Confessions of a Business Coach

I was thrilled when I signed my first coaching client.  After months of presenting my new coaching services to networking groups and business associates, my hard work finally paid off.  I was employed.  The new found confidence I had in myself and my business was quite infectious.  Before long, I had several new clients, moved from my home-office to a “big girl” office in the city and had money to spend.

Exactly one-year after I began my coaching business, my husband came home and told me we were moving to another state.  “Yikes!”  “Another state?”  And, on top of that, the other state was so far away it felt like we were moving to another planet.  I finally had my dream business and I did not want to shut it down just because I was moving away.  So, I got “smart.”  I negotiated a deal with my clients that I would meet face-to-face with them the first two weeks of each month and the third week we would coach over the telephone. They all agreed and I began driving back and forth between the two states (868 miles) every two weeks.

I kept up that arrangement for nine months.  It was in that last month I realized that I could not run my business that way any longer.  When I was in town with my clients, I routinely worked from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm every day.  I was exhausted, not growing my business, neglecting my friends and family and generally not taking care of myself.  I began daydreaming about quitting it all and going back to a quieter, gentler life…

At the end of the ninth month, my husband and I moved my office back to the home in our new state.  Because my clients were used to meeting face-to-face, only a few wanted to continue coaching strictly by telephone.  The good news was that I had worked with them long enough to see them through tremendous growth and most were ready to “fly” on their own.  The bad news was that I felt like a big failure; I had to practically start over with my business and was exhausted physically and mentally.  It was at that point I discovered the importance of developing a strong personal foundation.

What is a personal foundation?  It is, “a structured basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life*.”  I wanted to be an excellent business owner and live an exceptional life.  The thought of getting there in a planned fashion was very appealing…

Stay tuned next month for Part 2 of Confessions of a Business Coach.

*Coach University – CU 500 – Personal Foundation


The Beauty of Marketing

I was a part of a group comprised of entrepreneurs and C-level executives.  We met one morning each week and shared our ideas and thoughts on a particular topic.  Before we began the meeting, we would go around the table and announce our name, the name of our business and our business focus. This was marketing.  As the meeting began, the owner of the group shared his thoughts on the topic and then called on a member of the group to briefly share his or her thoughts.  He then called on another person, and so on.  This is marketing.

Just being in the presence of other people who could be potential clients or who could refer business to me and having the opportunity to tell them who I am and what I do is an intimate form of marketing.  As I got to know them better, we marketed to each other, one-on-one.

How to Lose a Customer (Part 2)

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers.  From their point-of-view, are there areas of your business that they may not consider enough of a value to continue doing business with you?  What, other than an owner or employee with an indifferent attitude will assist in losing customers?

Often, a business owner is so focused on working in or running the business, that he or she may lose the ability to place themselves in their customer’s place.  Below are a few physical areas that may be overlooked:

* Parking

  • No available spaces
  • No defined spaces
  • Potholes in the parking area
  • Trash on the ground
  • Unattractive, obtrusive, or no landscaping

* The appearance of the exterior building:

  • Peeling or faded paint
  • Dirty-looking
  • Broken or missing items (cracked glass, a flag pole with no flag on it, etc.)
  • Dirty fingerprints on the door
  • Unkempt landscaping

* The lobby or waiting area:

  • An empty reception desk
  • A funny smell
  • Out-of-date magazines
  • Uncomfortable (or not enough) chairs
  • Not clean or picked up

Next time you walk into your business, put on “fresh eyes” – the kind that have never visited your location before.  NOTICE the physical aspects of your business, and how you would feel/respond to a business that looked the same.  Then, if anything needs attending to – DO IT! Your customers will notice and your profit margin will grow.