Posts Tagged ‘experience design’
Creating Products For Your Service Business Is Easier Than Ever Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Products and business go hand in hand. You can’t have a business if you don’t have anything to sell. Now that I have earned my master’s degree in stating the obvious, what I really want to do today is inspire you to keep creating for your business. Especially now that creating products for your service business is easier than ever.
Despite the fact that creating products for your service business is easy, there are still a lot of businesses not creating for their business. By not creating new products, these business owners are missing out on the opportunity to engage with their clients at a deeper level, tap new markets and grow their business in the process.
What’s the reason for the neglect? It could be the usual suspects:
- Don’t have the right players on the team
- Not sure how or what to create
- Maybe you even think you don’t have any good ideas
Do these sound familiar? Business owners are notorious for using them.
In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for not creating products for your service business. Take a look at some of the traditional product creation vehicles and how easy and inexpensive they are to use today:
- Video- It used to be that you needed a ton of expensive equipment. Digital format for videos wasn’t invented until around the early 90s. Since that time, creating a video is as easy as pointing a camera where you want it and start creating. With equipment like flip cams you can record a video and plug it straight into your computer to start editing. Apple computers has made editing videos easy as well. Don’t have a video camera. Use a service like Camtasia to roll a slide show that you can talk over and put music to.
- Audio- You don’t have to have a professional recording studio to record professional sounding audio to use with products and podcasts. Microphones like the Snowball make creating audio as easy as plugging the mic into your computer. Free services like Audacity make editing simple as well. You can use an inexpensive program like Reaper to capture your audio as well and lay multiple tracks.
- Workbooks- You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a professional looking workbook laid out and designed for your products. Places like Elance make it easy to find solid professional designers to out together great looking material at a fraction of the cost.
- Books- Whether you are creating an e-book or self publishing, creating a book is easier as well. Not only is it easy to create content through channels like a blog where you can literally blog your book. You also kill two birds with one stone by not only creating content to engage your following but you are also working towards a finished product of a book. Amazon has a number of options to help you put out a finished product that can be used as an e-book, physical book or is compatible with their Kindle reader as well. They will find editors, designers, etc.
- Home Study Courses- Do you have a service or process that you take clients through? If you do, are you missing out on the opportunity to capture that in the form of home study course? A home study course will incorporate a number of the elements that I talked about above. Videos, audios, a workbook, etc. This is a great way to show people what your service is all about at a lower barrier to entry. You can offer this as a physical product or make it strictly digital or even do both.
As you read through this ask yourself the following questions:
How good is your business at creating new products?
What holes are missing that need to be addressed with products?
To get you started and help you overcome some of your product creation obstacles, here are some of my most critical tips for getting more product created:
- Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish with each new product you create. This seems fairly obvious but it’s easy to not articulate this upfront and then lose sight of what it is that you are really trying to accomplish. Keep your end user in mind.
- You have time here’s how to use it. Creating new products for your business is about setting aside the time. It’s all about creating the time and the space in your calendar to do this. I would set aside time in your calendar each week that is focused on product creation and idea development. If you don’t create the time on your calendar and stick with it, it will never happen. It’s about creating a rhythm that you work in.
- Holes that exist in your knowledge. You may have avoided creating because you don’t feel like you are “tech savvy”. I hear this a lot about entrepreneurs but the great thing about tech savvy people is they don’t come out of the womb knowing how to code in HTML and PHP, they learn it. Granted some people have more of an interest in these things than others. If tech ignorance is getting in the way of you growing your business, then you need to get over your fear or dislike of technology and make it your friend. If you need help, then find it. There is a lot of talented, inexpensive help out there. They may already be on your team.
- You don’t have any good ideas. I don’t hear this a lot from entrepreneurs as typically I am trying to get them to rein in the “good ideas” but there is a decent percentage of entrepreneurs who feel stuck or are down on their abilities to come up with good ideas. My suggestion here is to create quiet time for yourself to create in a location that is not work. We call this time a “power hour” and it happens before we do anything else in the morning. Having some quiet time to work-out, brainstorm, read, meditate or pray is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.
You know what to do and how to overcome obstacles, now it’s time to go out and do it. Take a minute right now and put some product creation time on your calendar and stick to it.
The Second Question You Should Ask In Beginning Your Experience Process Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Depending on the product or service that your business offers, the time that it takes to close a sale can vary. You have to have a process that take clients through your experience in a way that is intuitive and easy to follow. The second question in your process sets the tone for the rest of your process.
The second question to ask in your experience process is what’s the first step that your clients must take to engage in your offering. The first question? The first question is, where do you ultimately want your clients to go?
There are a couple of mistakes that businesses make with regards to getting an audience engaged in their offering from the start.
The first problem is that if their product or service is new or changing the rules of what’s been done before, it may not be easily understood right off the bat. The key is getting people to understand your business in as simple a way possible.
Problem number two is having a tendency to jump the gun with our potential clients. If we have a client even look at our business we turn into Night at the Roxbury and we are all up on them before they have a chance to breath. Slow down a little bit. Let the relationship develop.
The best solution for getting your audience engaged in your loop is to create an entry product that people must consume before they do anything else. The step must be easy to take and must engage your audience to take further action. This is the way that you present the second question of taking the first step.
Take problem number one mentioned above. We work with a financial advocacy firm called The Freedom FastTrack. Their message is counterintuitive to the traditional financial planning model of investing in a 401k. Here’s a video they created to help people understand the vision of their business. They illustrate the problem that their audience is facing and demonstrate how they can help.
Your initial product can be free like the video above or it can be a lower priced item. If you are looking to reduce friction, I would suggest a free product to get people engaged and make sure the product is good. Free does not equal mediocre.
Your initial product can answer the second question in your experience process in a number of different formats. DVDs, Audios, an e-mail campaign or a membership. You can offer hard copies of your product or keep it all in digital format.
Hopefully you have been thinking about what product or service can serve as the gateway to further sales in your business. Take some time and jot down some ideas right now. Figure out where you want to take your audience and then determine the best way to answer the second question in your client experience process.
Systematizing Your Client Experience Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
A typical entrepreneur has a million different things coming at them at any given time. Because of all the different balls you have to juggle and the limited amount of time with which to juggle them, it can be difficult to make time to work on your business. Your client’s experience is one of those areas that get pushed to the back of our minds.
One of the reasons juggling tasks can be overwhelming is due to the proliferation of online communication tools that we have coming at us on a daily basis. The proliferation of e-mail through smart phones, social media, etc may have you thinking that technology is more of a curse than a blessing. What if you could turn this curse into a system that delivers the type of client experience that sets your business apart from the rest?
Technology has made delivering the right client experience easier than ever. I won’t get into all of the specifics of total experience design, you can read more about experience design here. What I will do is give you a few handy online tools for automating aspects of the client experience that your business is trying to deliver.
My list consists of the most common areas where I see business owners being inconsistent or working too hard with their experience delivery.
Doing What You Say You Are Going To Do- Clients won’t have a great experience with your company if you can’t deliver on the promises that your business offers. For small businesses, this starts with the business owner. A simple tool for helping business owners remember things is Evernote.
Keeping Your Clients In The Loop- There are a lot of tools to help with this but a simple and inexpensive tool is AWeber. Aweber is an e-mail service that helps you manage your e-mail database and allows you to send messages to these lists. When it comes to keeping your clients informed and educating them, this is as easy as it gets. I still see business owners keeping their lists on a spreadsheet and sending out e-mails manually.
Managing Projects- Getting your team on the same page and getting projects completed on time can be challenging. We created a project management system called Akomplish for this very reason. Now we can share projects with team members, sync activities with our calendars and have a daily snapshot of what needs to be done.
Those are three of the biggest areas that business owners seem to struggle with when it comes to delivering a client experience. The great news is that there are tools to help you automate what you are doing as you interact with clients and create the experience.
How have you overcome challenges with delivering your client experience?