How to Scale a Coaching Business When Your Schedule is Full

30 Oct 2020

This is one of my favourite topics as there are three ways to scale when a coach’s diary gets filled up:

Increase Prices

Coaches can increase their fees in order to match demand. We’ve seen many of our clients who are still operating a one-to-one coaching model max out at between 15-20 clients and then panic because they automatically assume they’ve just reached their maximum earnings potential. The simple way to manage this is via Capacity Based Pricing i.e. if your capacity is 20 clients, when you hit 16 clients increase your fees (by 2-3x in some cases) because they’ve nothing to lose. Then every new client is enrolled at the higher rate.

Bring in Associate Coaches

The associate model is great because you can pay your associate coaches a rate and take a cut off their coaching sessions meaning you can enrol more clients than your own capacity. However this does then mean managing a small/large team of coaches but vastly increases capacity.

Create a Group Programme

It’s only ever ego which stops coaches creating a group programme; they believe their clients need THEM and ONLY them! Which isn’t true. Their superpower is in their process and ability to deliver predictable results and outcomes for clients. Creating a group programme allows them to be able to enrol multiple clients every month and deliver structured group coaching sessions with multiple clients on each call.

Watch the Full Video Here:

Jump to Specific Section in Video:

0:00 - How to Scale a Coaching Business
1:58 - Increase Your Coaching Fees
3:48 - Working With Associate Coaches
5:29 - Create a Group Coaching Programme
8:08 - Summary

One of the most common questions I get asked by coaches and consultants in our programme is:

What to do when your coaching practise or consulting business is full up and you can't take any more clients on?

Having capacity issues can never be a bad thing because it does create an awful lot of opportunities, but in the moment, it can be incredibly stressful to know how to manage your clients.

Well, we've uncovered three different ways that you can manage your capacity and scale your coaching or consultancy business so that you don't experience the same problems in the future.

One of the things we've noticed is that when people are operating on their own as a coach or consultant, typically, the one thing which gets filled up first and foremost is time. A lot of the coaches and consultants that we work with are:

  • incredibly good at what they do
  • they get amazing results for their clients
  • they love the job which they do
  • are incredibly intelligent people

Yet, despite these great attributes they are still selling their time at an hourly or day rate.

We see them rushing around like busy fools to satisfy maybe four or five days of coaching or consulting time, the rest of the month, the other 15 days is taken up by things like sales, marketing, networking, doing their books, day-to-day admin and managing their team if they've got a small team of PAs or VAs, virtual assistants on forth.

Very quickly when you're working on a limited capacity, and only able to deliver four or five days of work, you know, as soon as you get to 15 to 20 clients, your books are full.

And that means you can't take any more clients on.

There are three different ways that you can manage that capacity better and start to scale your coaching or consultancy business.

The first way is to look at your pricing

We've all heard about supply and demand. A simple price increase is one way to ensure that you manage and control demand for your product or service. The principle is that, the more expensive something is, the fewer people are going to buy it, but overall, you should be able to make the same, if not slightly more, money.

I know that most coaches and consultants that I work with would rather have half the clients but double the income, and that is perfectly feasible.

The simple way to manage capacity when you get 16-20 clients, and you're starting to realise that, “Oh gosh, it's a bit tight, we're struggling, we don't have the space to take on any more clients!” is to do something called capacity based pricing.

For example, if you've worked out that the most number of clients you can have in your coaching or consultancy business is 20 clients, and I've rounded these numbers up just to make it easy, what you need to do when you hit 16 clients is simply increase your prices.

I don't mean by 10 or 20%, but you could go with quite a dramatic price increase.

You could 2x, 3x, I've seen clients 5x or even 10x their prices when they start to hit and max out their capacity. The simple thought process of doubling or trebling your prices when you start to hit your max capacity is that at that point, you've got nothing to lose.

You've got 16 clients on your books. That means you've got positive cashflow coming through your business. If somebody says, “Yes!” at two or three times the price you're in a win-win situation.

Yes, they've taken up a bit of extra capacity, but they're paying for the benefit of being able to work with you when you are super busy.

From this point forward, every new client is then enrolled at that new rate. If you double or treble your prices, that means you can afford to have far fewer clients, and overall, you could start to reduce your capacity, but still make the same amount of money if not more.

The second way to scale a coaching or consulting business is to bring in associate coaches who can help you to deliver your work

One of the biggest benefits of enrolling associate coaches or consultants into your practise is that they will probably, if you've doubled or trebled your prices, be charging a typical hourly or day rate, which is what you started out charging when you opened up your coaching practise.

What that means is that you can charge out at your rates but hire associates in at a much lower rate. It means that there's extra profitability in there for your business.

Now, the key thing is making sure that the coaches and consultants that you bring in are trained up in your culture, your vision, your mission, and your core values so that they also deliver the same quality of work to the same ability that you would deliver it to your clients. What you don't want is to bring in associates who are producing a lower quality of output, and getting inferior results to you within your own programme, because that's going make you look bad.

One of the downsides to this though, so whilst you can make additional profit by selling out other people's time, the downside is that you've now got a small team of associates to manage and train, and bring up to speed with your systems and your processes and your way of working.

What this means is, that they will take up an extra bit of your capacity in terms of management, but for every hour that it takes up in managing and training your associates, it could mean that, they're taking five to 10 hours’ worth or equivalent of coaching, consulting time off your hands.

That's one hour of management for every 10 hours that your associate delivers. All the while you're making profit on every hour they deliver coaching to your client base.

The third and final way to scale a coaching practise or a consultancy business is to build out a group programme

There's one thing which stops coaches from building out group programmes, and that is their ego. They feel that they are tied to the result which they get for their clients, and therefore if you go into a group programme, for whatever reason, it's going to water down the results, which your coaching or consultancy clients get.

These coaches, who are driven by their own ego, believe that the results rely heavily on them and only them being heavily involved in the coaching process.

This, however, isn't true because their super power is in the intellectual property which they've created to deliver their coaching programme. It's the tools that you've got in your toolkit, which you deliver to your clients, and them being able to implement it, which is where the true result happens.

You might be a great coach or consultant and be able to come up with fantastic ideas, but the implementation is going to come down to your clients getting stuck in and doing some of that work for themselves.

One of the major benefits of having a group programme means that your capacity is effectively limitless. Where you may only be able to take on an extra one or two clients a month, suddenly you can enrol multiple clients each and every month onto your programme. It means that you can deliver structured coaching sessions to a group of people at the same time.

We all know about Napoleon Hill and Think and Grow Rich, and the mastermind effect, having multiple people around us, ideas are kind of simmering, bubbling away, and being brought to the surface, is helpful to everybody else from an accountability perspective.

The questions which one client may ask; other people in your group programme, maybe they're too afraid to ask or hadn't thought to ask. So everybody benefits from this mastermind effect of bringing knowledge in from multiple people and ideas and implementation.

A group programme enables you to be able to enrol multiple clients into your coaching or consulting business each month, without it impacting your ability to be able to deliver high quality coaching. And the reason for that is, imagine a scenario where you're doing a coaching session, for example, which is 90 minutes or a couple of hours with a client. It's very energetic, it takes an awful lot of energy out of you, and if you're doing multiple coaching sessions each day, day in and day out, it's going to zap you of energy over time.

Whereas in a group coaching programme, you can throw absolutely everything at a two hour coaching or mastermind session, with a group of clients, and they benefit from that extra energy and that mastermind effect, rather than your energy being watered down across multiple clients sessions.

There you have it. If you've reached a point whereby your coaching or consulting business is starting to hit maximum capacity, there's three different ways there which you can use to scale your coaching or consulting business.

The first way you could look at implementing a fearless pricing increase, double or treble your prices to manage capacity. And for every client you take on, win-win, what a great result.

The second way is to bring in associate coaches or consultants into your practise. And what this does is it enables you to be able to charge out at your full rates, whilst paying your associates, maybe a slightly lower rate. It means you can profit, and your time is much better leveraged.

And the final way is to create a group programme. This means that you can have a limitless number of clients coming through your programme over a set period of time, and everybody then benefits from that mastermind effect, and your energy levels can be thrown into delivering a single coaching call on a weekly or monthly basis with all of your clients.

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