Start with the End in Mind
This is not just great advice from Steven Covey, it’s essential when we are building a business. We should have a good idea of what we want to have when we are done. Otherwise – like building a house without a blueprint – the process is much longer and more expensive than it should be.
So here is the blueprint for a great business:
And here is what the various elements mean:
- Vision: a clear idea of where we are going, and why we do what we do . Ideally it’s a mission customers admire and can get behind, and become fans of. It;s about giving the business a personality. Apple, I’m looking at you circa 1989.
- Content Pool: a pool of useful content that will help your customer be, do or have more of what they want. We need to know as much as possible about our customer’s threats and opportunities, so we can become their trusted expert.
- Potential Customers: It’s important we define who our target groups are, what they like, who they are likely to be interested in – things which which help us put our message in front of them as cheaply as possible.
- Engagement: This is about creating routes to our target folks, identifying them by what we know and then establishing a relationship as someone who can help. Social media, per-per-click, YouTube, emails, referrals, affiliate deals
- Lead Magnets: Ebooks, optins – these are information or experience-based consumables that we gift to the customer in return for the opportunity to communicate with them.
- Ad Cost Liquidating Micro Offers: bit of a mouthful, but these are simply small products or service offerings we use at the point of opt-in to get back some of our marketing spend. That means our budget goes further – and we reach more people.
- Engagement Value Sequences: there are two key reasons why people won’t always buy straight away. This first is that they don’t need it right now, the second is they are slow to trust and choose. In either case, we want to have a valuable conversation with them that positions us as a trusted expert, and gives us opportunities to walk them towards a conversion funnel.
- Conversion Funnels: This is where we get them to take action. The conversion funnel can take many forms: live event, landing page, webinar, phone call etc – but in all cases the aim is the same: the customer needs to want what we offer more than they value that amount of money in their pockets.
- Upsell & Cross-Sell: Each customer will have a different budget and appetite for what you have. They will also have other needs – other opportunities for us to serve them profitably. Getting this bit right is a balance between not leaving any “money on the table”, and not ruining the relationship by seeming too grabby.
- Continuity Products: These are sources of regular income such as membership site, newsletters and the like, that give people regular doses of what they need in return for a regular income for you. These can be very useful income backbones for your business.
- Low-Cost Products: these are what we would refer to as 1 to many products. Group training, digital products – all of these are things where you can leverage your knowledge and expertise without hitting a capacity ceiling.
- High-Value Services: By and large, the more personalised a service becomes, the more expensive it is, because you take up more time and focus. 1:1 coaching & tuition, inner circle programmes, implementation services – these are the services where we charge more because it costs more to scale up, and also because the value to the client is much greater.
- Resell/Referral: When it comes to reselling, there are lots of companies that miss the trick of selling to the customer again. With referrals, this is where we can access other customers through our existing customers. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of advertising – and we can help that along.
- Affiliated Products & Services: This is where we can – with permission – connect our customers to other businesses that supply complimentary services.
When we put this engine together properly, then we get a number of benefits:
- Lower advertising costs
- Happier, more engaged customers
- Faster growth
- Higher profitability
- Better reputation
- Happier and longer term staff
But there are a number of other points which will help this come together beautifully.
Go for a Win-Win – where you profitably serve your customers
Companies that properly balance a concern for the customer’s success with their own are the ones that win, especially in this day and age. That has to be the core ethos of your business.
We win and the customers lose: we go out of business because we never get to have a long term relationship with customers, and all we’ve done is spend money to recruit a growing number of brand critics.
We lose and the customers win: then we go out of business real quick.
We win, and the customers win: everyone’s life is better because we are around for longer to serve the client.
Try to be the most expensive, but also at the same time the best value for money.
When it comes to marketing, we want to be the company that can afford to pay most for the client. Most advertising platforms, especially the online ones, operate on an auction basis. The more we can pay for a click, the more we will get.
When we go cheap, we limit the reach we can achieve. We also run the risk of running out of money, because the cost of customer acquisition takes a huge chunk out of your income. Killed by cashflow.
The best approach is rather than say – how can I charge as little as possible – we say – how can I add the most value – and thereby charge the most for it.