companies are the ones that stand up for what they believe in and make it part of their vision. When you see their logo or hear their name, you know exactly what they stand for. Apple, is a good example of a strong brand. When you think of Apple, you think of simple, eye-pleasing aesthetics, great products and customer service. You can take one look at an advertisement, product sheet, TV commercial or product packaging and know that it is Apple. Steven Covey is another great example of a strong brand. His brand is built on a vision of purpose and prioritization and the vision and core beliefs of the late Steven Covey are apparent in all of his products and books.
Develop a business model that represents the values of your organization – A business model balances the income stream and the resource side of your business. By defining how you plan to make revenue and the systems and resources you will put in place to support this, you are aligning your strategies to achieve your vision.
Create an implementation plan – I suggest that you create a rough plan for 3-5 years but a much more detailed plan for the next 12 months. If you only plan short term, then there is no long-term vision or direction for your business. But if you spend too much planning the long-term vision, you might not see opportunities that exist now. Balance is always key – and this is especially true when it comes to your business plan.
Write it down – Studies show that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. So ensure that when you are planning your vision, you make it a living document – something to come back to at least once a year to review and update.
Update as necessary – If something changes, update your vision. It could be as simple as a word or a phrase, but sometimes that is what will define where your business is at, at this particular point of the journey towards your overall goal.
For more information on how to create your business vision and business model or how to get your business online, stay in touch with Petra through Strategy News. Sign up here.