Achieving product-market (or client) fit is one of the most important objectives for an entrepreneur yet it is also one of the least understood concepts. Eric Ries author of The Lean Startup describes it as “the moment when a startup finally finds a widespread set of customers that resonate with its product.”
While it can become very technical and more involved, there are some simple questions you can start with to uncover more insight into the viability of your coaching products and services.
Here are five really simple questions you can ask yourself, about your ideal clients, to learn more about the viability of your offer:
1. What would transform my client’s lives?
People pay professional coaches to experience a transformation that is a direct outcome of working with you. What product or service will you provide that can impact this change? This is your first step in defining what you have to offer as a life or business coach.
2. What problem (i.e., pain point) can I solve for them?
As human beings, we set goals to move in a specific direction–either away from something painful or to get closer to something we desire.
Dive into these two factors and how they relate to your ideal clients. What is painful for your client along with the associated consequences? How can your product or service help them move away from it?
For example: If you’re a life coach helping mothers heal from overwhelm and emotional guilt, dive into all the results this mindset and how it tangibly impacts their lives (e.g., weight gain, resentment towards their child, arguments with their spouse, depression, etc.).
3. Can my ideal clients pay?
Sometimes, a product or service would be great for the audience you want to reach, but those who need it most can’t afford it.
Pricing your product or service and developing a revenue model that serves your mission and your clients is an important step. If your pricing is out of step with your ideal client’s ability to pay for it, you will have a hard time selling.
The reality is, “There is no business in your business model without revenue,” according to Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean. If you intend to charge for your product or service, you should start testing pricing asap. Your findings may result in a change of audience or a change in your offer.
4. Are my ideal clients willing to pay?
There’s a difference between someones ability to pay and their willingness to pay. Do your ideal clients realize they need your solution? If so, are they willing to pay for it?
For example, a potential client may feel they are overweight and can afford your weight loss program. However, a client may not be willing because it’s not a priority at this time. There are emotional links attached to weight gain. These subconscious mechanisms may have prevented them from being successful with past weight loss solutions.
Learn what prevents them from moving forward and remove those barriers to make your offer as frictionless as possible.
Of course, by refining your messaging, you could show them why it’s a priority or how to remove emotional links or make them discover what these mechanisms are, but you have to remember your ideal client needs to be willing to change their situation and pay for a transformation.
5. Is their pain worth my price?
If the pain point you’re trying to solve isn’t powerful enough to move your client to action and a value-packed solution, you won’t sell your products or services at an ideal price.
3 essential startup steps for life and business coaches
After you answer these five preliminary questions about your ideal clients, take three critical steps:
1. Conduct more market research and validate your assumptions
Market research is not a luxury, it’s mandatory if you want to create a profitable business. A lot of businesses fail because they overlook or ignore this step.
You have a great business idea but you need to co-create with your potential clients and ask the market for feedback to make sure your product or service will be successful. Market research and customer validation are key to selling to the right customers at the right price. It’s time to find out whether your assumptions are true or false. At this stage, you find out who your customers are and how to reach them.
2. Do your personal mindset work
Most life and business coaches have to do the important self-work upfront. This includes eliminating fears and self-sabotaging mental blocks that prevent you from achieving success.
Sometimes we simply aren’t confident in our abilities to turn our passion into a successful business.
To become successful, you need to train yourself to find a solution to every problem, including your own. Your mindset work will expand your creativity and help renew your ability to create brilliant products and services. Instead of saying, “I can’t” shift your mindset and ask, “How can I?”
3. Start today with persistent small steps
Take small consistent actions and focus on those actions every day. To be successful, think, “I will never give up on my business” no matter what, like Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group.
Gaelle Lecourt is a Freedom & Business Coach who mentors high-achieving women who are unfulfilled in their career to create their thriving online coaching business so they can have the financial and personal freedom to do what they love while traveling anywhere in the world. She lives between the USA, France and Mexico every year. She is a big self-care advocate in business and finds her happiness in playing with her nieces, massages, chocolate, flowers, the blue of the Caribbean Sea and the beach, and sushi.