Pivot your offerings and add value now to drum up cash.
5 min read
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Online course creation is expanding rapidly right now. But what if you aren’t sure what your audience wants or needs at this time? You don’t want to put together an extensive video product only to have it flop and miss the mark or become irrelevant in a few months.
As stay-home directives stretch on, many entrepreneurs must now aggressively pivot and offer virtual iterations of their services and expertise to produce cash flow now. A lean product — one that enables intimacy, allows customers to ask you questions and provides support — can be sold now with minimal buildout or overhead.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours facilitating virtual programs in various formats; these three categories add the most value for clients and the most revenue for you.
Deliver a live workshop or virtual immersion
A live workshop or virtual event format allows you to deliver value to many different people at once for the same amount of time and energy on your part. A great value add is to let consumers walk away with their own copy of the recording for future reference.
As a bonus, you can later sell this recording in a sales sequence as its own product; in essence, you’ll monetize your content creation efforts. Successful live workshop formats blend together one or more of the following components:
Instruction. Clients and consumers are paying to hear about your system, your expertise and your personal experiences. Deliver this know-how and keep it concise.
Implementation. Help participants put into action what they’ve just learned. Rather than walk away from your event with some new ideas, happy clients will walk away from your event with changes and upgrades already implemented.
Small group work. Partner work gets everyone talking and learning. If you choose to use Zoom, you can enable the “breakouts” feature in advanced settings. This allows you to split the conference into multiple smaller conferences then bring everyone back together later on.
Hot seats. Coach one individual while others listen and observe. This format is great for filling time and often elicits questions and engagement from other attendees.
Lead a small-group program
In his book Community: The Structure Of Belonging, author Peter Block calls small groups “the unit of transformation” because opinions can be heard and group members become stakeholders in the quality of the final product.
Group offerings differ from automated online courses in that the other members of the group are actually part of the product and help co-create the fulfillment experience in real time. For many consumers, support and accountability from like-minded peers is a powerful motivator that gets them to the next level.
One of the best programs I ever invested in was a six-month business coaching program that was very bare-bones: It consisted of a weekly 90-minute conference call in which each member did a 15-minute hot seat with the facilitator and a group text message on WhatsApp. There were six participants, and the program often had a waitlist.
Notably, this program had no content. It was a lean setup, yet was effective; I not only got the insights and encouragement I needed each week but also learned about the challenges and obstacles other entrepreneurs at different places in their business faced and how to overcome them. It was also more cost-effective than working with the business coach one-on-one.
If you choose to create a group program in which members meet monthly or weekly, remember that the quality of the members will make or break the program. You may need to do some individual outreach to fill spots. Choose self-starters who want to help one another and your program will generate much greater value and insight.
Offer one-on-one support
One-on-one programs are often the easiest to start selling because you can customize your offer and not be pigeonholed into one value proposition. One-to-one is also a great way to test new iterations or products that you want to explore because you can see what works and what doesn’t in a beta environment with an open feedback loop.
One-to-one offerings can take multiple forms. Popular formats include:
Done-for-you service. In essence, your client is outsourcing work to you to save them time and energy. They’re also leaning on you for your skills, experience and strategic insights.
Additional support. Already have a product or course people can consume? Consider layering in one-on-one support as an optional upsell to help buyers implement what they learn more quickly and effectively.
Smaller initial commitments. In the wake of a radically changing economy, consumers and business owners are likely less apt to sign long contracts. Consider creating an iteration of your offer that delivers value and benefits in the short-term.
For many entrepreneurs, the audience you serve has changed in the last three months. The time is now to pivot your services, explore new offerings and take advantage of adding value to others in a high-touch, virtual setting.