Changing your career: How to become a business coach

So, you’ve decided to become a business coach? You’ve been toying with the idea for a while, and now you’re ready to take the leap and make your dream come true. No more what ifs. All that remains is the first step. But how do you actually get started? What should you focus on? And what’s the key to success as a business coach? Here are 5 tips that will help you make the move as smooth as possible.

1) Choose a niche

Picture this. You have a successful pet shop and you’re ready to expand. There are many questions that come up like the number of branches you should open, their locations, branding, marketing and so on. When you look for answers, are you going to choose a general business coach, or a business coach who specialises in scaling up small retailers? Of course it’s the latter.

That’s why one of the most important things to do when you first start your coaching business is to find a niche. Without a clear specialism, you’re going to struggle to establish your brand message which in turn means you’ll be less likely to attract interest. With a niche, on the other hand, you can fight off competition — it’s absolutely crucial to have a unique selling point when new coaches are always popping up.

When you decide on a specialty, be as narrow as possible. Think about who you can really bring value to. That means you’ll really be able to streamline your message and reach the clients that you actually want to work with. It’s always useful to think about the kind of person you want to target. The only rule is to pick an area you’re passionate about and have some expertise in.

2) Build credibility

It’s a no-brainer that business owners really care about their business. They’re not going to spend money on someone that can’t prove their value. That’s why you really have to build credibility as a business coach.

Do you have a business degree? A track record of success in this field or relevant experience? Testimonials? Make sure to highlight them everywhere. Anything that makes your potential clients trust you should be your elevator pitch and be emphasised in your marketing materials.

Another important thing to note is that businesses are looking for results first and foremost. Direct your efforts to creating solutions, and highlight this ability to improve your reputation. Lastly, never surrender your credibility for profit. Get out there, stay up-to-date on industry news, collaborate with successful partners, and learn and develop your skills. This is how you’ll win the clients you’re looking for. Prove your worth first.

3) Protect yourself

We know, we know. You haven’t even started your business yet and we’re already making you consider the adverse. It’s not nice to think about what could go wrong, but doing so could save you a much worse time.

“In today’s world, people are increasingly ready to start legal proceedings for compensation and the incidence of claims against therapists is on the rise,” business coach insurance experts at Salon Gold warn. It’s recommended that you get public liability cover in case someone is injured on your business premises, or you accidentally damage their property. Public indemnity insurance is also useful to shield you if you’re sued for making a mistake in the advice you offer.

If anything unexpected happens, making sure you’re protected will not only give you peace of mind, but also allow you to focus on your business rather than scrambling to fix whatever it is that’s gone wrong.

4) Make concessions for your first clients

In order to build your portfolio and attract more clients, you need to pass the hardest hurdle: getting your first customers. According to some of these veteran coaches, getting your first three clients is usually the tipping point that makes or breaks a career!

A great way to start is to offer your services for free. Approach any friends or contacts that might need help and see if they want to give it a go in exchange for a testimonial and recommendation within their network.

If you don’t know anyone interested, it’s safe to say you need to spruce up your Rolodex. Go to business coaching events (even if they are on Zoom), network as much as possible, and take every opportunity to appear publicly. You can even start commenting on other coaches’ blogs — whatever might put your name out there and get you talking to potential clients. Then, offer your help without charge.

Once you secure those first few clients, word-of-mouth starts to play its part. You’ll get more referrals, more buzz, and all-important testimonials you can use to build your credibility. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to continue networking, even when you have your first paying customers.

5) Plan a long term marketing strategy

When it comes to marketing a small business, the easiest way to start is through social media. By creating valuable social media content that really helps people, not only will you appear even more trustworthy to existing clients, but this will also help attract new ones. If you give such great advice, you’re probably a great person to hire — this realisation hopefully means people will decide to reach out to you.

It’s critical that you learn what works best for your field of specialty on social media. Which platform do coaches and clients use the most? Which hashtags are strong? What type of content do they produce and consume? Once you’ve done your research, you should use that information to engage with your followers and create those genuinely valuable posts. Make sure to comment and build a good rapport in places where your audience is — even on competitors’ pages — and don’t forget to interact with them on your channels too.

No matter what you do, consistency is key: sticking to a schedule and posting once a week is better than posting seven times a day on Wednesday and none on Thursday. Sharing content regularly means you’re going to have an easier time attracting an audience and keeping their trust. It’s no wonder that consistent brands are worth 20% more than those that aren’t! That’s why having a strategy in place plays off. Good marketing is not one-off posts. It has to be done methodically in order to not only attract people, but also retain them.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Salon Gold .

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