Business Planning DEEP DIVE (Pt. 2)
About four years ago, I created The Easiest Business Plan Ever. Over the past four years, it’s been downloaded by thousands of people just proving how easy it can be to create a solid strategic plan for your business. I’ve made several videos, about Business Planning. Most of these videos were 20 minutes long but up until this point, I’ve never gone very deep with any one section of my business planning process. We’ve gotten so many questions about different parts of the plan, that I’m going to do a deep dive into part one of business planning.
We’re going to be working through part two, which is the marketing messaging. We’re going to be working on coming up with some marketing messages that explain what your company does in a really clear and persuasive way so that people who want to work with you want to buy your products and you can easily turn your business into a success.
In this section of the plan, you’re going to get clear on exactly what you’re providing to the customers what the real value of that is for them, what problem you’re solving for them, who exactly they are, and also how you’re going to deliver those results to them. We’ll also define your system, your unique method, and why should potential customers choose you over your competition. Answering these questions is important because is really going to help you to better understand how to explain what your company does and what your product does for your customers so that people are interested in buying that product to get that value and so people understand why they should choose you for help solving their problem.
What problem does your company solve?
Let’s get on to the very first part of the messaging section of your business plan. What problem does your company solve for your customers? Pretty much every company solves a problem for their customers, their product solves some sort of problem that those customers are facing. So you need to figure out what is that problem, that you are solving.
For example, if you are a virtual assistant, your clients would be online business owners who are struggling with too much to do. The problem that you’re solving for them is that they’re overwhelmed, they don’t have enough time to do everything on their plate, and you can help them out with that.
Another example is, what if you sell an online course about photography? Well, your clients clearly want to learn about photography and that’s why they buy your course but what is the problem that they’re facing, well they have a gap between where they want to be and where they are right now. They want to know how to take beautiful pictures of perhaps their children, but they don’t know how and that is a problem. They can’t take the pictures that they want to take. In order to figure out what problem you solve for your customers think about the result that you create for them, and then backtrack.
What result does your company create for your customers?
- What problem does that result solve?
- What would the absence of that result look like?
Now, keep in mind this is not the product that you are selling for example if you’re selling a blender. The result isn’t, they have a blender. The result is not even necessarily that they have smoothies, their result is that now they have an easy, convenient, healthy breakfast option that they feel good about.
If you’re not quite sure what the result is that your product created for your customers, think about what their life will be like before and after your product. Where are they now and then after using or having your product, where will they be, and try to go a step beyond the obvious.
For example, instead of just thinking, after they buy my blender then they’ll be able to make smoothies or they’ll have a blender, you need to go a step further and think, what will that mean for them, how will it change their life? Now they’ll have this easy, convenient healthy breakfast option that they feel good about. That’s the real result of your product.
How does your company create that result?
Next, you need to answer the question, how does your company create that result? What does your customer need to do in order to get that result that they’re looking for and what does your company do to create that result for the customer? Answering this question really doesn’t need to be difficult. You don’t need to try to persuade anyone here, you just need to tell it like it is keep it simple, keep it clear because here is the power of this, when people understand your process, then they will trust your process.
Let me say that again slightly differently people trust what they understand. If you tell people, I can save you tons of time, but you don’t tell them how, then they won’t really believe that you can, but if you say, I can save you tons of time by teaching you an easier faster way to clean your home, suddenly that’s much more believable, and if you break it down even more and tell them what this whole system looks like and how it will save them time cleaning their home, they’re going to believe you even more and be much more likely to buy your product.
Who does your company serve?
We’ve defined who your business services in answering the last several questions. You’ve started to get to know your target customer, you’ve been thinking about what problem they’re facing, what result they want to achieve, and how you’re going to help them achieve that result. Now, it should be pretty easy for you to answer the next question which is, who is that customer, who is your target customer who does your business serves?
So in this section of your marketing message here in part two of the business plan, you get to be a little bit more specific and add some more details to your target customer for this section. You don’t need to fully flesh out every single detail about your target customer, but it is good to add a few of the key details that set this person apart from the rest of the populace.
For example, maybe most of your customers are going to be over a certain age, or under a certain age, maybe they will mostly be one gender or another gender, maybe they’re mostly going to live in one country or another country, or maybe they’re all going to have had a similar background, whatever are those key details, that’s what I want you to write down.
Why do you do what you do?
The next part of this plan might feel unnecessary, and if you don’t immediately have an answer to it you might be tempted to skip it, but I promise it’s really going to help you to be able to create a more persuasive marketing message.
Now I’m sure you know some of you have a really strong reason why you do what you do, but others of you might think, well, you know, I just do this to make money or just do this because I can. But I want you to go a little bit deeper with that, and here’s why. The reason it matters, why you do what you do is just because when you tap into your real reason why, and you get clear on it and you remember that reason, you’re going to be able to tell the story of your company and why it exists and how you are striving to help people and change the world much more authentically and people will pick up on that.
Why should your customers choose you over your competition?
If you’re just trying to get out there and sell a product that’s not going to be very attractive and people probably won’t want to buy your product, but if you tell them about your personal reason why you want to help people in this way. Well, then that will be much more attractive and you’ll find that sales come much more easily. Why should your customers choose you over your competition?
I know a lot of people hear this question and they think, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe they should just choose my competition.” I know that is exactly how I felt when I was first starting my business I felt like I couldn’t provide the services and sell the products that I was selling any better than my competition. In fact, their products were likely better.
Here’s the easiest way to figure out how to differentiate yourself from your competition. You just need to think about what are the current problems in the industry or the current problems, someone might face if they were trying to solve the problem that you help people solve.
For example, let’s say that you teach parents how to overcome pickiness in their child’s eating. Those parents who have picky eaters, you teach them strategies for overcoming that. There are probably other people out there who teach similar methods, who help parents overcome this same problem. But why don’t their systems work? Why is your system better?
You just need to think about the problems with their system. Don’t even think about your system at first just think about the problems with their system, maybe their systems take too much time. Maybe they create some negative behaviors, maybe they don’t really create the result the parents are looking for. Maybe they cause the parents to have to do things they don’t really want to do.
Another example, let’s say you’re a wedding photographer. What are some of the problems that brides sometimes have with wedding photographers? Maybe they’re too expensive, maybe they don’t show up on time, maybe the packages are too complicated to understand, maybe the photographer tries to force them to buy more than they want or they don’t include as many things in the packages as the brides want?
Well, you can fix those problems in your own services. Think about the problems that people have with your competitors, and then figure out how you can provide a service, or sell a product that doesn’t have those problems.
Your proprietary system:
You’ve made it to the very last section, your proprietary system. What is this exactly? Well, basically it is the system that you use to get your customers that result that you talked about up earlier in your marketing message. Your system is unique and different from your competition’s system, coming up with your proprietary system really doesn’t need to be complicated.
You just need to think about the three or so steps that you are going to take to deliver the result to the customer that they’re really looking for. Or alternatively, you might think about the three or so steps that your customer needs to follow with your product in order to get that result that they’re looking for. Just think about what that process really needs to look like. What’s the first thing someone needs to do? It could be as simple as, buy the product or sign up for our services, or fill out an easy questionnaire.
Then what is the second step they need to do, maybe they need to book a consultation call, or they need to take the product out of the box, or they need to set up the product.
Then what is the third step they need to do? Maybe they just need to turn it on, or they need to sit back and let you do the work, but you need to outline what this system looks like that people can use to get the result.
For one other completely different example, if you were selling an online course, about how to get more traffic to your blog, then you might walk them through the three main things they need to do in order to get that traffic to their blog. When people see the system, and they understand how it works, then they’ll trust the system as I mentioned earlier, so when you explain the system, you’re not going to tell them every little nuance of how to do it. They’ll still really need to buy your course to be able to learn how to put the system into practice, but by explaining how they can get that traffic to their blog, they’ll be much more trusting that your course can deliver those results and that’s it.
Once you answer the questions we walk through in today’s video, you will have completely finished, the second part of your business plan and you will have your marketing messages all worked out. As I said at the beginning of today’s video, having your marketing messages written means that your business will be able to more clearly and effectively explain exactly what you do, which will make people much more interested in working with you and buying your products because they’ll truly understand how you can help them.
If you didn’t already watch episode number one. Then, click right here to watch episode one now. In that episode, we go over the business over review where you figure out some things like your business name, what your legal structure should be, where you will do business, describing what your business does, and a few other things along those lines. It is the foundational work, you need to do first.
Now, of course, your very first step to getting started with this is to go and download The Easiest Business Plan Ever. When you do so you will get all six parts of the easiest business plan, and in future weeks we will be working through those subsequent parts of the plan so that you have all of the details and guidance you need to be able to create a really solid plan for yourself.