Whatever the size or age of your business there are always new things to learn. Technology is changing the way people do business more rapidly than ever before.
I'm going to outline 5 common mistakes I see coaches make on a regular basis.
A word of warning, if you are happy with your coaching business making an average income or you don't like change or learning new ideas then this post is not for you. Actually it will probably just piss you off. I'd suggest not reading any further.
1. Underestimating the importance of your website
It's more common than not that a small coaching businesses website was built by a friend, a relative or even a client. In itself that's not necessarily a bad thing to begin with. It helps to save a bit of money and the work is done by someone who you probably trust.
There are common problems that arise;
- It always always takes longer than you first thought. If whoever is doing the work is doing it part time or on the cheap they will quickly lose interest and motivation.
- All the tools out there now mean it's very easy to build a website, but like anything it's also very easy not to get the important things right. Trouble is you will probably never know but it will definitely make a difference to the results you get from your website.
- Running a website requires constant monitoring and updating as browser and web technologies change. If you had your brother in law's cousin build your site on the cheap, how easy will it be to get him to fix problems as they begin to surface?
After the initial set up of website a lot of coaches will then neglect to keep the site content current and relevant.
This is not just about keeping your website stylish and modern looking but more about using your website as a powerful tool to reach and engage with prospective clients. Having a website used to be a simple matter of creating a few static pages and including your email and phone number so people could get in touch with you. On the modern web that is simply not good enough any more. A business website should be used to share current and relevant content and to build your authority as an expert in your field.
So often I've visited a coaching website and clicked through to an articles page or blog page and seen the last post dated a year or more ago. That's a cardinal sin on the web. Your visitors will wonder if you are even in business any more since you haven't added anything to your site in the last year.
And on top of that Google and the other search engines will crawl your site not seeing any new or relevant content and slowly move you down the search rankings. Sooner or later you'll be relegated to page 18 while your competitors are still on page one.
Some good questions to ask yourself about your website;
- Is it mobile friendly? Last year (2015) Google started penalising websites Google rankings if they failed their test. Test your website for yourself
- When did you last add some content to it?
- How may visitors do you get a month?
- Can you tell how many visitors you had last month?
- What is your bounce rate? (what percentage of your visitors leave without browsing any pages)
If you don't know the answer to those last 3 questions then the first thing to do is set up some analytics. You can't manage what you can't measure.
2. Sticking with what works
"Stick with what works" said the old dog who won't learn new tricks.
So many coaches stick to the same way of doing things because it's worked for them in the past. They refuse to look at new approaches or ideas. Well guess what, things change and so should you. Sometimes even things that work can be improved upon or approached completely differently. Technology is introducing new and exciting ways of doing things every day. Don't let dogma get in the way of learning new tricks.
3. Not seeking out or taking business advice
Clients pay coaches because they have the knowledge and experience to get better results than if they went it alone. We all understand that right? That you are very unlikely to get the same results if you didn't seek the services of a coach.
So why don't most coaches use experienced business coaches or mentors to help with them with general advice or sales and marketing strategies to help them get better results?
It's the same with my business. When I started Training Tilt I thought I could do it all on my own. If I had sought help earlier than I eventually did I would be a lot further ahead and I would have saved a lot of time and effort.
4. Using out of date processes that work for you but not your clients
I've spoken to lots and lots of coaches who use all different ways to communicate training schedules with their clients, from hand written and faxed programs to spreadsheets, Google docs all the way through to the smart on line coaching software.
Many coaches realise that there might be a better way to do things but some are adamant that what they do works for them so there is no need to change. What they clearly haven't considered is that it shouldn't be about what works best for them, but also for their clients.
I've never met an athlete who's preferred way of receiving their training schedule was waiting for their coach to fire off a fax or an email.
5. Relying solely on word of mouth to get new business
Word of mouth is a great way to get new business and should be part of any marketing strategy, however relying on it as your sole source of new clients is never going to help you grow your business beyond a certain point.
A good marketing strategy involves a whole mix of things around product, promotion and advertising. If you get all of those things right then the effect of word of mouth will be exponentially better than relying on word of mouth alone.
Marketing is something that should be integrated into your business every day. It's not something you just decide to do once or just a few times a year. Want to know more about marketing and why you aren't doing any?
These are really simple and common mistakes, not many coaches get all of these right but the ones that do will be the ones that grow their businesses well beyond the glass ceiling that many coaches reach.
Keep your mind open to new opportunities and new ways of doing things. Don't discount new ideas just because you are comfortable with the way you are currently doing things.
Seek out business coaches and mentors and if you need to pay for the privilege of their advice and services, then do so.
Don't underestimate the importance of a good website. It doesn't need to cost a fortune but just make sure all the boxes are ticked during it's creation.
A website is more than a point of contact. It says a lot about your business and your expertise. What is your website saying about you?
At Training Tilt we can help you get a new website up and running quickly (like 2 minutes flat) and for as little as $14 a month. The best thing about a website or coaching platform from us is the expertise and support that's just an email away. Or you could just wait till your brother in law's cousin gets back to you?
Check out our sample out of the box site, it literally took 2 minutes to create but can be completely customized using our self service design tools if required.
Take our Free "Authentic" Marketing Course for Coaches
Designed for endurance sport coaches. Marketing doesn't need to be pushy. The best marketing simply creates a win-win relationship between you and your customers. Take the simple 6 part course to learn more.