- Business Laws-You will want to look at the business laws and requirements that will apply to you as a business coach. Look at the laws on a local, state, and federal level for where you will be operating out of. Check for additional licensing, business classification, and other such information. You will want to make sure that you are compliant will all the necessary requirements and that you are not missing something crucial. Some things, like your business and employment classification, can affect tax information for your business and your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. 1
- What Do You Have Now?-As you get started, you may want to consider taking an inventory of your skills and resources. You may learn things that will not necessary use in your career, or not be able to use until a later point. Organizing what you have now will allow you to prioritize better as you get your career started. Some of your resources can be used to help you get started while others can't. You can take that information, pull from it what you need, and set the rest aside for when you do.
- What Do You Need?-Once you know what you already have in your arsenal of tools and resources for your business coaching service and career, you need to think about what you don't have. This training you receive is designed to cover the general information that all business coaches need to know for their career. You may be planning on going into a certain coaching niche or you want to include something extra in your coaching service. For you to be able to do that, you will most likely need to look into obtaining the appropriate resources and information as it probably isn't included in-depth in your training. Likewise, you may need to get certain things in order to meet the requirements of your business licensing.
Creating a Business Plan
After you've done all the background for your business coaching service, you need to compile a business plan. A business plan is a document that serves as a blueprint for your business and lays out all the details for the first few years of your operation. 2 Basically, you're taking all of the research and preparation you did and are putting it down on paper. You can use it as a reference once you get started of what to do and can be especially helpful if this is the first time you are starting and operating your own business by yourself.
You're going to want to make sure that your business plan fits with what you need for your business coaching service. Clients that run their own business are going to have a business plan for themselves, and you will probably need to be familiar with the concept for your coaching. Most business owners and operators will have their goals for their business in their plan, so it will definitely come up at some point during a session.
While your business plan will be specified for your business coaching service, you should still follow the standard outline used by others. It is typically broken up into seven parts, all covering elements of the business and the desires you as the owner have for it. 3 Much of what you will include in your business plan is covered by the information in the rest of this article.. You are able to use a template for your business plan-many do for the sake of time and convenience-from the internet or through your word processing program. If you have Microsoft Word, you can search "business plan" when you open a new document and it will present you with the basic formatting for a business plan. However you should include sections that cover the following:
- Executive Summary and Business Description-Your business plan should start with an executive summary detailing the contents of the plan itself. It should then be followed by a section describing your business. Include things like what it does, how it does it, and what your role is in it.
- Financial Information-This section should include any and all financial planning information. Think of it in terms of start-up funding, price setting, billing, taxes, overhead costs, and profits. You should also include information as to how you plan to manage your service's finances, like bookkeeping methods and policies.
- Your Business Structure-Covered further in this article, your business structure will include things like your daily operations, company policy, and your overall set-up for your coaching service.
- Marketing Plans-Think about who your audience is and how you will reach them. What are you going to do to get their attention when you first open up for business? How are you going to keep it? How are you going to expand your audience in one year, two years, three years, and so on?
- Plans for Growth-You want to think about your future goals for your business coaching service in this section. What growth do you want to see and how are you going to achieve it? It is recommended that your business plan cover, at minimum, through to five years operation. 4 Your business plan is also not a strict agenda for those five years, as it's more of a guideline and changes can be made to it at any time.
- Legal Information-Focus on things like your licensing-both for coaching and for operating a business-tax information, insurance policies for the business and any employees, and liability. You may even want to include information about any contracts your clients will need to sign for your services.
Structuring Your Business
As part of the planning stage of your business coaching career and service, you need to decide how the business itself will be structured. This is one of the most important aspects of starting your coaching service as it will shape your daily business routine. Most of what you include in your business structure will be permanent, like your service's name. Spending a little extra time and care with your business structure is always a good idea, and will be well worth it in the long run.
- Naming Your Business-Choosing a name for your business coaching service is crucial because it will become a permanent part of your professional identity. Even if you are choosing to function in a capacity similar to that of a freelance agent, you will still need an operational name for the sake of legal paperwork.
You want to make sure that the name you choose is going to not only be something you like-you will be stuck with it for some time, even if you change it-and is appropriate for business coaching. You may also want to make sure that it will not cause any confusion for potential clients, especially if it is similar to the name of another business or company.
- Standard Operations-Standard operations is going to include anything related to the organization of the business. 5 This will include aspects such as business hours, location, hierarchy if you have employees involved, and anything else involved in your business coaching service' day-to-day. It should not only be clear enough for you to understand and follow, but any employees and investors you may involve with your coaching service should be able to as well.
Your standard operations should not be a strict schedule for each business day, but rather a basic outline that can be added to and adjusted when necessary. If you are going to be available to clients five days a week, then which days will it be and for how long during each day? If there are certain things you want to accomplish weekly, what are they and when will they need to be done by? Determining what your standard operations will be is going to keep you on track while you work; they will eventually become a part of your business routine.
- Policies-The policies you include in your business structure should cover aspects like customer service and business function. They are the rules you establish for your business so you can retain a degree of order in your operation. Think about how you will interact with clients. What standards will be in place for your service? What is your plan of action in the event of a client wants to terminate a contract? What is your plan of action in the even you want to terminate the contract with the client? Look at what limitations you have legally as a business operator, what limitations you have as a person, and what limitations you want to have for your business.
Some business coaches set the policies for their coaching service to keep themselves in line. They may have a policies about client relations, such as how many clients they will allow themselves to work with at any given time or the maximum amount of time that they can dedicate to a single client. Such a set of policies can be vital to keeping yourself from taking on too much at once or from falling behind on your work.
You may include policies for employees, especially if you plan to grow your business coaching service. This could include policies governing human resources aspects such as hiring and terminating staff, roles and responsibilities, and how to handle complaints against staff members from clientele.
What Do You Plan to Offer?Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Business Coaching course?
As part of getting started with your business coaching career and creating your coaching service, you will need to think about what it is you plan to offer. Simply saying that you will offer business coaching services is too vague and will not provide enough information for your clients. That information is going to be useful in multiple different aspects of your coaching career, so it is incredibly important for you to figure it out.
- RE: Niches-You will need to determine if your business coaching will fit into a specific niche, if any. It is perfectly acceptable to offer general business coaching services and not focus on a specific industry. However, you need to make sure that you and your service is actually communicating that information to your audience.
- Who Is Your Audience?-Once you know what it is you are offering, you need to then figure out if it is what your audience wants. What you offer will appeal to a certain audience and you need to make sure that the two match. If you are specializing in business coaching for clients who are small business owners, you should not be directing your services to an audience made up of corporate CEOs and executives.
Business Requirements and Necessities
You will not be able to operate as a business coach if you do not have all the requirements to run your own service. After you have become certified as a business coach and begun the process of starting your own coaching service, you will need to work towards meeting all of the correct requirements and supplies to operate.
This article will discuss the different requirements you may have to meet in order to start working with clients as a business coach. Aspects such as licensing, tax information, supplies, and legal issues are included below. However, the following includes information for a general business coaching service only. It does not cover any additional requirements you may have for any specializations you choose to offer or those set forth through local laws.
Licensing & PermitsThe licensing requirements you will need for your business coaching service should largely be universal throughout the United States, but there may be additional conditions on the local and state levels. As you set out to start your business coaching service, you should investigate what local government officials require for business licensing and what is required by your state government.It is highly recommended that you obtain all of the necessary licensing and permits required to operate your coaching service before you open for business. You should also keep track of how long your licenses and permits will last and take note of when they are up for renewal to avoid lapsing on them.
- Business Operating-Your business coaching services should not need to be monitored and regulated by a specific federal agency, thus exempting you from any special federal permits. 1 The main licensing you will probably need will simply be a business operating license through your state. Typically, you will only need a license through the state your operation is based in. For example, if your coaching service is located in New Jersey, then your business license will be through New Jersey and you will need to meet their licensing requirements. 2
Business operation license requirements will also be determined by the type of business. Coaching services do not need a specific license, but they will fall into certain legal categories. This will be determined by your business structure. 3 As a business coach, you will most likely be operating alone and will qualify as a sole proprietor. Depending on the requirements of the state you are operating in, you may count as a limited liability company (LLC) or some other classification.
- Business Location-If you are planning on having a physical office space for your coaching service, you will also need to have the correct permits and licensing for that space. Using a retail or commercial space for your business coaching service allows you to meet with clients and keep your business operations separate from your personal life. Most office locations will need to have been zoned for commercial use beforehand, or certified for commercial purposes if they are repurposed spaces.
A landlord for a rented commercial space will often require you to show proof that you are fully licensed. They should have all the correct paperwork filed and up-to-date for their property to be used for business purposes, including all permits and zoning requirements as determined by the state and local government. This should include things like safety requirements for things like fire codes, structural safety, and so on. Be sure to check for this information before you sign any leasing agreement. Likewise, if you purchase rather than rent a space for your business coaching service, make sure that you have all of the necessary permits filed before opening it for business.
Tax information is another aspect of your business requirements that you will need to prepare for your business coaching service and career. The taxes for your business coaching service will be affected by things such as the service's legal classification and your role in the service. Things such as whether or not you have a partner involved in your business, if you are part of a coaching firm, or if you operate as an independent contractor will determine tax information like the types of forms you fill out and how you are taxed.
- Classification-As stated earlier, every business falls into a different classification. Your classification will be dependent on how your business is structured and the aspects of its ownership. Most business coaches operate as a small business or are classified as self-employed. Those who are self-employed will often have their services categorized by the IRS as a sole proprietorship, meaning you are the sole owner of the business. 4
All tax information-forms, returns, quarterly payments, etc.-are your responsibility as the business owner. Depending on how you operate your business coaching service, you may be eligible for certain deductions or be required to pay certain taxes. If you are a sole proprietor or independent contractor, you will most likely have to keep your business and personal tax filings separate.
- Employees-The inclusion of employees to your business coaching service, even if they are not other coaches, will change your tax classification. Thus, your tax information will change and you may have to resubmit your business information to the IRS when the business goes through periods of growth.
If you have employees under your care at any time in your business coaching career, you will need to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes. All businesses, regardless of the number of employees under their care, must apply for an EIN. Your employees will need to know your EIN for their own tax purposes, so it is best to get it set up as soon as possible.
Equipment and Supplies
For business coaching, there really isn't any required equipment or supplies that you must have to operate your coaching service. Your main product is your coaching skills and abilities, which isn't something you can get from the store or from a supplier. However, you may need certain pieces of equipment and supply items based on how you have your service set-up.
It is entirely your decision if you want to have any additional equipment or supplies as part of your business coaching career. Many coaches are fine using their own abilities and nothing more, but there are options if you are not comfortable with that or if your service expands to the point where that is no longer possible. The following are simply suggestions that you can do with what you will.
- Daily Operations-Standard supplies for a business coach will depend on if you have a physical location that you operate out of. A space where you meet with clients will need, at minimum, furnishings and fixtures. Think about what you need to make your clients feel comfortable and welcomed in the space. Also include items for the comfort of any employees you have-storage space for their personal effects, their own set of any tools they may need-and for your own comfort as well. You may also want things like cleaning supplies for the up-keep and maintenance of the space.
If you work out of a home office, you will mainly need basic office equipment. Electronic items like a computer, printer, fax, and phone are common and can be customized to your needs. Items like writing utensils, stationary, and other office tools are fairly easy to come by and can simply be acquired at any local store that carries business or office supplies.
- Travel-Some clients require you to travel to where they are for their coaching sessions. This can sometimes require equipment and supplies, even if it's just a reliable car with a full tank of gas. Depending on how far you need to travel to meet with your clients, you may need more. Typically, you will need professional equipment like a briefcase or portfolio to protect documents and other materials that you may bring with you.
If you plan on attending conferences and conventions, you will need travel supplies for them. Often, this includes travel-ready containers for any other supplies that you want to bring-especially if you have marketing or informational materials to distribute. You will obviously need personal supplies for the duration of the conference or convention, which will be entirely up to you.
- For Coaching Sessions-Supplies and equipment required for coaching sessions will depend on your coaching style and the content of the session. Some coaches will simply use visuals for their sessions-usually in a digital format for ease of access, but occasionally will use hardcopy items like handouts-and tools for activities. If you decide to use such items and make them yourself, then you will need the necessary materials.
As stated above, you will then need something to put them in to safely move them from location to location. You will also need equipment for storing those items when they are not in use, even if it's just shelving or a covered storage container. You will want to make sure that the equipment you are using to store any of your coaching materials is going to be sturdy and can withstand some degree of damage being inflicted upon it.
- Bookkeeping and Marketing-Most bookkeeping supplies and equipment you will need for your business coaching career can be digital, so long as you have a functioning computer that is compatible with the software you use. Programs like QuickBooks, which is designed for business bookkeeping, can be found through any store that carries business supplies or software. You should consider items like USB flash drives or a portable hard drive for storing your bookkeeping data or for back-up purposes.
For marketing, it depends on if you do your own marketing and what strategies you use. If all of your marketing is online, then the only equipment you'll really need is a computer and a reliable internet connection. Any software programs that you need to make marketing materials, if you are not hiring someone else to make them for you, will also be necessary equipment. Printed marketing materials like business cards, signs, and flyers will need the correct equipment to make-again, unless you are using an outside source to make them-and store them in between usage.
Whatever equipment and supplies you deem necessary for your business coaching, you should make sure that they are in good condition and come from reputable sources. You should not need to go through a supplier for any of your equipment. However, any supplies that you go through quickly-basic office supplies like printer paper, for example-may be best bought in bulk. Some retailers, like Amazon and Costco, offer rewards programs where you can get your necessary supplies in bulk or get regular access to discounts and deals on orders.
You may find that there are no licensing or certification requirements specific to business coaching. While there are coaches who operate without certification or who suggest that it is not necessary, coaching without some level of certification is not recommended. 5 Certification legitimizes you as a professional who knows what they are doing. Without certification, you may be potentially putting yourself at risk for legal issues with your clients, like liability.
Liability is the degree to which you are responsible for something by law. Many professionals, as added protection, seek liability insurance for their businesses and themselves regardless of profession or industry. The insurance serves to cover businesses and business owners in the event that they are sued for liability and provide some cushion from the legal fallout of a lawsuit. It can be applied for anyone associated with your business, including-but not limited to-clients and employees.
For your business coaching, you will most likely have some type of contract between you and the client that certifies that you will provide a service to the client in exchange for payment. From a legal standpoint, the contract holds you and the client liable for your respective responsibilities in your business arrangement. If you fail to uphold your end of the contract, you will be seen as in violation of the law and your client may then act upon it through legal action. As such, it is highly recommended that you look into any legal protection, like liability, for your business coaching career and treat it as a necessity. It's like having a fire extinguisher or first aid kit in your home; you may never need to use it, but you still want to have it there just in case.