Business Success

Are You a Donut Shop Jambalaya Coach?

November 14, 2013

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb

Donut Shop


Some friends were telling me recently about a donut shop in a small town in Florida. Every week, they pass by, and the sign out front always gets their attention. Why? Because it says things like this:


The Donut Shop – Jambalaya with chicken & sausage. French bread. $1.99.


And they wonder…is it a donut shop or a hot dog shop or a Creole restaurant or a grill or an Italian restaurant? The combined thought of donuts with Jambalaya, which is what the sign of the day implies, does not conjure up the singular tempting aroma of either dish. So even though they love donuts, they have never stopped there. The shop could make the best donuts in the world, but they are sending a mixed message.


Over the years, I’ve met a lot of “donut shop jambalaya” coaches. Our coaching sessions start like this:


“Hello, it’s very nice to be working with you. So tell me about your business.”


“Well, I’m a coach.”


“Great! What do you coach?”


“I’m a life coach.”


“Okay. So what kind of life coach are you?”




“Are you…a business coach?”


“Well, uh, yes, I guess so. Yes. Business is part of life, so…yes, I am a business coach.”


And then I say, “Can you describe to me your ideal client?”


“Yes…anyone. “


And then I know…Houston, we have a problem.


If there is one thing I’ve learned about starting a business, it is this: It forces you to define who you are and what you do for people in a very tangible way. And, quite frankly, if you don’t take the time to do that, you won’t have a business.


If you are a life-business-fitness-financial-spiritual-everything-to-everybody-anytime-anywhere-coach-consulting-storyteller, you will not make it.


You may spend thousands of dollars creating the perfect website, publishing a book, and creating a program. You may have hundreds of friends on social media, enviable direct advertising, and generous leads. But if you are not defined, all those efforts will result in zero engagement.


Here are three things you MUST define to create profitability in your business.


  1. You – You must learn your strengths, the very core of who you are.
  2. Your Message – You must define very clearly how those strengths will be used to help others at their point of need. There are three key words here: strengths, others, need. Knowing your strengths alone is not enough – that’s a business that is all about you. Wanting to help others is great. But the real “click” in your business profitability will come when you identify a need that you can fill – a problem you can solve for others using your strengths.
  3. Your Ideal Clients – You define who those others are – in explicit detail.


If you have successfully created these definitions, then your marketing simply becomes a function of you taking your message to your ideal clients where they are (social media and direct contact).


Here is an example:


Coach 1 – I am a coach. I love to help people. Call me for a free consultation.


Coach 2 – I am a motivational speakers’ coach. As a trained speaker with a media communications background, I help speakers define their brand, improve their presentation skills and image, create three unforgettable keynote presentations, generate professional quality promotional materials, and get booked on the five main speaker bureaus in the United States. I can take you from $0 to $100,000 in 6 months. Call me for a free consultation.


Which one will you be calling?


Or are you on your way to the donut shop?


  1. Natalie says:

    GREAT MESSAGE DEB!!!! Love this one! As always…right on time 😉

  2. Celeste Davis says:

    Deb this is the hardest thing for me. I keep working on it but for some reason it just doesn’t roll off my tongue yet! Thanks for making it clear-er…

  3. Deb, great post and timely. I get caught up in my wordiness and industry verbage that I can loose the audience’s interest and get them lost along the way. So this is quite helpful.
    I was fortunate to be in a branding session yesterday involving a strategy company. They also got lost in industry jargon. The branding expert showed his ability to listen and then say, “I hear you say, you assist leaders of top 50 companies have confidence in their decisions.” Wow! Everything stopped. They sell confidence and use strategy as the tool, instead of selling the tool. So may sellers of tools that the marketplace can not find out how you are unique. That was an eye opener for me.
    Thank you again for a wonderful post and reminder on branding a service.

  4. […] talked about this recently in the Donut Shop Jambalaya Coach blog. The issue there is one of an undefined […]