Whether you’ve already written and published a book, or you’re an aspiring author, you may be thinking, “How can I expand my book idea to create an actual business?” Or, you may have already started a business and are thinking, “How can I grow this business to become even more profitable?” We’ve got a four-step process to show you how to either create a new business, or how to grow your business by introducing new products.
How to Grow Your Business in 4 Steps
Now it’s a little bit unconventional, and it might seem like a strange order in which to do things, but we think if you think it through, and act carefully each step of the way, you will see how these steps — in the particular order that we lay them out here — make perfect sense.
1. Solve a problem.
When you run a business, you’re not simply selling products. Instead, you are solving problems for your customers. As you think about what type of business you want to create, or how to expand the business you already have, it’s essential that you can clearly and confidently define the problem you want to solve via your products or services.
Clayton Christensen, a bestselling author, Harvard Business Professor, and highly-sought-after business consultant calls this “Job-To-Be-Done” marketing:
“We realized that the causal mechanism behind a purchase is, ‘Oh, I’ve got a job to be done.’ And it turns out that it’s really effective in allowing a company to build products that people want to buy.”
To explain his theory, Christensen gives the example of a fast food chain that was struggling to sell milkshakes. After many failed attempts to increase their sales, they contacted Christensen. They did some research and discovered that 40% of the milkshakes were purchased first thing in the morning.
A further examination of this behavior, with the intent to answer the question, “Why are customers buying milkshakes?” revealed some amazing things:
“Most of them, it turned out, bought [the milkshake] to do a similar job,” Christensen said. “They faced a long, boring commute and needed something to keep that extra hand busy and to make the commute more interesting. They weren’t yet hungry, but knew that they’d be hungry by 10 a.m.; they wanted to consume something now that would stave off hunger until noon. And they faced constraints: They were in a hurry, they were wearing work clothes, and they had (at most) one free hand.”
So, what did this fast food company do?
After understanding the job to be done, the company responded by creating a morning milkshake that was even thicker (to last through the long commute) and more interesting (with chunks of fruit).
For the other milkshake purchases that happened later in the day, they found that the milkshake was bought as a treat for young children. To help fulfill this job, they created a thinner milkshake that could be consumed more easily by young children.
So, you must answer the question, “What problem is your business/product/service solving? What job is it being hired to do?”
To start, look at the reviews of your book (and/or reviews of similar books) to help you understand why people “hired” your book.
The more refined your understanding of the problem being solved, the better products and services you can provide—which will grow your business and increase sales.
2. Determine how to deliver the solution.
You may have determined what problem your customer wants solved, but if you don’t deliver it in the correct way, it won’t be received well.
For example, if you ordered a bowl of soup for dinner at a restaurant and it was delivered to you frozen, would you be happy? No!
How you deliver the solution to your customers’ problems is essential. If you’re selling an information product, think about potential methods of delivery. Do your customers prefer their solution delivered in the form of a:
- Online course?
- Consulting call?
- Virtual summit?
- Audio, Video, Text or all of the above?
What do they want? What is the most convenient way for them to consume the information (or physical product, if yours isn’t information-based)?
If you’re not sure, look at popular companies that are similar to your business. What are they doing? Which of their products are you inclined to buy?
If you’re still unsure of what’s popular, no problem! Simply type in the problem you identified in Step One into Amazon and Google. Whether that’s “stay awake at work,” “lose 10 pounds,” or “bored driving to work” (like the example above), the top results from both Amazon and Google will give you a good idea of what’s selling.
As an example, let’s say that you wanted to help teen girls learn different techniques to apply makeup. If you tried to deliver that information in an online course, you’d probably be unsuccessful. But if you type “learn to do makeup” into Google, you’ll see a slew of YouTube videos come up. This is the medium that your customers want their information delivered—free, and via YouTube, which is easily accessible on their computers and phones.
Dig just a little deeper, and you would know that your way of monetizing would be other companies endorsing you, advertising on your YouTube channel, and selling products to your viewers.
On the other hand, if you wanted to teach people about how to sell high-end real estate, an online course or a high-ticket consulting package would be prove to be more successful than YouTube videos. With such valuable products (houses, hotels, business buildings, etc.), people are going to trust information that they paid a lot of money for more than things that they found online for free.
After you’ve identified the problem you’re solving, you must figure out how to deliver the solution in a way that’s going to impress you customer and keep it easy for them to consume.
3. Launch before you build.
The advice “build it and they will come” rarely works. So many people launch a book or a product and it completely flops. No one buys it. And often it’s because people don’t even know that you’ve released a product!
To run a successful business, you do not have time for a failed launch. To combat this, you must build of an audience of people that want to buy your product, even before you build it.
Yes – that means that you can run Facebook ads for a product that doesn’t exist yet.
Yes – that means that you can create a website to sell a product that doesn’t exist yet.
Yes – that even means that you can collect money for a product that doesn’t exist yet.
You are definitely going to create the product, but only if people want it. (And if they don’t, then refunds are in order.) If your efforts to create a pool of people that want to buy your product or service only results in two people interested, you have some pretty solid social proof that you’ve either:
- Misdiagnosed the problem that your customers want solved
- Or, you’re delivering the correct solution in a wrong way.
Then it’s back to the drawing board. Make adjustments to your campaign and relaunch.
Once you have a solid number of people who have opted-in to your product or service, you know you can move ahead with product creation and sales.
Be forewarned: there’s a difference between people who say, “Yeah, I totally want your product” and people who say, “Yes, I want your product. Here’s my money.” If people are willing to pay, you know you’re on the right track!
Once you’ve gathered a paying audience, you can look forward to a successful launch.
4. Build and deliver the product.
Once you’ve gathered a solid customer base that’s waiting for your product, then go ahead and start creating your product or service. You’ll know it’s a good use of your time and that it will propel your business. Then deliver the goods, continue to collect money, and rinse and repeat the process while you watch your business grow to be more successful with every product that you launch.
PRO TIP: Launching a product can take a lot of work. But, if you automate the process, it can generate income for you indefinitely. Using a software tool like Deadline Funnel, or advertising your product in an automated email series will help generate continual sales.
If you’ve written a book, or you’re thinking about writing a book, you can create and grow a thriving business.
- Define what problem you are solving.
- Determine the best way to deliver the solution.
- Launch before you build.
- Build and deliver the product.
Following this process will improve your chances of success, and will allow you to continue being successful with every product or service that you launch.
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