How to start your first coaching business?

Education is an industry that can never see bad days - no amount of recession or pandemic can stop people from studying and upskilling. People are always looking to learn and upskill in order to grow and earn. Whether it's a professional skill or a hobby, courses such as coding, baking, music, sculpting, painting, or even teaching school subjects are always in demand. Like most activities on earth today, consumers can choose to learn in both physical as well as virtual classes. This allows educational professionals to consider a global audience for their business. E-learning marketplace, as per studies, is pegged to be a trillion dollar industry by 2028.

Now that you know the worth of the industry, it is time to sharpen your skills and wear the teaching hat. But how would you go about starting your coaching business? Let us take a look at a few things to keep in mind to start the journey:

1. Market assessment: The foremost thing to do when starting any business is to assess the market. Who is your audience? Where are they from? Their age group? What do they do? Where do they live? Who is your competition? How well/worse are they doing? What is the market price for a similar course? Is there enough demand for more players in the market? What are the complexities of setting up? Do you wish to teach a physical class or can you build a virtual course? And a lot more questions depending on what you wish to teach. Starting a martial arts coaching center that necessitates the physical presence of the teacher and the student in one place as against a baking class that can be taught online with the help of videos and recipes requires entirely different strategies. Make your business plan as detailed as possible.

2. Marketing: While most new businesses depend on word of mouth and referrals to grow in the initial stages, it's a limited strategy. This is the time when you can build your digital presence. The initial stages are when you have time and resources but a tight budget. This means you need to look for organic marketing options - both online and offline. Look for aggregator platforms that share virtual courses or local listing websites to list your physical coaching class. Start social media accounts for the business and promote the same with the help of your network. You can collaborate with local influencers in exchange for personal discount codes and free lessons, you can even take trial lessons in well-known coaching centers to get the audience talking. Look for innovative marketing avenues around, you'll always find an opportunity to promote your class. Some examples that we can think of - professional baking coaching classes can promote by giving away branded cookies and paper napkins that have the details of the class printed on them, offer branded uniforms to your martial arts students and take a class in the park to generate interest among people, and lastly, conduct social media giveaways for virtual coaching courses to get people talking about your course.

3. Enabling: Setting up a business is a lengthy process. From registering the business to investing in real estate, all major decisions are often complicated involving a ton of paperwork. Let's take a look at what goes into enabling both physical and virtual coaching classes.

A physical coaching class must invest in an excellent location. Whether it's your home or a rented space, the place must be accessible, affordable, and equipped with everything you require. Look for parking spaces, utilities, fixtures, area, etc. that are vital for your customers to learn. Customers must be able to sign up for the classes through multiple channels - whether they prefer travelling to your classes or opt for a phone call or even sign up online. Ensure you have automated online booking applications that can help schedule classes, accept registrations, and help manage the batches. Ensure that the application allows group bookings and automates calendar invitations to all participants. This will ease your process if you wish to manage large batches.

A virtual elearning course, on the other hand, must have a virtual address that customers can easily access. Whether you enable your classes with the help of online course aggregators such as Coursera or you build your own website and a meeting application, ensure the customer's ease of use. If your customers are happy to receive emails with meeting links, then that's your mode of teaching, if people prefer watching recorded videos as per their time, then you choose for an elearning platform - making your classes easily accessible to your audience is the key. Even for a virtual coaching session, it's important you manage registrations seamlessly. An automated scheduling application is the way to go. Applications such as Appointo help manage class schedules, registrations, calendar management, group bookings, and more.

4. Execution: While setting up the business and gathering registrations is a complicated affair, ensuring the coaching sessions go seamlessly is a whole other headache. From managing students to managing time, everything requires prior planning. Your customer satisfaction majorly depends on their experience at the learning center or during the coaching session. If your preferred channel of teaching is a recorded or live virtual session, build your teaching sessions in set time intervals. For example, if you're teaching a digital illustration skill through screen recordings, offer a set of four 20-minute recordings instead of a one-hour recording. Even though customers have the ability to pause and replay recordings, these pre-meditated intervals would help them understand better and follow the lesson. Similarly, for physical classes, build timetables and allot specific times for each of your lessons along with break times. Ensure that the students have broken every 20-30 mins, depending on the nature of the skill. Online scheduling software can also help build these smaller bite-sized sessions and allow participants to book their preferred slots for each. This helps manage the number of students and teachers availabilities as well as manage time.

5. Feedback and improvement: Lastly, a point that most businesses are aware of but tend to skip nonetheless- Feedback and improvement. Gather feedback from all your registered students, those who have attended and those who were not able to, asking specific questions and understanding their problems. Analyze constructive criticism and make changes where needed. Keep an eye out for repetitive complaints. These are also a wonderful way of collecting customer testimonials. While many would have pointers to offer for improvement, most of the time customers use this channel to share all the positive experiences and feelings they have about your coaching sessions.

Now that we have a few basics of starting a coaching business down pat, it's time to dust off your old guitar, clean up the old paintbrushes or brush your programming skills! No matter what you're good at, there are many who'd benefit from your teachings.

Tarang Agarwal

Designer by degree and developer by profession, a front end wizard who likes to keep things neat and clean for the clients