Creating your Customer Journey

What we’re going to do in this tutorial …

We are going to define what your particular customer journey looks like, which is composed of the 7 key steps a customer goes through to move from “I don’t know you” right through to “I’m a big fan of what you do, I always buy from you, and I recommend you to everyone I meet, whether they ask or not.”

Why we need to do this …

The customer needs to move through a number of stages on the right order, and be intelligently brought up to buying temperature at a speed that’s right for them.

Think of it like a courtship.

Too fast, and they will reject you. And they will also  tell their friends to avoid to you, because you are too pushy.

Too slow, and you end up in the Friend Zone.

Skip steps, and you come across as creepy, like someone who starts stroking your hair within a few seconds of you meeting them at a bus stop.

The marketing assets that you create should be specifically designed to move people from one stage to the next. When you know what those stage are, it’s easier, faster and cheaper to make what you need.

How we are going to do this …

  • We’ve listed the steps below, along with examples of what other people do at that stage.
  • For each step, let’s decide what you will do to make them forward. 
  • When we create your marketing in later tutorials, you’ll then know which assets you want to create and why.

Stage 1: Customer becomes aware

  • Description: At this point the customer has become aware of us, we have caught their eye.
  • Examples: Posters, flyers, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and videos, YouTube pre-roll advertisements, partner network advertising, sponsorship, branding of people, vehicles premises et cetera
  • Ideas for your own business:

Stage 2: Customer becomes engaged

  • Description: At this point, the customer has started to read articles or watch videos from us, and consume the materials we are creating.
  • Examples: Facebook videos, YouTube videos, forum and Facebook group posts, Facebook live, brochures, leaflets and articles, Retargeting advertisements,
  • Ideas for your own business:

Stage 3: Customer gives us their contact details

  • Description: At this point, the customer provides us with contact details in order to be able to receive more interesting and useful stuff that is relevant to their problem or opportunity, which then allows us to start to bring them up to buying temperature, either for a straightforward purchase if we have a low entry price point, or for a first touch product.
  • Examples: Webinars, surveys, quizzes, free e-books that require registration, free products, newsletters
  • Ideas for your own business:

Stage 4: First Touch

  • Description: At this point, the customer invests a small amount of money or some time to either learn more about our solution to the problem or testdrive our product or service. This teaches them that they can buy from us with confidence and also help them better see how we can help them – and is especially useful for higher price point product.
  • Examples: Testdrive, 30-day free trial, open days, free strategy call, taster sessions, free samples
  • Ideas for your own business:

Stage 5: First Touch Follow Up

  • Description: At this point, the customer becomes more excited about the possibilities our product or service offers, based on the pleasurable experience of the first touch, and we understand more about them so that we can start to point them at the right level of product based on their appetite and budget.
  • Examples: Surveys, follow-ups, consultancy and strategy calls, vouchers, special offers
  • Ideas for your own business:

Stage 6: Customer Routing, Purchase, & Up-sell/Cross-sell

  • Description: At this point, the customer is pointed at the optimum product for their appetite and budget, and is optionally offered additional products and services to enrich their use or experience of the product or service.
  • Examples: “If you like this, you might also like”, “customers who purchase this also bought”,  “special offer, buy these two items together as a combo”, Vistaprint-style additional use items, one-time discount offer, flash sales, VIP upgrade, McDonald’s meal super-size, warranty and product cover.
  • Ideas for your own business:

Stage 7: Customer repeat sales and referrals

  • Description: At this point, the customer becomes a regular ongoing purchaser, provides testimonials and also acts as a promoter by referring other customers to us.
  • Examples: Recommend a friend, loyalty vouchers/rewards, loyalty cards, newsletters and follow-up groups, mouse mats, mugs and stickers
  • Ideas for your own business:

Tech solution to manage and deliver appointment-based 1-1 sessions online

This guide has been created by our team to help trainers and coaches who are looking to migrate their businesses online. 

It’s aimed at coaches, therapists, and other service professionals who deal with clients on a one-to-one basis, and are normally paid by the hour or session and have a number of sessions booked.

It’s an evolving document – so if you have a question not covered here, drop it in the comments – we’ll add the answers to this document and then comment you back, so you know to come back.

NOTE: in this guide, we are going to cover the systems we have worked with and implemented for clients over a number of years. There are other systems out there, and depending on your situation, some of them may be better for you. The systems we will recommend are however cost-effective and we know they work.

Solution Outcome

This guide shows you how to create a solution that allows you to:

  • provide customers with a link (either on your website via email, social media etc)  that allows them to choose the session that they want from the times that you are available
  • clients can optionally pay for the session in advance if required
  • automatically send them a connection link for the booked session that connects them to you via a simple to use video conferencing system
  • optionally send them a recording of the session (thereby increasing the value of your service to the client)

 

Solution Ingredients

  • Calendar system (free) – eg Google calendar, Outlook calendar etc
  • Calendly ($12 a month) – a calendar booking system that integrates with all the popular calendar systems such as Google, outlook etc.
  • Stripe (free) – a simple but effective payment processing system – you can take payments with it and have it send the money to your bank.
  • Zoom (£12 per month) – one of the leading video conferencing solutions – which integrates with Calendly.

 

Implementation Instructions

Step 1: Set up a Zoom account

  • Go to zoom.us
  • Create an account
  • Subscribe to their Pro package – this allows you to integrate it and also allows you to have sessions which last for longer than 40 minutes

Step 2: Set up a Stripe account (if you want to take payments)

  • Go to www.stripe.com
  • Create an account
  • Link it to your bank account so you get paid

Step 3: Set up a Calendly account

  • Go to Calendly.com and create an account. (Go for the Pro version, as that allows you to integrate Zoom and Stripe).
  • TIP: If you have Gmail, set up your account using your Gmail login, as that will make adding your calendar easier.
  • Log into Calendly, and add your calendar. (Account -> Calendar Connections)
  • Click on Home in Calendly, and add a new event type. This allows you to specify how long your sessions are, and when they run.
  • Click on Integrations from the menu at the top, and then choose Zoom.
  • The system will ask you to log into your Zoom account and grant it the permissions it needs
  • You can then go to your event that you have set up, and select Zoom as the location. (The system will then automatically create a zoom session and supply both you and the attendee with the right link in your calendar reminders)
  • Click on Integrations from the menu at the top, and then choose Stripe.
  • As with Zoom, the system will then ask you to login to Stripe and give it the permissions it needs.
  • Once you have finished, go back to your event, and at the bottom of the page and additional options, you can click on collect payment. Select Stripe, tell it how much you want to collect what currency, and save.

Tips:

  • Test it with a friend, creating an event and charging a pound for it, and you will quickly see what it looks like for both you and the attendee.

Usage Instructions

Now that you have set up, here is some guidance on how to use it

  • When you go into Calendly, and look at your event type, you will see a button marked copy link. This will give you a web address that you can use on social media, on your website, via email and so on that will then allow people to very quickly schedule an event with you
  • When your event comes up, you can click in the Zoom link which is automatically in your invite, and that will put you into a videoconference with the client
  • At the bottom of the zoom screen, there are links allowing you to share your screen (if you want to share a presentation for instance), and also record the session.
  • When you record the session, you can record it to your desktop, and then upload the video to a video sharing sites such as YouTube or video, and mark it as unlisted, so that you can send the client the link and only they can see it

Creating a Customer Avatar

Why we need to do this …

We do this for a number of good reasons:

  • It’s essential to have an image of who we are talking to when we design our products and marketing messages.
  • Knowing their interests helps us find and target them more cost effectively

How we are going to do this …

  • We divide our target market into segments. We can do this in a number of ways:
    • How good/skilled/experienced they are
    • What their appetite and budget is 
    • What their desired outcome is
  • For each one, create an avatar using the questions below. 

Section 1: Demographics

  • Name:
  • Age:
  • Gender:
  • Marital status:
  • Age and # of children:
  • Location:
  • Field of occupation:
  • Job title:
  • Annual income:
  • Education level:

Section 2: Challenges & Pain Points

  • What are this customer’s top 3 challenges?
  • What are this customer’s top 3 pain points?
  • What is your customer not good at?
  • What is your customer uncertain about?
  • What does your customer no longer want to experience?
  • What does your customer no longer want to feel?
  • What does your customer have bad dreams about?

Section 3: Goals, Desires and Values

  • What are this customer’s top 3 goals?
  • What are this customer’s top values?
  • What are they committed to? What do they believe in?
  • What they want to get better at?
  • What do they want to experience?
  • What do they want to feel?
  • What does your customer have pleasant / daydreams about?

Section 4: Sources of Information

  • What books does your customer read (which other people would be unlikely to)?
  • What magazines does your customer subscribe to (which other people would be unlikely to)?
  • What blogs and websites does your customer visit (which other people would be unlikely to)?
  • Which conferences and events as your customer attend (which other people would be unlikely to)?
  • What experts does your customer follow (which other people would be unlikely to)?
  • What other interests or activities as your customer have or do (which other people would be unlikely to)?

Section 5: Buying Behaviour

  • What objections would your customer be likely to have?
  • What role does the customer have in the purchase process?
  • Who else would be likely to influence the customer in terms of buying?
  • How comfortable is the customer likely to be at buying online versus face-to-face or over the phone?

Section 6: Outcomes & Alternatives

  • What transformation is the customer looking for (from and to what):
  • How would they visualise that transformation? (Where would they be and what would they be doing?)
  • What alternatives do they have to our solution, and why don’t they give the same result?

Section 7: Context of Problem or Need

  • How or when do they discover they have a need?
  • Who do they first discuss solving this problem with?
  • Where do they usually do their research to solve this problem?
  • Where do they look to find companies to solve this problem?

Facebook & WhatsApp Messaging Rules Explained

Summary

This article gives you a quick overview of:

  • Who can use the messaging applications owned by FaceBook – (specifically Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp)
  • What you can use them for
  • How it works – including using templates and the 24-hour window

Who can use FB’s messaging platforms?

Facebook allows the following business verticals to use their messaging applications:

  • Automotive
  • Consumer
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Food
  • Healthcare Technology
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Real estate
  • Religion
  • Retail
  • Jewellery
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation and Travel
  • Not-for-profit

Facebook do not allow the following verticals, however:

  • Adult-content
  • Alcohol/Tobacco
  • Animal Health and Sale
  • Defence
  • Digital Subscription and Digital Content
  • Drugs or Related Products
  • Gambling
  • Healthcare Products and Supplements
  • Media
  • Weapons/Ammunition/Explosives

They don’t allow entities based in the following countries

  • Crimea
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • Venezuela

And lastly, they currently don’t allow governments, political organizations or state-owned entities to use the system.

What can you use the system to do?

Allowed messaging objectives (use cases):

  • Notifications
  • Customer care
  • 2FA or user verification

Forbidden messaging objectives (use cases):

  • Marketing/promotional messaging
  • Newsletter or subscription-type messaging

The reason for this is that Facebook are trying to stop their channels from being overrun with marketing content, something which we have seen happen with email, and more recently SMS.

So in essence, you can use it to facilitate a relationship or transaction that you already have.

Templates and the 24-hour window

From the time that a customer messages you, (IE they are the ones to initiate a conversation) you have a 24-hour window where you can message them freely.

Outside that window, you have to use templates, to ensure that your message is keeping to the allowed use cases, ie appointments, purchase confirmations and authentication.

(Previously there was a 24 hour plus one rule – where you could do one promotional message after the 24 hr window – that has since been removed.)

If you don’t stick to that, Facebook detect it and shut you down – and so most systems that allow you to access the Whatsapp/Messenger API (Eg Twilio) will restrict you to doing just that.

You can get around that by having multiple channels of contact, where you then get them to initiate contact with you via WhatsApp – so email and SMS become a trigger for Whatsapp and Messenger conversations – as long as you do it sensibly.

The Webinar to Consultancy Call Strategy

 

Summary

This is one of our most popular implementation projects, because it’s one that can be highly automated, works well with cold traffic, and provides high-quality leads that can be sold high-priced items.

(We have one client in particular who is selling £2,000 training courses using this strategy, and their conversion rate doing it this way beats anything else they have tried in their 16-year history.)

Strategy Components

  • Online Advert: this can be targeted at customers regardless of buying temperature. It offers a free webinar that addresses their key pain points and provides a solution or insight they want. It can be used with social media, or sent to an existing customer list, and is a good way of re-connecting with disengaged subscribers in an email list.
  • Evergreen Webinar: this is a pre-recorded webinar that is scheduled to run at pre-set times. The webinar (usually around 45 mins long depending on target customer) has a well-thought-out structure that engages the customer and positions your business as a trusted expert. The customer is provided with definite value, and is brought tantalisingly close to the big answers they want.  The call to action at the end of the webinar is to get a free 30-45 min 1:1 consultation to see how this solution can work for them – and to get the final pieces of the puzzle.
  • Consultancy Call & Telesale: this establishes the customer’s particular need, and maps your solution benefits to their situation. The call is structured to allow the customer to provide all the information to allow your salespeople to do the job well, handling objections, de-positioning alternatives and competitors, and allowing the customer to connect your offering to their desire. Because it’s a consultative sale, that allows higher-priced items to be sold in.

Refinements

  • 2 Stage Online Adverts: if you want to reduce your cost of acquisition further, you can run engagement adverts on social media (adverts where you pay for people to watch your videos etc) and then target the people who do engage with this ad with a second conversion ad, which invites them to the webinar.
  • Application Form for Call: if you need to raise the quality of respondent, we can put in a screening application process for the call that will only allow them to book if they meet certain pre-set criteria. This dramatically increases the effectiveness and morale of sales teams as they are working with high-quality prospects.

How to create a 5 Step Offer Formula

What we are going to do  …

The five step formula we are going to show you here is one that has been developed by some of the best minds in the business, and we have used it with great success over a number of years. It has a wide range of applications, and has been used for sales scripts, landing page design, email marketing templates, face-to-face conversations, video design …

…  in fact, any situation where the aim is to convey the value of a solution to a person with a specific problem or need and get them to take action on it.

NOTE: the examples in italics are one line summary suggestions for a project management agency example, in the implementation guide we will work through you creating your own structured argument based on your business’s approach to solving your customer’s problems.

Step One: What’s The Problem?

Most sales situations, whether they occur online or off-line, are usually based on solving a problem. In copywriting circles this initial need is known as the three P’s: pain, problem, or predicament.

In this stage, we resonate with the problem or need that the person has, in such a way that they feel that we are talking about them specifically. Stephen Covey rightly pointed out that the greatest need of the human soul is the need to be understood, so our job before we do anything else is to make sure that the person we are dealing with knows that we “get” them. if we are in anyway hazy about what the person’s problem or need is, then that is a good sign that we need to refine our target market.

 e.g.: Doesn’t it massively frustrate you that you have so many great ideas that never seem to get delivered? That you and your organisation have so much potential and opportunity going to waste …

Step Two: Why Hasn’t It Been Solved?

This is the point at which we look at other steps that the person has either taken, or may be considering. Again, the rationale here is that we are establishing a rapport with them, and also trying to save them time by preventing them from going down dead-end alleys when it comes to finding an answer to their particular problem or need. 

e.g.: for some reason, no matter what books you try, or training programs you put people on, or best intentions you start out with, things just seem to fizzle and die over time and never come to fruition.

Step Three: What’s Possible? 

During this stage, we paint a picture of what life will be like once they have achieved their ends. This should be described in such way that appeals to all of the senses, and should be described in present tense to make it as real as possible. It’s not just about the solution; it’s what the solution will enable them to do, or who the solution will enable them to be. We need to connect with what it is they are really looking for. This then becomes our dramatic promise, and it contrasts with the painful situation and the ‘no way out’ illustration of the previous two sections.

e.g.: but instead, imagine this: your stress is gone, and everything is on track. People are calling in to congratulate you on yet another successful delivery. You can relax, and actually make it home on time for once, comfortable in the knowledge that now you have a team that works with you to deliver all of your ideas, using your internal teams and also high quality cost-effective experts in other fields. All you need to do is communicate your idea, and they make it happen, on time every time. All you need tomorrow, is have another amazing idea!

Step Four: What’s Different Now 

Our job here is to explain the key points of difference which defines the right answer to the question, which again, resets their buying criteria to what we know is important. These key points of difference, should be your key points of difference. This section emphasises why our solution is the only door that does not lead down a rabbit hole of the type that they have been warned about in step two, but are absolutely the right path to get to the glorious “some day” described in step three. 

e.g.: we are experts in the field of making your ideas happen. Our people, systems and partners are simply unmatched in terms of experience and capability, and more importantly we are experts in helping you define exactly what your idea should look like, saving you time and money and pain when it comes to delivering exactly what you need.

Step Five: What You Should Do Now 

This is a call to action, where we tell them exactly what they need to do, and how this will unfold. This removes any uncertainty or nervousness on their part. 

e.g.: contact us today to book a consultation with one of our chief project officers, and we will be able to tell you exactly what we can do to make your ideas happen.

Essentials to remember: 

  • Use simple emotional language: dry prose with lots of long words loses the vast majority of the audience very quickly, as the brain can’t picture it. Keep it simple, and keep it relatable, and you will keep their attention. 

Use testimonials in conjunction with the above template: a powerful source of social proof and credibility building, these tend to be used when it’s a printed or broadcast piece of material, such as a flyer, landing page, video etc. What you might want to consider is getting people to give you testimonials in such a way that they can be broken down and used to reinforce each particular section. For instance, you could ask people giving a testimonial to describe their experience of the problem, and then use a number of those during step one. (note: make sure that your testimonials are themselves a credibility builder, i.e. that the person giving the  testimonial is somebody that the potential buyer would trust to make a good decision).

How to create powerful Testimonials & Case Studies

What we can create with this Blueprint …

This blueprint gives you a suggested flow for testimonials and case studies.

Testimonials can be powerful, because as humans we like getting evidence from multiple sources as to whether something is good or not. (It’s known in the trade as social proof.)   

The problem is that clients aren’t always good at expressing the message you want. If you just ask someone for a testimonial, 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a variation on the theme of “it was very nice, and the people were nice, and I had a nice time.”

Another downfall of testimonials is when you ask for them too soon.  

People buy products and services to achieve some sort of transformation – and the prospective customer reading the testimonial is usually less concerned with whether or not the person enjoyed the experience. They are more interested to know if what you provide will get them where they want to go.  

So the two keys to testimonials are:

  • ask for them when the customer has made some progress
  • offer to write the testimonials for them and have them agree to it

People rarely have an issue with you writing the testimonial. As long as you aren’t misrepresenting their experience, they will usually appreciate you saving them the effort. 

This allows you to write testimonials that highlight different aspects of your service, and the transformation they will help your prospects achieve. If you are clever, you can also write different testimonials in different modalities (visual, audio etc) to resonate with different target markets.

This will also allow you to construct the testimonial in a modular way so it can fit different lengths and uses.   

TIP: If you do write them, try to match the language a bit to your client. If all of the testimonials have the same tone and register, they will lose impact.  


Strapline

We can open with a title that sums up what your product has allowed this person to be, do or have .

This should be short and succinct – short enough to used as an email subject line. (Because that’s one of the uses for it.)

Have a think about what people would want to be able to say about themselves if what you do works.

What is the “after” of your prospective customer’s desired transformation. What would they want to be able to say about themselves if what you provide does its job well? 

Testimonial

I achieved <XXXX RESULT> in <XXXX TIMESCALE>, without <XXXX UNWANTED CONSEQUENCE>, and without needing to have <XXXX EXPERIENCE/SKILL>. This has allowed me to get <DESIRED TRANSFORMATION>.

This is a blueprint – a layout for what’s important. You’ll want to mix it up a bit. Do so.  

Case Study

A case study based on customer experience could in many ways be considered to be the longer form version of the testimonial.

It shares a lot of the same DNA, and the questions below – which are worth asking for a case study – can also be used when gather information to write testimonials. 

  • What made you decide at the outset that XYZ was right for you?
  • How did you feel when you were starting out?
  • What else have you tried, and why didn’t it work for you? (For instance did you try ( KEY ALTERNATIVES TO XYZ)?)
  • What has XYZ allowed you to do? What experiences has it allowed you to have?
  • What would your life be like if you hadn’t seized this opportunity?
  • If you had a friend who was considering XYZ, but wasn’t sure if it was right for them, what would you say to them?
  • What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your life since implementing XYZ?
  • What are the people like who trained you on XYZ?
  • What are the people like who support you on XYZ?
  • What are your hopes for the future, and what role does XYZ play in making those hopes a reality?
  • What’s your best experience/success with this? Alternatively, what’s your most unusual experience in terms of where you made it happen?
  • Why do you think XYZ is different and better to other ways of (GETTING DESIRED OUTCOME)?
  • What’s your favourite feature of XYZ?

 

How to create a Customer Strategy Roadmap

What we’re going to do in this tutorial …

We are going to create what we call the customer strategy roadmap.

This lists the main areas of skill, ability and so on that the customer needs to have or get good at, in order for them to solve the problem that they face.

(The problem for which your service is the solution.)

And it lists each one of them as a scale from 1 to 5, for instance.

You can use this document to work with a customer to identify the areas they should work on most. 

Here’s an example.

Let’s say your customer is in Birmingham, and their goal in life is to drive to Aberdeen.

We can break that down into some smaller bits.

They will need to be good at driving, have a working car, have money for fuel, have directions, and they have to believe it’s possible. That’s 5 areas, and as you can see, it covers most of the main bases. 

For each of those 5 areas, we can then have a scale, like so:

Good at Driving: A 1 means they are a menace to everything on the road including themselves. A 7 means they can do the Magic Roundabout in Hemel Hempstead with a cup of tea balanced on their head.

Have a Working Car: A 1 means the vehicle they own is a rust-heap up on bricks which is currently on fire. A 7 means they have (insert your favourite ever car here) in (your favourite colour) and it’s in factory mint condition. 

Have Money for Fuel: a 1 is penniless, a 7 is bottomless bank account.

Have Directions: a 1 means the only knowledge they have of Aberdeen’s location is a vague impression that it’s just along the coast from Brighton. A 7 is they can recite the route off by heart and do accurate pencil sketches of every junction and roundabout.

Have the Belief it’s Possible:  a 1 means they fear the gods will strike them down if they even attempt it. A 7 is the unshakeable conviction since childhood (bordering on monomania) that they were put on this earth to drive to Aberdeen.

(You might be wondering what the difference is between the customer journey and the customer roadmap. The journey is how they are going to progress through our world of marketing and product purchases. The roadmap is their progress towards their own goals.) 

Why we need to do this …

  • People hate advertising, but they love advice.
  • If you can become your customer’s trusted expert, they will listen to you more, and buy from you more, which is what we want. 
  • The roadmap helps us know more about their situation or problem than they do. It helps us better assess where they are, and where they need to focus their attention on to get the best results.
  • It helps us design better products that people want to buy, and design better marketing that people actually want to read and listen to.   
  • It’s also something they want and value, which can then become the start of a beautiful friendship between you. 

How we are going to do this …

There are 3 stages to this:

  • First, we create the assessment matrix, which is your equivalent of the scaled areas above.
  • Next, we can create a document around that which we’ll use to tell people about the areas, and use as an assessment and education tool.
  • Lastly we will put it to work for us,  for instance as a lead magnet (the name for something you give away in return for someone’s contact details) or as the basis for a call (“Let’s assess where you are, Mr Customer, and see what you need to do next.”

Step 1: Create the Assessment Matrix

  • Divide the customers journey into 5-7 areas of core skill, knowledge, ability, achievement etc

  • Draw a grid on a blank piece of paper which has the same number of columns as you have created areas, and create 7 rows 

  • If 1 is customer as a beginner (or in a bad place) and 7 is customer as highly proficient (or in a good place) note in each box what that looks like. If 7 is too granular – use 5 stages.

Step 2: Create the Roadmap Document

  • Create an intro that explains the importance of this, why you are qualified to assess them, and that you created this doc to help people achieve better results in the area you are concerned with.

  • Do a page for each area:

    • – Summarise the area (what is it)

    • – Tell them what being at 1 stops you from doing, and puts you at risk from

    • – Tell them what being at 5 or 7 helps them do, and what opportunities are available as a result

    • – Note some of the reasons people struggle to get this right.

    • – Explain what getting it right entails (at a high level)

    • – Say how YOU help people get it right

  • Include your assessment matrix

  • Add in any case studies or examples of what getting it wrong/right looks like. Put the wrong ones first, right ones last.

  • Add a description of your products, saying how they help different levels, and add a call to action for people to contact you to create a solution to help them get to 5.

Section 3: Using It

  • You can use it as a deliverable for a consultancy call – you ask them questions to assess where they are, and then send them the doc along with a typed rating for each level, and recommendations about how to improve key areas (using your services).

  • TIP: Create the email as a template – then you can just add in a few numbers, and few personalised notes and hit send.

  • EXTRA CREDIT: if you have done it in PowerPoint, put a ring around each relevant score, and save it as a PDF with their name – looks more personal!

  • You can use print it out and give it to people etc face to face at meetings or events

  • A fast and inexpensive way to do this if you don’t have graphic designers etc on tap is to create it in PowerPoint, and save it as a PDF.

  • If you want, you can use a wheel rather than a matrix – a matrix is easier design-wise though! 😉

Evaluating a Business Idea

What we’re going to do in this tutorial …

We are going to take your business idea and ask some killer questions to see just how good an idea it actually is. Then we are going to give it a score, so we can compare it to the other ideas you have.

Why we need to do this …

  • Because we don’t want you to waste a lot of money on an idea that hasn’t been thought through
  • Because you can then choose between multiple good ideas to find the right one to go with right now 
  • Because you’ll have a clearer understanding of the ideas you DO like, and you’ll be able to make them happen faster

How we are going to do this …

  • For each idea you have, answer the questions below. I’d strongly recommend scribbling the answers down on a sheet of paper, especially if you want to compare multiple ideas.
  • TIP: Check out our tutorial on creating a shortlist of business ideas if you don’t have any yet.
  • Give it a score of 1 to 10 based on the answers you get, and that will help you compare different ideas to see which ones you want to go with.
  • NOTE: Sometimes a slightly lower score just means that it’s an idea for a future time, rather than right now.

Here are the questions we need to answer …

  1. What is the main idea for the product or service?
  2. Who is the ideal customer group for this product/service?
  3. What need/desire in their life and/or business does it fulfil?
  4. How many ideal customers are there for this product/service? I.e., what is the market size?
  5. What do you estimate your average transaction value to be, and how often do you think you will be able to get them to buy?
  6. What would be the cost of provision, and what sort of profit margin does that leave? (Bearing in mind all of the other expenses of running a business, not least of which is marketing/advertising)
  7. Is there a way that we can structure the product so that we can have different pricing levels for different customers?
  8. Can we have a low value introductory product (first touch) that helps us sell a higher value backend product?
  9. How easy are your ideal customer groups to identify and access?
  10. How much competition is there? What are the competition doing well, and what are they missing out on that you can capitalise on?
  11. How much desire/active searching is there for this from the point of view of the market?
  12. How much desire is there for this from your point of view? Is this something you would actually love to do anyway even if you weren’t being paid for it? (Not essential, but a massive advantage if you can find something that fits this criteria.)
  13. Which end of the market are you aiming at, premium or volume?
  14. How scalable is the business? Does it rely on skills you can easily transfer or train in to new hires, or is it going to be capped by the fact that it requires attention from an expert with a rare skill base?
  15. In what way is your product different to what is already out there? What’s your differentiating X factor?
  16. Do you have any reputation or visibility in the marketplace? Are there any credentials you could use to backup your offering, if they are required? If not, do you have access to a mentor or other figure you could use as a brand endorsement/credibility builder? Could we use affiliates as brand ambassadors?
  17. What are the setup costs, including premises, equipment, stock, insurance, getting required qualifications, transport etc?
  18. What are the running costs for something like this, and how long could you support it if it takes a while to run properly and make a profit?
  19. How much time is needed to set this up, and is it something that you can run in tandem with your existing commitments, e.g. day job?
  20. How much time do you spend on average with your ideal customer?
  21. What is the possibility of spending time with people who are working for your competitors? Do you have the ability to work with a company that is doing this for a month or two, so that you can learn their business and then start out on your own?
  22. Do we have anybody in mind who can help us get this off the ground? Is there a possibility of recruiting/headhunting someone from a competitor who would be interested in helping start-up a new business?
  23. What is the growth potential for this? Is this something we could potentially licence or franchise to achieve bigger market share?
  24. What is the planned timescale for implementation this idea if selected?
  25. What’s your rating of this idea now, on a scale of 1 to 10?

Creating a Business Idea Shortlist

What we’re going to do in this tutorial …

We are going to come up with ideas about services you can provide, and look at who is likely to pay you the most money, and give you the most joy to work with. Just like personal relationships, business works best when both partners are fully engaged, enthusiastic and appreciative. So we’re going to find your ideal partner from a business perspective. 

Why we need to do this …

When searching for a business idea, many people look at what other people are doing. 

It’s not a bad idea – it’s important to know if there’s already a successful business doing the things you want to do, because it means there is a market for it. 

And you have a model to work from when building your own business.

But the person who started that business may well have very different skills and abilities to yours, different strengths and experience levels.

So whilst the business they are running might be the best thing for them to be doing, it might not be the best thing for you.

Rather than “what kind of business should I run?” there is a better question to be asking:

“Given my skills, passions and experience, what group of people can I profitably add the most value to?”

This group needs to be made of people you can resonate with, because it’s very hard to to design a business around people whose key drivers you have no grasp of.

And surviving in business is about finding better ways to profitably serve your customers than the competition does.

It’s how you get people to choose to buy from you.

There’s a saying: you can have anything you want providing you help enough people get what they want.

Your income as a business is essentially the product of how many people you help multiplied by how grateful they are for that help.

How we are going to do this …

  • For the groups of people you know about, look at ideas that will live in the overlap of the three circles above.
  • For each idea that you think has potential, list it in the table below, noting who it serves, and what value you think it adds to them and to you on a scale of 1-10

Defining Your Mission

Part 1 – Create your vision

We are going to have a go at working out what your overall vision is, which is a shared purpose that inspires you and gives a reason and purpose to what you do beyond pennies in bank accounts.

Why we need to do this …

People keep going longer and put up with more when they have a good why. Running a business will have its ups and downs, and the more durability we can give you the better. 

Having a vision will also give you a different perspective when choosing which business ideas to go for.

But your vision is not just for you. It should also inspire and unite the people working with you. It should be an engagement tool for clients, so they get to see you as a force for good as opposed to simply another money-making machine, which helps to create raving fans.

How we are going to do this …

  • Technically, you just need to write down what your vision is, starting with Our vision is a place where …. (See the examples below to help you.)
  • However, your vision might not be very clear at the outset. You can equate it to your purpose if that helps.
  • TIP: Imagine if you woke up with £100,000,000,000 in your bank tomorrow. After a spate of holidays and purchases, what would you devote your life to doing? Who would you serve, and why?
  • Don’t be afraid to create a pencil sketch version now and come back to this at a later date. It can take many years to discover it fully. But having something is better than nothing.

Some examples to help you …

  • Google: our vision is a place where people have access to the information they need anywhere at any time
  • Apple: our vision is a place where people are able to achieve amazing lives thanks to intuitively and beautifully designed devices and systems.
  • AgileOS: our vision is a place where people have the frameworks and systems to define and deliver their own personal vision of success
  • The Performance Partnership: our vision is a place where people have the tools and techniques to make the impossible possible

 

Part 2 – Define your mission

We are going to define your mission, which is an expression of one of the ways we are going to make your vision a reality.  (You can think of a mission as being a business idea.)

Why we need to do this …

We do this because it’s a very useful way of chunking down our thinking about what we are doing into focused units.

The right level to think of a mission is as a division within a group, just in the same way that Apple is divided into music technology, telephone technology, computer technology et cetera.

It’s fine to start off with just one mission. Google started with just a search engine. Amazon started with just a bookstore. Apple started with just a computer.

Not all of the missions have to be moneymaking. Some people have one commercial mission, and one contribution mission.

Take us here at AgileOS as an example. We have two missions. One is a commercial mission, doing what we doing right now, which is helping people design and build a business. 

The other one is our DeliverAid initiative, which is a contribution mission where we take computers and educational supplies to disadvantaged children in impoverished areas using some of the profits we create by doing a commercial mission.

But having those two things divided down into separate missions really helps us think properly.

How we are going to do this …

  • Write down your mission, starting with We are going to … (You can use the examples below if you want inspiration.)
  • If you aren’t sure what your mission should be, try our Creating your Business Idea Shortlist tutorial.
  • If you have a number of ideas that you can’t decide between, try our Evaluating your Business Idea tutorial.

Some examples to help you

  • Google: We are going to reinvent the way that people navigate and explore by creating Google Earth
  • Apple: We are going to reinvent the way that people listen to music by inventing the iPod and iTunes store.
  • AgileOS: We are going to give people the systems and blueprints to start and build great businesses.
  • The Performance Partnership: We are going to combine the best in personal development technologies (NLP, Time line therapy, Huna) et cetera to create training programs that achieve real transformational change)