Virtually every One-Person Business owner I’ve worked with has both products and services. Some of them just don’t realize what they have. Don’t let thinking you only provide service, don’t have products, or don’t know how to get started, slow you down. Time to learn from OPE (other people’s experiences).
Look at what your competitors and colleagues offer in addition to their standard/professional services. What do they offer on their web sites? What have they published? What complimentary materials do they offer clients and potential clients?
One client of mine was surprised to realize that one of the services she bundled into her consulting–documenting how and what she had been doing for the client, her processes and procedures–was as valued by her clients as her consulting services. She hadn’t mentioned the documentation in her sales pitch, just added it to the deliverables at the end of the project. She didn’t realize she could charge more because she was providing more service.
Develop products that sing to you. I love to write special reports, five – eight page expositions of a single topic or addressing a specific issue or question. Usually these come from issues or discussions that arise when working with my clients. As I puzzle out the answers, it becomes clear how helpful the information could be for others.
One colleague hates to write, but put her in front of a video camera and she comes alive! Most of her products are video based, not written. Another prefers to service her client base with teleseminars. All her products are recorded live with existing clients, and then bundled with excellent workbooks, real-time videos demonstrating step-by-step directions, and follow-up autoresponder series adding value and easily implemented next steps.
Develop products and services that fit your life and lifestyle. One seasoned professional loves nothing better than going to another part of the country, preferably for a long-term consulting assignment. She enjoys getting to know new people, places, and local highlights. Me? After doing that for more than thirty years, I’m ready to stay home with my cats, garden, and family, working more on the phone and the Internet.
Of course, your products have to fit your clients. If you are targeting high-end executive coaching, your most effective piece just might be a four-color, printed white paper, rather than a downloadable special report. Both the format and design of your products, and the fees you charge, should reflect market prices, and your marketing collateral and web site be congruent with your executive look.
If you’re working with start-ups, you’ll need a more aggressive look. With governments, stability and seriousness. With co-operative nursery schools, a playful, fun look might be more appropriate.
Whatever your business, your life style, or your client base, start developing the right product mix to leverage your impact on your clients and your bottom line.