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The First Session

The overall goal of the first session is that the client walks away with three things: 

  • Clarity on their goal

  • Clarity on where they stand

  • Hope


You must be able to show the client their cumulative business results. This includes cash flow, profits, and revenue. You are looking for things to celebrate, but also things to mourn. You may find out the client's business has made barely enough to live on, or worse, drained their savings. If you pull nothing else, be sure to pull cumulative cash flow, owner wages, profit, and revenue. Put these data points on a nice trend line and have these trends ready to share on a big screen or already drawn on a whiteboard but not labeled.


  • Review agenda with them

    • Review company performance & project

    • Explore possibilities to improve

    • Set goals

  • Setting goals

    • Brainstorm these goals and write them down on a whiteboard or type them out in a word doc. It's important that the client can see these as you identify them.

    • Key questions:

      • Why did you start your business/purchase this business?

      • How much would you like to retire on?

      • How much do you need to live on?

      • Do you have any major purchases? (Beach house, RV, etc.)

      • Do you have a target exit sale price?

      • When do you plan to exit your business?

      • Where do you hope your business will be in 3 years? 1? Bring the life-long goals down to tangible 1-3 year targets.

      • Where does the profit need to be in 1 and 3 years to make good strides towards the big goals?

      • Write down a 1-year profit and cash flow target

    • Classify goals into 1, 3, 5, and 10 year buckets.

  • Review company financial performance

    • Show those trends you put together

    • Point out any gaps between the 1-year profit and cash flow goals to current reality.

    • Project where current financials will lead in 1 year.

    • Most likely, there will be a gap and some change is needed. Clearly state: "Based on your current trajectory, you are not going to hit your goals. Something must change. Do you agree?"

    • If you have a subscription to BizMiner or another data benchmarking membership, leverage comparing key industry data like payroll %, rent %, advertising %, SDE %, net profit %, GP % to their own ratios. This may indicate areas for improvement.

  • Explore possibilities to improve

    • When was their last price increase? Do they know how their price compares to competitors?

    • What is their own version of productivity %? Do they have wasted staff capacity/room to grow? Many entrepreneurs fall prey to the "I'm busy so let me hire people."

    • What % of their revenue is recurring vs. project only. Cost of sales is real.

  • End the meeting 

    • Summarize their goals, current performance, and 1-3 actions they can take this month or quarter to improve.

    • Don't overwhelm them with too many goals. You may identify well over 10 things they can do to improve but start small. Cover other items in the next coaching session.

    • Ask for feedback. You can do this by asking them to rate the effectiveness of this meeting on a scale of 1-10.

    • Schedule the next meeting, or even better, set these up as recurring meetings to take the scheduling hassle out of it.

  • Document your notes 

    • Save in your CRM or office client file cabinet.


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