5 Systems at the Heart of Growing a Sustainable Coaching Business | By Jennifer Britton MES, CHRP, CPT, PCC

Coach sitting at desk using their business systemsI have seen businesses both flourish and falter over multiple decades and multiple continents. An anecdotal differentiator is having systems as a foundation. Systems save time - and enable automation as your business grows. And importantly, they also ensure a consistent experience for partners and clients - across time and location.

However, when you work for yourself, you don't have the inbuilt systems and processes that are automatically in place when you work for a larger employer. Your financial data, filing, templates, marketing and sales processes - all need systems to be set up and managed by you.

What is a system? A system is simply a set of activities and processes that achieve an outcome. It's an organized, repeatable way to get things done. And especially when working remotely, systems are a critical part of scaling your business.

Here are the 5 key business systems at the centre of your coaching business:

As I explore in my Coaching Business Builder, five systems coaches will want to incorporate and experiment within their business to help scale and automate are:

  1. Financial Systems. This can include Invoicing, Accounts Payable, Cash Flow, Accounts Receivable etc. How do you receive and track money from your clients? How do you pay yourself and your taxes? How do you record your expenses?
  2. Client Management Systems. A variety of onboarding and ongoing supports for clients can include: Welcome Kits, Questionnaires, Agreements, Welcome Letters and more. What tools do you use regularly with clients? What systems do you use to make appointments with clients? How do you wrap-up with a client?
  3. Marketing. Websites, Your Social Media Feed and Presence, Frequently Asked Questions, Podcasts, Blogging and newsletters etc. These can all be systematised to save time and effort.
  4. Creating Content. While not every coach will be creating content, many will be involved in speaking, blogging or even podcasting. Some coaches create information products like eBooks, audio learning, video training. Content creation can take a lot of time, but systematizing what you create will help. It makes it easier to scale and repurpose things so you're not always "reinventing the wheel". Do you know what you've created? Do you have an accessible list of what there is?
  5. Sales. Finally, businesses are all about cash flow. What are you doing to track and expand sales? What do you notice about sales? What can generate more? What follow-up do you have with those you have sold to?

In thinking about your systems, you will also want to consider:

  1. What do you want to create? What things are you doing regularly that don't have a system yet?
  2. What can be automated? For example, when you post something on Facebook or LinkedIn, have you set the options to simultaneously post to other channels? Have you investigated using software to pre-post your social media in bulk?
  3. What can be simplified? As we grow into our businesses, we may realize that certain things or processes can be simplified. What do you do regularly, or do regularly with your clients that could be simplified?
  4. What would be consistent with your brand? A high touch, detail-oriented coach may have very different systems than a minimalistic, digital coach.

As a closing exercise, consider these 5 questions:

  1. Write out 5-10 words you, and your business, want to be known for.
  2. What do your clients value most?
  3. What are the things that are important for you and your clients?
  4. What systems, skills and practices will help you?
  5. Which areas do you want to focus on first?

Growing a business is not just a one-off, one month event. It's an ongoing focus, impacting all aspects of our world. We are in the driver's seat to create what we want.

Enjoy the journey!

2 Helpful Workbooks & Upcoming Training from Jennifer:

For coaches growing their own business, you will be interested in picking up a copy of Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner. This workbook and annual analog planner will provide you with weeks of self-guided exercises to explore the foundations of your own business. Get it from Amazon or direct from Jennifer.

PlanDoTrack is a similar workbook and undated analog planner, geared for Remote and Virtual Professionals. It's an ideal gift for your own remote clients at year end. Pick up a copy on Amazon or directly from Jennifer.

And, if you work with remote professionals, consider joining Jennifer for the 24 CCE PlanDoTrack Facilitator Training, which takes a deeper dive into the tools in this book so you can lead it with your own clients. Learn more and reserve your spot here.

Contributing author: Jennifer Britton is well known for her thought leadership in the areas of group and team coaching, she explores the remote workspace in three of her books. Effective Virtual Conversations (2017) takes a deeper dive into skills around virtual conversations of all types, as well as supporting virtual and remote teams and leaders. She provides ICF CCE approved programming via Virtual Facilitation Essentials, equipping professionals with enhanced skills and practices to design and implement programs across the virtual ecosystem (webinars, group and team coaching, virtual team development). Jennifer's YouTube Channel serves as a portal to access her calls around the different areas she focuses on (coaching skills, business development and teamwork).

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