Episode 52 - Developing products and services

As we get into the final stretch of the year but before the holidays begin, Jeff and Kristin are starting to work on planning products and services for 2017. This is a great time to discuss developing new offerings for your business. We discuss how to begin the process of developing new products and services.

What products and services do you currently offer?

Do you have a menu of your current products and services? If not, this is where you need to start. If you can't clearly define what you currently sell, how do you expect your clients to understand what you do? Don't be cryptic about what you do. Clearly define your business for your customers. Don't use industry speak; use your customers' language. Take a look at your website or ask someone to do it for you to make sure your message is clear. This is also the starting point because this will give you an idea if there are gaps in your offerings. Do you need to offer supplemental products? Are there services that are outside the rest of your offerings and may be causing a confusing message?

What do your customers need?

Sometimes as experts, we lose sight of things that are difficult for your customers. People look to us because we are experts in our particular field. It may be easy for you but it may not be for your customers. That is why it is important to dial into your customers and listen to their feedback. There may be some really basic topics you should cover because your customers need it.

Brainstorming topics and delivery methods

When brainstorming new products and services, look for what has worked for you in the past and what potential customers are struggling with. Look at your own popular posts. Take notes about the types of questions people are asking in Facebook groups. These are valuable insights into the needs of perspective customers and current customers. In addition to topics, you should also brainstorm delivery methods. Look at your current available time. Are you looking to get more one-on-one clients or is your schedule full right now? Maybe you need to look into scaling your business by offering courses, masterminds, group offerings, books, email training, or other offerings. One example is Emily Olsen's Whole Food Nutrition Course. These scaled products and services give you more bandwidth, creates more price points in your business, and allows more customers to interact with you. These products also allow you to charge more for your one-to-one consulting, because that now becomes a premium service. Value your time accordingly.

Share topic ideas with your current and potential customers

Right now, you are still in the idea phase. Don't over plan before getting feedback. You may present ideas that fall flat with your customers. Your customers may also give you ideas that you hadn't thought of previously. Getting your customers involved early in the process helps you transform your ideas to build the best products and services for them. Take the feedback you receive and further develop your ideas into concrete products and services.

Product and service development

If you are trying to develop a product or service, think about creating a group for customer feedback. Michael Hyatt did this recently for a new product launch. The group gave him honest feedback about various aspects of the course which helped to strengthen the content and helped his customers get excited about the course. If you have an existing Facebook group, you can use that group to get feedback from your current audience.

When developing a product like a course, make sure to be flexible. Don't record everything before launching. You are going to find out that some of your ideas may change as the course participants give you feedback on the content. One of the great things about being a small business owner is being nimble. Don't get so protective of your content that you aren't willing to listen to feedback from your buyers. These products and services are not for you; they are for your customers. As long as the items they are looking for are within your wheelhouse and they fit within the scope of the product you are developing, considering adding them.

Build a team and create boundaries

You can't do everything. There are probably complimentary products and services to yours that your customers need. Be awesome at your business and look to be able to refer your customers to others who provide those complimentary products and services. Create boundaries around your business by knowing your awesome and clearly communicating your awesome with your customers so they know what you sell and who you can refer them to for complimentary products and services.

Allow time for promotion

We often see people who are in constant creation mode. They create a new product, promote it for a week, and then move on to the next product. In order to create traction for your previous products, you must continue to promote those products. Don't get into the trap of thinking you must release 400 new products each year to be successful. Take the time to create meaningful products and promote those products.

Development recap

  1. Have a list of your current products and services.
  2. Make sure they are clearly communicated to your customers before developing new products and services.
  3. Brainstorm new ideas, topics and delivery methods.
  4. Share these ideas with your audience.
  5. Take audience feedback and determine delivery method. Flesh out idea more.
  6. Get feedback from your audience on the product or service. Facebook groups are a great way to do this.

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