How To Plan Your Year (So You Get More Clients)

business planning for coaches

Ahhh…planning.

Does planning for your business stress you out?

Do you find it fun?

Or is it under the box marked “do this at some point” ? :).

I’ve taken several different approaches to planning in my business over the years, and I’m here to say that some of my ideas are brighter than others!

But never fear, I’ve honed my system from “stress ball of nachos” to “client attracting results!” and here are a few things for you to think about as you try and plan out your year of AWESOME SUCCESS.

(You deserve awesome success).

Planning rule #1:

You need to plan.

Seriously. You do need to have a plan, for the most obvious reason that things we focus on grow, and things we don’t die.

Also, sparkly object syndrome can KILL a new small coaching business. A plan will help you make smart choices with how you allocate your most precious resource: YOU.

Now, notice that I didn’t say you need to have a 365 day plan. Why? Well, that brings us to …

Planning rule #2

Your plan should be really really flexible.

Small businesses change FAST.

Coaching businesses especially change quite a bit in the early years. I can almost put down money on the fact that whatever you *think* you are doing now, you will have changed in about 6 months :).

So, your plan might make sense today, but new technology, new connections, and new intel from your gut might make this plan out of date by June.

It’s important to have flexibility in your planning.

How to plan your year (so you get tons more coaching clients!)

Actual Helpful Planning Ideas For You To Steal

So, you might be scratching your head wondering what a solid-yet-flexible-yearly plan looks like.

Never fear!

Here’s my big planning strategy that gives me focus, and also allows for the ever present business tides :).

How to Plan Your Year Step 1: Lay out your year with a few big goals

If I could go back in time and yell at myself, all I would scream would be “FOCUS. FOR THE LOVE OF CHOCOLATE, FOCUS!”

I am overly optimistic about what I can do, and also what is really good for my business (read more here on how I decide what to do).  I am 100% confident my business would be at least 30% bigger if I could have focused more in the early years.

So, I start my planning with a beady eye on my goals – both life and business, and I overlay that with my current products and services.

Then I say this: FOCUS!! FOR THE LOVE OF CHOCOLATE, FOCUS!

Because to this day I’m still not trustworthy on the focus front :).

For 2017 my goals and focus are, as always, around growth – and specifically around growing this community.

I will of course continue to grow the Revolutionary Club community as well – but Coach Pony is going to get my attention for the majority of this year.

So, I laid out some income goals and looked at my programs and offerings (and the fact that I’m getting married and want to take some big time off).

Based on that, I laid out a few big events and launches. For instance, this month I’ll be opening up enrollment in my redesigned Career Happiness Revolution group coaching program.  This program is normally a big chunk of my revenue for the year, and I expect this year to be no different. When I first launched it I made around $10,000. Now it’s responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Then I’ll be opening up another round of Coach Pony Build a REAL Business (if you want my personal help and structure on how to build your business, join our community and watch your email :)). Those two launches will eat up most of my first 4 months of the year.

Then I’ll just quickly get married…

And when I get back I’ve scheduled two more Coach Pony specific events.

While everything in the first quarter of the year is laid out 100% to the day – complete with color-coded actions on every day of the week, the last 7 months of the year are mostly clear – with rough sketches on when big Coach Pony activities will be occurring.

That allows me a lot of flexibility to learn and adapt as the year progresses. I know what my big goals are, but I have plenty of time (and room!) to pivot or change gears.

For you you might have two big goals this year: 1 is to get a certain amount of private clients and 2 is to start writing your book (for example).

Having these big goals in your pocket makes it easier to get into the details because…

Step 2: Map out the next 60 days more closely, focused on your first big goal.

You can focus on 30, 60, or 90 days. There’s science around all of it, and some of it is conflicting so I say – choose what works for you!  I normally map out things in detail by quarters  starting with Q1. But, within that I only REALLY REALLY get detailed for about 45 days of that, because things often change and I need to re-map.

So what does that look like for me? Well, as I mentioned above today that means that everything is coded in my calendar, with different colors and sections broken out. Everything from what emails are being sent when, to what webinars are happening when, to when I’m supposed to show up and do real coaching.

It’s all in the calendar.

That way I’m never lost or confused about what to do, I just need to open my calendar and check off the tasks. FOCUS! 🙂

Within those goals, I also map out little challenges for myself. So, the challenge I have running now is to get over 10,000 people just on the interest list for my updated CHR program.  I like challenges because they make me get my ass in gear and take more risks. So, that little challenge is forcing me to write more posts, network more with partners, and up my Facebook ad game to get more people on the interest list. All of these activities are…coded into my calendar as well!

That’s me – but you are in a different place in your business – so for you mapping out the next 30-45 days might have a week or two challenge where you write all of your website copy.

Or you might institute a networking challenge for yourself where you go to events and meet as many new people as you can.

Or you might have a week to work on your pricing and coaching packages, followed by a week to put together a pdf with all of your services.

You get the idea!

I find planning to be one of my favorite things to do, which is why I have a few big planning sessions a year. One in December to look forward to the next year, and one in the summer to plan out my fall (and early new year).

You’ll find as your business grows you tend to plan further and further in advance because even the simple things become a lot more complex :).

Step #3: Get regular weekly activities mapped on your calendar

What do I mean by this?

Well, each week (except during big launches), I think about four areas in my business: Networking, Marketing, Creation, and Service.

I have time on my calendar each Monday morning to focus on where I’m networking and building partnerships and support, where I’m marketing, where I’m creating new content or programs, and where I’m serving current (and new!) clients who sign up for my programs.

On Monday I plan out my week and try and hit each area – that way I ensure that my business is consistently growing, I’m consistently creating new and better content, my clients are happy, and my trend is always upwards. It’s not always a perfect system, but it keeps me focused and ensures that no major balls get dropped.

So my challenge to you is to start planning! Really COMMIT to your coaching  business by laying out your big plans for the entire year, and then get focused on the next few months in detail.

Put it all on your calendar and start taking action.

Your clients are waiting for you!

Need more help?

Make sure you grab our free guide on how to start your coaching business RIGHT. It’s 26 pages of fancy-pants information aimed at giving you all the basics up front, so you can start to make your dreams a reality. CLICK.

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