Writing a business plan for a health coach can be intimidating. You may picture it as a grueling process resulting in a 20-pound opus. But it’s possible to produce something pretty solid without having to spend a ton of time and energy on it. Consider this, Airbnb founder Brian Chesky wrote a one-page business plan, and look where he is now!
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan describes in detail how a new business will meet its goals. A plan guides you toward your short-term and long-term business objectives. Whether you’re a fledgling health coach or an established one, a business plan is a necessity. It serves two main purposes:
- It helps you run your health coaching business with a uniform vision. When you objectively and methodically scrutinize your plans for inconsistencies or flaws, it significantly increases your potential for success.
- Financial institutions or lenders won’t invest in your company unless you show how and when they’ll get a return on their capital. No matter how well-intentioned you are, money is always the bottom line.
Although you may be itching to leap into startup mode, writing a business plan is an essential first step. It will provide insight into the viability of your business before you spend too much money or time on it. Your plan must define:
- The service you provide
- Who your clients are
- How you sell your service
- Your competition
- What makes your service different
- Your milestones
- Your funding requirements
- Your cash flow forecast
Let’s now take a closer look at why your health coaching business is more likely to succeed when you carefully write a business plan…
Why Should a Health Coach Write a Business Plan?
If you’re building a car, you wouldn’t just randomly weld pieces of metal together and expect it to work. Running a health coaching business without a plan, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned professional, is just as reckless. Here are eight important reasons why you should write a business plan:
It proves you’re serious – A formal business plan demonstrates you’re dedicated to your business’ success.
It positions you for success – When you write a business plan, you’ll analyze your operational business goals. You’ll be able to identify flaws in your ideas, determine your target market and identify your unique selling proposition.
It helps you raise money – Investors and lenders never finance a company until they see a business plan. It can answer questions such as: “Is there a demand for your service?” “What are your financial projections?” “What problem are you solving?” “How are you solving that problem?” You can’t merely present a verbal description.
It establishes milestones – The plan should map out long-term milestones for your business. Like roadside milestones that mark how far you’ve traveled, business milestones track your progress as you follow your plan.
It helps you understand your competition – It’s important to know your competitive edge when you’re writing a business plan. According to Jim Casparie of The Venture Alliance, “You have to tell me why you have a competitive advantage because I need to know why you’re going to win.”
It describes your revenue model – It’s critical to describe, in writing, exactly how your business will make money. Detailing your revenue model will help pinpoint assumptions and challenges related to it.
It helps you stay focused – Your business plan is your map and can help keep you stay on track. Without one, you’ll keep shuffling your short-term goals without regard to your long-term milestones.
It helps document your marketing plan – How are you going to reach clients? How much will you charge? How will you keep them on board? A clearly researched marketing plan is a necessity for your business.
Now that you know what a business plan is and what it does, let’s take a look at what comprises a well thought out plan…
What Should Your Health Coach Business Plan Include?
You may be intimidated by the prospect of writing a business plan. Remember, though, that “long” and “complex” don’t necessarily mean “good” in this case. Here’s a simple outline you can follow to write a succinct, effective plan:
What problem(s) are you solving? Before you can devise a solution, you need to pinpoint a problem. Many entrepreneurs start off by describing the solution, such as the product they’re offering, before addressing the problem it solves.
Analyze whether you’re solving a real problem people actually have. If so, are you capable of solving it? Make sure you’re clear on this before planning your response. Your answer to this question should be simple and direct. State the problem clearly and without extraneous details or buzzwords. If you’re unsure of which facts to include, choose three that best answer the question.
What desire(s) are you satisfying? Your solution needs to push the right emotional buttons, as well as logical ones. Human beings have many desires, including the desire for comfort, satisfaction, love and joy. How will your service make people feel those things?
How will you solve the problem? In one or two sentences, state your proposed solution to the problem. Explain how you’ll turn that value into something people will pay for, and describe its exact benefits. Mention how long it will take to solve it, if applicable. You’ll be writing this in broad strokes, so it’s not necessary to elaborate on the solution.
What is it about your solution that’s valuable to your audience? The value is what will make clients choose you over the competition. It’s the “why” of why people want to do business with you. It speaks directly to their specific needs.
Who do you serve? What types of people frequent your business? Stay-at-home moms? Seniors? Young adults? Businesspeople? Couples? Women? Men? Both? Think about who patronizes your business. If there’s a mix, who makes up the highest percentage of your audience?
Who are your most important clients? Your most important clients are the ones who’ll help grow your business. Community leaders, heads of the PTA, social media influencers and others who can spread the word are among the possible key clients for your business.
What are their defining qualities? Are they busy type A individuals? Laid-back? People with disposable income? Social? Overwhelmed?
Connecting with the Audience
How does this audience want to be reached? These days, social media and email are the primary means of connecting with an audience.
Where are they already? This can generally be the same as above.
How will they find you? Word of mouth? Online advertising? Your website? Referrals?
Unique Selling Point
What’s unique or different about your solution? The first competition for brooms wasn’t other brooms. It was vacuums. When planning your business, don’t think about competing on the same playing field. Keep this in mind when analyzing the advantages your solution offers that the competition lacks.
Does your service make clients’ lives easier, better or allow them to do new things? Be very specific in how you’ll give your business a competitive edge. Also, explain why your solution is possible and appropriate right now. If you can, include a story about how a client solved their problem by using your solution. And be sure to support your information with facts and figures. Investors aren’t going to risk their money on assumptions or speculation.
The term “elevator pitch” originally referred to a concise and persuasive sales pitch delivered in the time it took to ride an elevator. In a business plan, it’s a powerful sentence that combines your problem, solution, audience, and unique selling point in a quick one-two punch. Let’s say you’re at a party and someone asks you, “So, what do you do?” Can you effectively answer in one sentence?
What advantages do you have over the competition? Advantages could include things like specialized experience, advanced education, awards, published books and relationships with authorities in your field. Accomplishments like these add to your credibility.
How is your solution not easily duplicated? Just like a secret sauce, your business has to have a special ingredient that gives it more kick than the other guy.
Does this business feel like you? Are you doing this because it seems like something you “should” do? Your business should be your passion or even obsession. Do some soul-searching to make sure you’re really doing something that speaks to who you are.
Is this the kind of customer/lifestyle/responsibility you want? These are things you’ll encounter all day, every day. Ask yourself if you’ll be able to commit to them as a routine part of your life, even if they’re sometimes less than ideal. Again, you’ll need to be passionate about what you’re doing to ride out the ups and downs.
Will you get tired of this or do you feel energized just thinking about it? An investor will want assurance that you’re fully committed to your venture. This is also a penetrating question to ask yourself to ensure you’re in it for the long haul.
What will you sell to them? Health coaching is a service you’re selling, not a product. But if you also intend to sell products, such as CDs or essential oils, include this information too.
How much will it cost? You’ll have to do a bit of research to determine your price point in comparison to your competition.
What costs and activities will you need to build this business? Possible examples could be:
- Web hosting (learn more about web hosting in our guide to creating a health coaching website).
- Done-for-you content (check out our complete guide to content for health coaches).
- Facebook advertising (check out our ultimate guide to social media for health coaches).
- Bookkeeping and scheduling software (check out our dedicated guide to the best online health coach software).
- Virtual assistance (check out our dedicated guide to hiring a virtual assistant for health coaches).
What do you need to make this business happen outside of yourself? This could include physical necessities such as an office or space in your home, a vehicle, a computer and relevant software, insurance and office supplies.
So, with that said, here’s an example of how to easily organize these elements into a professional business plan in a little less than two pages…
Health Coach Business Plan Sample
Problem – New Baby New You is a health coaching program dedicated to holistically supporting the health and wellbeing of women who have had their first baby. It’s a response to an overlooked demographic that needs wellness support after this experience.
Solution – My services specifically target first-time mothers, rather than all new mothers. At a time when these mothers face many new, confusing circumstances and wellness concerns, New Baby New You’s specialized services will holistically encourage stress reduction, healthy habits, and mindful self-care.
Audience – New Baby New You is solely patronized by affluent women in their early 20’s to mid-30’s. Most come from upscale suburbs surrounding the greater metropolitan area and are able to spend a significant amount of money on their child. All have spouses, some of whom have prominent positions in the community.
Connecting with the audience – Social media is a rich means of forging professional relationships. I’ll connect with my audience – and they’ll connect with me – via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as my website and blog. Most of it will be real-time communication via posts and messaging, as well as texting and telephone conversations.
Unique selling point – New Baby New You is the only health coaching business of its kind. There has never been a health coaching service specifically tailored to the needs of first-time mothers. Because my clientele are specifically first-time mothers, I can expressly target their unique needs.
Elevator pitch – I’m a certified health coach for first-time mothers. I offer high-quality, targeted nutritional and behavioral programs to relieve their stress and physical issues. There are currently no such solutions offered here for new mothers.
Competitive edge – I have further skills that add depth and breadth to my practice. Besides being a certified health coach, I also have a Bachelor of Science in nursing and have worked directly with women who have just given birth to their first child. I practice Reiki, as well.
Personal compatibility – There’s a strong correspondence between my business ambitions and my ideal lifestyle. I understand and appreciate that I’ll have time for little else and that it’ll be the focus of my time and energies. I’m enthusiastic about meeting and maintaining that commitment.
Revenue – In year one, I’ll charge $300/month per client, with a projected enrollment of 10 people = $36,000. In year two, I’ll charge $400/month per client, with a projected enrollment of 20 people = $96,000. This doesn’t factor in any physical products, such as ebooks, that I make myself and sell.
Expenses – It’s assumed the venture will require a cash outlay for some, if not all, of the following start-up items:
- Office supplies
- Course-related supplies
- Branding materials
Francis J. Greene of the University of Edinburgh Business School and Christian Hopp of RWTH Aachen University say, “Committing a plan to paper increases a startup’s venture viability by 27%.”
Follow the easy-to-follow outline above for writing a business plan for a health coach, and you can become part of those odds!
So, what are your thoughts about creating a health coach business plan? Leave your comments below!Sources