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Starting a Business by Marcie Thomas

Mar 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Web Marketing Guest Posts

This is a guest post by Marcie Thomas, President of

typingatkeyboardStarting is a business is not for the faint at heart. While this list is certainly not comprehensive, it’s a fair stab at the major decisions new coaches will make within the first few months of launching their business.

There is no “golden rule” to how to make these decisions. Some coaches take their time, reviewing each decision very thoroughly. Others make decisions very quickly.

There is no hard and fast order, either. Caveat that statement with some grace: You need to have a pretty clear vision for your business. However, that vision can be tweaked and modified as opportunities arise. Likewise, you may decide on a certain tagline in the first month, only to change it three months later.

It’s important to remember to have fun in the journey. Do your homework, but don’t get bogged down and lose the passion for what you are called to do.

Here’s a check-off list to chart your progress.

  • Vision – Is it clear? What services will your offer and to whom and will they pay you for it? Will this pay the bills? Can you envision yourself in the role of a paid coach in 6 months, when?
  • Business Structure (Independent Contractor, LLC, etc.) – This decision should be made fairly soon and usually with the advice of a lawyer. For resources on the distinction between the two check out An LLC affords you more protection, but accounting and state requirements may add an additional layer of paperwork.
  • Insurance – Advised for this growing field.
  • Business Plan – It doesn’t have to be an albatross, but it needs to show feasibility.
  • Accounting Practices – Check with your accountant.
  • Bank Account – It’s important to keep separate financial records if you become an LLC.
  • Business Name – This is the fun part.
  • Domain Name – Can be the same, similar or different than your business name. Aka the url/web address. Check for availability.
  • Your Services – Identify what makes you unique. Your unique selling points. What you have to offer?
  • Niches – Pick 2-4. You need different pools from which to generate income.
  • Build Awareness – Speaking, article writing? How will you make your presence known? Businesses that are a secret don’t get launched.
  • Target Audiences – Who are the folks who will most likely be interested in what you have to offer? Where are they located. Get in their space, somehow. Call them, join their group. Connect with them. Speak for them. Just don’t be a secret. Find 3-5 ideal target audiences that will bring the highest ROI. Drop all the others. Look for connections that will lead to greater connections. Brainstorm with your coach.
  • Unique Marketing Message – Write down the benefits coaching brings to your target group. Balanced lives, greener pastures, finding a life purpose, etc. Start to build your UMM. Be clear on your solutions. Let that be your mantra on every marketing piece of material. My website is a good example of how to communicate in terms of benefits. I’m clear on my solutions. I’m speaking to the gap in my clients lives.
  • Branding – It’s the visual/artsy look and feel packed with elements of the UMM that trickles down into the logo, website, and brochures.
  • Tag Lines – Get creative but stay with your theme.
  • Business Cards – Let the branding flow to your business card.
  • Testimonials – It’s not too soon to start collecting testimonials. Why? They build credibility. I collected my first testimonial from…guess what…my first client.
  • Website – I hope I’ve not lost you in the maze of things to do. Here is where most coaches almost give up. For the past three years, I’ve noticed a trend among new coaches starting their businesses. Its seems that when they get to the website stage, they’ve depleted their energies and their passion for starting their businesses begins to wane. They’ve been pushing and pushing for several months to birth this baby, and it seems they are still not there. In reality, they are doing a tremendous amount of work in a very short time period and usually with very little business or marketing background. It’s easy to underestimate how difficult a task can be that you’ve never done before. That’s why it’s extremly important to secure the resources you need to be successful. Find a good web designer, find a marketing coach. Get what you need.
  • Software – You may need Outlook or accounting software like Quicken or Quickbooks.
  • Payment Methods – How are your clients going to pay you. Available options are PayPal? PracticePay Solutions, QuickBooks Merchant Account to name a few?
  • Secure a mailing address – Do you feel more secure with a PO box instead of your home address? Some clients do? Just something to think about.
  • Phone, Fax – Will you use a headset, landline, cell phone? Do you want to be accessible to clients after hours? Will you use a fax? What if your email goes down? Have you thought about contingency planning in case of emergency power outages?
  • Location – Home or rented office space? Have you weighed the advantages/disadvantages to both?
  • Office Equipment – Computer, internet connection, long distance, fax, phone, filing cabinet, desk, paper, pens, printer. In today’s virtual world, you don’t need much to get started.

Well, hopefully you still want to start a business after reviewing this list. It’s not really that bad. I do want to encourage you: Once you think through your business vision, identify your niches, locate you target audiences, become keen on what makes you unique and how you will share your unique marketing message with your target audience, things will start to come together.

Partnering with a coach around these types of questions NOW, will benefit you greatly and you move towards that vision for your business.

Authors footnote: In re-reading my article, my mind drifted back to the time when I developed the marketing plan for COACHINGshift. I had identified my niche, my target audiences, mapped out the path for how to become an expert in my field, yada, yada. I created my own website and wrote my first ebook and had plans for how to generate leads all in the first 4 months of building my business…while working full time.

Sounds great eh! Well, I’m here to humbly admit something: I got ahead of God.

I was so busy trying to prove that my own business success would be the best testimonial for what I could offer others, and getting ready for that first client, that somewhere along the line, He got left behind.

He had to slow me down (in His grace) so that He could lead me once again. So, I write this to you just to ask you to let the Lord lead you in building your business.

I still have my marketing plan, but God trumps my plan. Since I’ve stopped focusing on do, do, do, do, He’s opened doors that were not on my plan…and he’s closed doors that were on my plan. Planning is wisdom, but God’s wisdom is higher than ours.

I hope this blesses you and helps lessens any anxiety or stress from building your business. Our God is an awesome God and he does equip the called.

The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9


marcieMarcie L. Thomas is president of Marcie draws on over 12 years combined experience in training, human resource development, marketing, coaching, and business startup. As an active participant in several coaching groups and forums, Marcie understands the challenges and rewards coaches encounter as they market their businesses and has developed a very practical approach to overcoming the challenges and maximizing the rewards. Marcie is the co-host of the monthly Coaches’ Power Lunch and author of The Coaches’ Successful Guide to Marketing, and is a guest speaker on the topics of marketing mindset, developing a marketing plan, e-marketing success, and developing a unique, content-rich marketing message.

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