In the 2014 Blueprint Business Planner (which will only be available to subscribers until the end of January 2014), I share this fun little graphic to illustrate how different aspects of your business are interconnected. I call it the Blueprint Business Web:
If you look at these various parts that are interconnected to comprise the whole, you’ll see that missing even one element means that your business isn’t as strong. For instance, try to have a business that has all of these elements, except for “Fulfillment + Ease”? Good luck–you’ll burn out.
Here’s what each of these interconnected pieces mean, and why they’re so important to your business’s daily and long-term functionality.
Money & Receiving :: Naturally, of course. Your business needs money, or some other mode of receiving the goods/services that it needs, in order to function. I’ve always loved the pragmatic wisdom of Danielle LaPorte, when someone asks her where they should focus their efforts: “Get the money in the door.”
I’ll add to that–have a way of generating reliable income. If you examine the numbers you really need in order to generate reliable income via a business then you’ll see why it takes most businesses some time to get off the ground. If you’ve been doing the “getting my business going” dance with a bit of the “9-5 hustle,” you’re not selling out on yourself. You’re actually putting yourself in a position for long-term success.
Collaboration & Support :: “I’m too shy to reach out!” someone says, bemoaning their single status as a new coach trying to get the word out about their offerings. But, reach out you must, because forming connections with others is a huge part of doing business.
Or perhaps you have reached out to several people, suggesting that they might review your product, do a link exchange, or interview you on their website, and you have been roundly ignored or heard a stream of “no” responses.
Why did that happen? Because more than likely, that coach sees your email to take time out of their day to review your product, or promote you to their people, or interview you, as more work for them to wade through.
Collaboration must be truly collaborative. There must be benefits for all parties involved. If the promotion or work is one-sided, it’s hard to get those initial “yes” responses.
Instead, flip things around. Offer to interview them–I’ve made some great friendships through hitting it off in what initially started as a purely business-oriented interview. If you own their products, do a review and send them the link. The reciprocity here is that you might gain a friendship, or they might send their people to your website to check out your interview or review.
And, of course, let’s not forget masterminds, informal groups of coaches where you’re getting together for the camaraderie, swapping business strategy, and wearing pirate eye patches on Google Hangouts (hat tip to Kira Sabin, who brings that particular gem to our mastermind group).
Vision & Offerings :: Here are two questions for you:
1.) What’s your vision for your business?
2.) What offerings feed into that vision?
When I held the December 2013 Blueprint Workshop (the recording will be available for all who have purchased the Coaching Blueprint digital program), one of the things I talked about was how to create content in 2014 that could feed multiple streams of your business, and that would also look to address one issue from multiple angles.
I’ll use a yoga example, since a bit of distance from the prototypical coaching topics might make this a bit easier to see: If I’m a yoga teacher, and I want people to take up yoga because I believe that it relieves anxiety, and if I’m using the content-based model that we’re all using on the internet, then I need to speak to some of the issues that my yoga students face.
My vision (for this example): bring yoga to more people because that relieves anxiety, and anxiety helps the world become a better place.
Perhaps they have trouble getting to class (and when they don’t get to class, their anxiety goes up). Thus, I could talk about easy, home-based yoga exercises–that’s an offering.
Perhaps they have trouble with comparisons (and when those voices get too loud, they don’t go to yoga, and then their anxiety goes up). Thus, I could talk about how to work through comparisons to those pretty yoga models who can contort themselves into any picture in a yoga magazine–that’s an offering.
I’m keeping this simple, on purpose, but in essence: if the combination is yoga + relieving anxiety, then I need to speak to what stops people from getting to the yoga, and how yoga relieves the anxiety. That’s what people will keep coming back to me for, and this is the start of what differentiates me from the gazillions of other yoga teachers out there.
Fulfillment & Ease :: If you don’t have a plan for fulfillment and ease, it just won’t happen. You’ve got to determine your non-negotiables. Whether that’s “I absolutely, positively, must stop working and make it to dance class to decompress from my day” or “I refuse to take on more than X number of clients” or “I will no longer check email more than once a day,” you’ve got to set up a parameter that creates clear ease for you.
More ease = more fulfillment, regardless of your bank statements.
And fulfillment, by the way? That’s got to be a non-negotiable, as well. If you’re doing work that doesn’t light you up, you’ve got to find a way to make it more fun or get it off of your plate. Period.
Promotion & Growth :: In the Coaching Blueprint program, I talk about re-framing marketing as “creating resonance.” It’s not about trying to get anyone to do something that they don’t want to do (which is probably why marketing feels “bad” to you). It’s about creating resonance with the people who are right for the product.
Example: Every New Year, there is a rash of diet products that hit the marketplace, promising me that if I just take a pill or use a cream or work out 10 minutes a day, I’ll be a size two. I never buy into them. They can’t “manipulate” me into anything, because there’s no resonance for me. I don’t desire to take pills, or be a size two.
You know what does hook me? Ads in Triathlete magazine–the ones that promise that I can use a product that would injury-proof me, make me stronger, or up my PR.
When it comes to coaching, leading with honesty about what you truly, sincerely want for your clients–speaking in terms of outcomes–is marketing. There’s nothing manipulative about it. If you sincerely want your clients to feel closer to their husbands, speak into that, and with passion. Only the people who really want to feel closer to their husbands are going to contact you. You’re not “selling to” someone so much as you’re “creating resonance.”
Speaking of promotion, the question becomes: what channels would be used for bringing those offerings? Some channels need to build your platform (social media, email, and otherwise). Other channels need to be low-paid offerings so that people have a low barrier to entry in working with you. Other channels need to be higher-paid, more intensive offerings.
This concept gets a touch more refined in the Coaching Blueprint program, but in essence–your offerings need to connect to your vision, and need to go out to your people through several channels. As a “for instance,” within my own coaching practice, there are free offerings through my e-letters, slightly more expensive offerings through my downloadable e-programs, and the most expensive offerings are also the most high-value: one-on-one time with targeted, strategic plans for what someone can do to grow their business.
A word about free offerings: Vary them throughout the year. I change up what I offer subscribers to the Blueprint e-letter, at various points in time. And every time I offer those subscribers some new freebie, I don’t only give it to the ‘new’ subscribers. I give it to even long-term subscribers who might have already purchased my products.
Why? Because it’s just the right thing to do. My vision for the Coaching Blueprint community and all of the offerings that come out of it, is to help life coaches build their practices faster and easier than I did, creating profitable and fulfilling practices, so that they can do the important work of helping clients–which, in my humble opinion, benefits the world-at-large.
Now that I’ve outlined each of these aspects of the Blueprint Business Web, I hope you’ll take some time to sign up for the Blueprint e-letter and download the 2014 planner, which is a.) free, and b.) gets into more of the nitty-gritty of each aspect of these interconnected parts. You’ll love it (you’ll also see a “click to tweet” prompt that will allow you to connect with others who are using the planner, on Twitter, using this year’s unique hashtag).
Kate Swoboda (aka Kate Courageous) is a life coach who teaches people how to work with fear and practice courage. She’s the founder of www.CoachingBlueprint.com and creator of the Coaching Blueprint digital program.