Ever wonder why your efforts to build your business went up in smoke even though you spent weeks, or even months working on them? Just like baking a cake before putting on the icing, every business goes through various stages of development throughout its lifecycle. A common pitfall coaches and consultants get into when building a business is working intensely on tasks that are designed to happen at a later stage or they are working too far in advance and then falling back on strategies that only work in their earlier stages and don’t allow them to scale up.
Understanding the stages of business means you’ll be able to identify your current stage and focus on your key tasks to move forward.
So, you might be asking right about now: What are the Stages of Business for Online Coaches and Consultants?
That's exactly what I want to share with you in this post. As you read on, see if you can recognize which stage you are in. If you think you’re between stages then we would encourage you to take the assessment at the end.
First, let's look at what is holding you back in your coaching business:
The main reason I often see coaches struggle for as long as they do is that they’re working on the wrong stage of business. Regardless of what stage you are in, if you’re implementing the wrong strategies you’ll be stuck spinning all of the plates while riding a unicycle and blindfolded.
I heard it explained once on a business podcast that a business is like a baby. When it's an infant, you take care of it in a certain way, because it's going to have certain milestones to get through and things that it can and cannot do.
And that kind of analogy is what really gave birth to this framework that I'm going to be sharing with you.
So without wasting any more of your time, let's dive in.
1. Desire stage
This stage is where you have a ton of ideas about wanting to start a coaching or consulting business, but you're not really sure what you want to do yet. It looks and sounds great in your head but you’re not creating content or moving forward on the projects that you dream about.
People in this phase are still working a full time job or relying on their spouse’s income, and their business is more of a side hobby. You only show up when it’s convenient not because your business needs it
What we have to do at this stage to move forward is decide what to do, commit to doing what you decided to do, and then make that decision over and over again until you get the result you want.
People can get stuck in this stage of business because they don’t know how to take a huge vision and make incremental moves forward to make it a reality. It’s time to take your brilliant idea and put it into action. Learning the skill of Mindset Mastery™ will allow you to keep moving forward with your business. Mastering productivity and time management is also crucial since you’re going to have to keep yourself accountable.
2. Clarity stage
Are you showing up semi-consistently? You’re putting content out there but maybe not as often or as frequently as you want to because you’re still not clear about what you sell, who you help, and how your solution is different.
If these efforts have brought in some clients they are less than ideal clients who demand everything from you but are unwilling to pay the premium rates you deserve.
During this stage you'll be working on taking actions that will create clarity on who you help, what problems they have, and what solutions you will offer.
People often get stuck in the clarity stage for many years because their brain starts spinning around the problems they want to solve, who they want to help, and they forget to actually take action that will propel them to the validation stage.
Skills to master are messaging, offers, and Mindset Mastery™ around what you do, staying out of the comparison trap, and getting over Imposter Syndrome. Consistent content and creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) that your team will help you with so that your content is running as consistently as possible.
Your level of Mindset Mastery™ will determine how quickly you will move through these stages. And if you feel like you are stuck between these two stages, take the Stages of Business Assessment.
3. Validation stage
The validation stage has a milestone in which you have already sold at least three people into your program using the exact same method and messaging for each sale. The clients you’ve brought in are your ideal clients and are happy to pay you for your services. And the way in which you’re delivering your services works for you and your lifestyle.
For example, you had three sales calls and all three sales calls were marketed and filled in the same way. The clients you brought in were delighted to work with you and the way in which you served them leveraged your time without causing you to question if this was really sustainable and scalable.
The point of the validation stage is to find the sweet spot where the offer, market, and price point meet that results in you servicing clients in a way that works for you and your lifestyle.
It's about testing the little nuances of your offer and keeping track of everything so that you can get an idea of what works and what does not work.
Without having that data, you cannot make good business decisions. This will require you to experience a lot of failure and make clean decisions in the midst of that failure. Skills to master are Mindset Mastery™ around sales and asking for money, SOPs around sales, building your customer success journey, and the Northstar Offer.
Expansion is where the exact sales system aka the Customer Success Journey is being elevated so that you have more people coming in who are qualified and won’t demand more of your own time. This will allow your sales system to run like a well oiled machine. In this stage, you are refining your launch mechanism but also figuring out how you’re going to make money between launches by creating consistent recurring revenue.
During the expansion stage, we’re able to invest more into advertising because we are able to know predictably what our returns are from any investments that we make. In this stage, you are embracing the role of becoming the CEO of your coaching or consulting company and are starting to delegate more to your team.
Skills to master at this stage include: SOPs around your launches, Mindset Mastery™ around managing your team and increased visibility, and creating more than you have before by implementing your three-tiered income stream and breaking through your upper limits.
5. Scaling Stage
As you’re continuing to grow, your time is being demanded more and more and you may start to wonder if this is really sustainable even though you already have a leveraged offer (which is more than just 1:1 services.). That means you are constantly in launch mode and trying to bring in more revenue to cover your team or hire the next person.
Your team is also demanding more and more of you and your time, and you may still be doing all of the micro-managing by telling each team member what to do. And if you aren’t telling them what to do, you never know if it’s going to get done. This makes you wonder if you can really handle continuing to grow your business.
In this stage, you’re bringing on team members who are producing 4x what you pay them. You are filling your three key roles or department heads in your coaching or consulting company. And you are streamlining your SOPs so that you can take yourself out of the day-to-day tasks. You are continuing to optimize your customer success journey by tracking the metrics and focusing on automating your sales process.
Skills to master at this stage include: Mindset Mastery™ around leadership, the impact you can make with clients while servicing more people in a leveraged capacity, and trusting that your team will do it exactly as you want it and restraining yourself to jump in and have to “fix things.” For your business, your SOPs must be impeccable so that you are able to hand them off and trust that things are getting done. Your sales systems are on automation and you’re making sales daily. This is when you step into your 3 day work week as the Thriving Impactful CEO.
The Thriving Stage
The ultimate milestone is to be in the Thriving Stage.
The thriving milestone is when you have automated multiple offers. This could be done by team members or with software.
You have already been living the 3 Day Work Week for a while. You get to decide if this is what you want to do at that point. Does it mean adding more offers or completely stepping out of your business? Or maybe starting a new business venture?
As mentioned in the beginning, one of the most common mistakes that burnt out coaches make in the online space is trying to execute on action items for a stage of business that is way ahead or even behind where they are. To be certain if you are in the right stage, take the Stages of Business Assessment.
But, when you focus on the correct strategies for each stage of business that you are in you can guarantee a sustainable, profitable business that provides you with recurring, consistent income and time freedom. Progressing through these stages is not about being in business longer, but being strategic with the decisions that you are making.
It’s also important to understand that this is not a linear journey and that economic circumstances can impact your progress depending on your industry. Right now, for example, we’re in a great time for online businesses but brick and mortar are struggling. This would also gravely impact those industries but it doesn’t mean that those changes are permanent or that they can’t be adapted for online business.
Online businesses are booming and there is no time like the present to grow an online business.
If there’s one thing I want you to walk away with it’s this:
Do not judge yourself for where you’re at.
Many of our readers are high achievers who have had success in corporate careers or university. Oftentimes, with this background, people have a tendency to be incredibly hard on themselves. Their own worst critic is often seen in the mirror.
Remember, You are exactly where you're supposed to be.
You can't argue with reality, you can't change the past, and up until now you've done the best you can with what you have.
So instead of beating yourself up for not being further ahead or for “being behind”, focus on taking each step forward in a loving, proactive, and kind way.
Because, at the end of the day, you can always look back and say, “look how far I’ve come.”
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to be further ahead and burn yourself out with unnecessary work. Focus on where you are and the actions necessary to move forward from that stage.
By understanding the stages of an online coaching business, you are already one step closer to being a thriving impactful CEO.
If you’re ready to build a sustainable, thriving business that will deliver consistent recurring revenue while you work less - We have developed this quick 6 question assessment so that you can find out your Stages of Business Assessment.