There is much talk these days about social networking as a way to build your coaching business. Using tools like FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote your business can be very profitable and can also be a tremendous waste of time. The more I learn about social networking and use it in my business, the more I am reminded of the need for strategic thinking before plunging into any new marketing avenue. So today’s post is about strategic thinking – what it is, why it matters and how to do it.
Strategic thinking is all about mindset and how you approach the running of your coaching business. It is the idea that you have a vision as an entrepreneur and take the time to develop a plan on how you will get there. First, this means you focus on long term and not just short term issues. This requires you to think about your business as a system. Each decision is impacting other decisions and so to be effective you must have a handle on the big picture. When you think strategically, you carefully assess resources, weaknesses and opportunities for your business and base your plan on this analysis. If your plan is developed strategically, it also includes the concept of leveraging – how to use what you have for maximum effectiveness.
This type of thinking utilizes the best of both sides of your brain. You must be able to be creative and intuitive in deciding where you want to go and how to get there. At the same time, it is important to be able to analyze the path, make regular reviews and take stock of true progress of your coaching business so you can make appropriate course corrections.
Strategic thinking is about finding the best possible answers for the actual conditions you find yourself in. It is vital to be able to bounce ideas off others, both trusted advisers and members of your target market, in order to succeed. Strategic thinking involves the careful application of your best hypotheses about success. You must be able to examine your assumptions, question your belief systems and be open minded to new and different ideas in order to do this. The growth of your business will be more rapid if you make input from informed others a large piece of the process.
Many coaches operate on the “next new thing” system of marketing instead of thinking strategically. Consider our example of using social networking as a marketing tool. Here are some of the strategic questions to ask yourself -
What is my goal for using this strategy?
How do I target my niche using social networking?
How do I attract prospects to my business using social networking?
How do I move prospects from the social networking site to my own contact list?
Strategic thinking requires time and effort and so it is often a neglected area for the busy coach. It is easy to overlook planning or let it get put on the back burner because of urgent matters. Instead, put your strategic planning time into your calendar in pen – don’t allow anything else to get in the way. No matter who that successful person is that you admire in your field, I can guarantee you that they have achieved success because they had a goal and a game plan on how to achieve it. Success does not come from shots in the dark; success comes from having a blueprint and the wisdom to adjust it when needed.
About the author – Janet Slack of Life Adventure Coaching is a specialist in helping new coaches, therapists and consultants create the thriving business of their dreams. Get her free weekly business development tips at www.biztipsforcoaches.com.