How to simplify your business offers without feeling fenced in

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A characteristic of Architects of Liberatory Change is seeing the complexity in big problems.

Pair that with creative entrepreneurs who identify as a Multipod (someone with different creative interests and pursuits), and you often get  one business offering products and services that span a range of audiences, solutions and subject areas.

What this means on a day-to-day basis for you as a business owner is:

  • Juggling talking about a lot of different topics to different audiences on a daily and weekly basis
  • Spending lots of time explaining what you do to new colleagues and acquaintances
  • Managing complex backend operations (product funnels, email nurture sequences, marketing operations, support structures)
  • Struggling to position yourself as a thought leader or expert

If this is you, I ask the one good Dr. Phil question:

How’s it working for you?

If it works and you feel like your business operates at a sustainable pace that does not burn you out, more power to you. Not everyone has to just sell one thing to one audience.

Changing the way you think about your approach to niche may help you shift from feeling like you will give up your creative freedom if you simplify your business model to feeling supported and strengthened by focus.

Here are some areas to simplify, clarifying questions to help you make decisions and a transition process if you are yearning for more focused offers in your business.

Areas to simplify:

  1. Multiple channel offers (B2B and B2C)
    Many a business owner has had a good idea like “I know I work in the Business to Business (B2B) sector with corporate clients, but I have heard creating an online class is a great way to build passive revenue.“In theory this can be true, but if you have ever tried to sell an online class Business to Consumer (B2C), you know it takes an enormous amount of focus, money, effort and energy.The same is true in starting to offer in the Business to Business (B2B) market if you have primarily been B2C. While the checks can be bigger selling to corporate, the length of time it takes to develop trust in this market is totally different than in B2C (where, for example, your customers respond to a TikTok ad in the moment and purchase clothing or cool products in the span of 3 minutes. Just me?)
  2. Showing the whole factory 

    You may have a whole bunch of mini-courses or offerings that can benefit clients, but if you put all of them on your website, you may confuse your buyers more than help them.If you have a simpler way to get started working with someone (like an audit, a kickstart coaching package or a business setup package), once you are working together and you see exactly what they need for a next step, you can put forth next step offers.

  3. Multiple company social channels, newsletters and corporate identities 

    If you serve multiple audiences, sometimes they need very different information, tools or resources. This leads some business owners to create multiple social channels, newsletters and even websites.It is hard enough to maintain one business identity, so here are three quick options:-Position your messaging so it combines your offerings into a logical structure that allows you to communicate with one form of social, newsletter or website
    -Cut back on the number of channels you manage
    -Outsource marketing and communication for a channel that does not require your personal business owner voice

  4. Panic offers 

    As you are building the new direction of your business, it is normal that it takes time to build trust. This means you may not sell out your first retreat, or have a rush to your cool new online class.

    Lack of patience with the process often leads to Panic Offers: short-term offerings that will generate cash in the moment, but still require a big amount of effort and energy.There is no shame in activating a short-term offer if things don’t go as anticipated (which is OFTEN when trying new things).If you need to do this, try to offer something that will take the least amount of time or resource to generate cash, such as reaching out to existing clients to offer an expanded scope, or offering an overwhelmed partner your consulting services to fill their gaps as they staff up their operations.

Clarifying questions:

As you sort through your business model to decide what stays or what goes this year, ask yourself these clarifying questions:

  • Does this offer still align with the future of my body of work?
  • If I put more marketing energy into another offer, would I have a bigger impact and drive greater income?
  • Is there a PB&J partner that offers this in a better form or structure than I ever could, and who has a referral fee or affiliate model?
  • What gets me excited and driven? What do I actually want to do this year?

Honor the process

Most people can’t make an immediate shift from one business model to another without a transition time (my colleague Charlie Gilkey calls it “Fixing the plane while flying it.”). Here are the steps in making the transition:

  1. Create the strategy 

    Take the time to analyze the audience and market you want to serve, and the simplified path of offerings. Reflect on the future of your business, not just refreshing what has worked in the past.

  2. Do the math 

    You may not be able to turn off a revenue source until the other is firmly in place. So before closing your membership club, or announcing you are done with coaching or consulting, make sure you see evidence that this new model will work.

    I recommend doing behind the scenes “soft launching,” selling the new offering to real clients and making sales before announcing it to the rest of the world.

  3. Create a change management plan 

    If you are ending services to a still-beloved audience, changing offerings or pricing structures, you want to think through how to plan and communicate change in a supportive way.Instead of abruptly announcing changes, you can seed the idea with current clients, write and share the context behind your decision in social media updates, newsletters or blog posts.

    If you are totally discontinuing services to a beloved audience, spend some time finding a referral partner, then introduce them to your audience with something like a virtual meet and greet, or extended interview.

Building simplicity and ease into your business model will drive bigger impact, larger revenue and a more healthy, sustainable pace for you as a business owner.

If you want some support designing this model, check out our Widest Net Live Retreat.

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