One of my favorite sessions in my workshops is helping entrepreneurs and business owners identify revenue streams, online and off. There’s a lot of work that goes into this before you can actually execute, there are some things you should think about before nailing down your top three profit center’s. This is a very high level approach, but you’ll get the idea.
– Pick the highest margin, low-investment streams (low hanging fruit)
This one speaks for itself, you should almost always spend your time here, your highest margin product’s and services, you’ll be happy because the cash-flow will be there.
– Advertise your chosen stream to your captive audience.
Knowing where your customers are, which social network do they most frequent, and why do they use that chosen social network more than others.
– Collect money, deliver goods, and keep customers happy.
Taken right off this blog tag line, Create. Differentiate. Deliver. Get paid for what you’ve made or done, make sure you deliver on time or earlier, and do everything you can to look after those who buy from you. And if they’re true fans, do something extra special.
Some ideas on revenue streams:
1.) Donation Drives
2.) Advertising products & services for other people
3.) Selling products & services based on your unique content.
4.) Selling products & services almost completely unrelated to your unique content.
Write down your ideas under each heading, pick your top three ideas and flush them out further.
It’s also important to know your break even point on each product & service you decide to sell.
I was once asked what do I get if I use the Open & Free Business Model, it’s simple really, it sets you free. We are so afraid to change the way we think about business, how it really is, we forgot what it was like when we first started, the energy, nervous fear that it might not work, but we kept on going anyway. There is only one thing you really need to master, your fear. If you could identify it, you would probably be able to nail it down to one or two things.
I can only really speak from my experiences, my fears, they still live in me, but they don’t keep me from doing what I so desperately want to do. It doesn’t stop me from doing the thing, it may continue to haunt me from going bigger, growing my art to something far bigger than myself. The truth is, I actually care more about you than I do myself, I write, I share, I speak in public, I do workshops, all for you. But sometimes, all those exercises don’t work, sometimes you want my work the old fashion way. I can assure you, you probably won’t find it in the traditional format, it’s not who I am, and it doesn’t support my message.
Choosing to execute the Open & Free Business Model takes guts, courage, and persistence, it’s not easy to stay the course. It has the same slow growth as the stock market, it takes time to master the model, it takes time to figure out what part of your business can leverage the model. But once you’ve figured out it’s power, you’ll never go back, you’ll never stop giving your customers what they really want from you and your business.
What they want is freedom, freedom to choose, freedom to tell you how they would like to be served, how they would like to use your product or service. If you’re listening, and your practicing the Open & Free Business Model, your world will change, and your business will look different to you, and to your community. But first you must admit your business needs to change, it needs something different, it needs to attract attention in a non-traditional way. Otherwise, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. That may be OK for you, but it also may be the very thing that causes your business to struggle, and maybe even go out of business.
Set you and your business free, learn the Open & Free Business Model, follow the three-step process, Create. Differentiate. Deliver.
It amazes me how afraid business owners are of giving something of value away, that fear of loss prevents them from learning something special about themselves and their customers. Typically, if they aren’t afraid, they are trying to dump a loss leader item that is costing them money, not because it adds value to their customer base. It’s a way of justifying a bad buying decision, let’s just get rid of it, rather than invest in it and do something special for our customers. If that’s you, why not rethink how you can bundle that bad buying decision and turn it into something customers could use and actually want.
Maybe you’re not one of those businesses trying to dump a product that didn’t sell like you thought it would, maybe you’re just trying to figure out how to bring up the bottom line during a down cycle in sales. It doesn’t really matter what or when, it does matter how view and think about incorporating FREE into your business. The benefits of free are mind-boggling sometimes, there are examples of business, large and small, that took the risk and came out looking like the most amazing company ever!
From very large organizations, to individuals, people who saw the value in their customers, not their wallets. The by-product of the interaction and free, was in the end, customers opening their wallets…or they became your largest PR & Marketing machine. You know, the kind of advertising you could never buy or afford.
Most of you know who Gary Vaynerchuck is, he gave away his Wine Library TV content, most of you know who Seth Godin is, he opened up Squidoo, and you get to use it for free, they both practice the Open & Free Business Model, in their own unique way, but that’s the they’re selling advantage. They gave content away, good content, and or provided a service that didn’t force you to open your wallet. They also did it for a considerable length of time, they built credibility. WestJet over Christmas used FREE as a way to not only show they value customers, but they did something no one saw coming. The setup a kiosk where you scanned your boarding pass and Santa appeared asking what you wanted for Christmas, hours later when those who participated landed, Westjet presented each of them with the gift they asked for by sliding it down the baggage carousel for them to pickup. It was brilliant, it was dubbed a #WestjetChristmas, and it was risky too. It doesn’t matter how much they spent on the gifts, they got it back and then some with the PR that came from it.
Watch the video:
No, not everyone can do what WestJet did, but you can do something. And no, not everyone needs your product or service, but someone does, and they’re looking for you, online and off. Keep in mind, what you think should be given away for free, may not be of value to your customer base, it’s a double-edged sword if you get it wrong. You must know your client base, understand some of their basic needs. You must have some data to work with to get the strategy right, to make sure it succeeds. Don’t just give something away for the sake of giving it away, make sure you think it through, and build something around it that makes it engaging, people want to be a part of it. Hire the right people to help you, don’t rely on your own brain power, get outside help, they will see your business from a different paradigm.
The Future of Business is leading people on a journey, giving them something they didn’t really need but wanted, to be a part of what you are doing anyway. Plus, your product or service actually solved a problem, or helped them get to the next level. You provided value because you valued them first. The Open & Free Business Model is a way to make a difference in your business, to make a difference in your customers view of you and your business. Use your business to make the world a better place.
It used to be, the only way to win at acquiring customers was to buy as much advertising as you could afford. The more you spent, the higher the results. That is and was the traditional advertising model that worked for a bricks & mortar business. Today the game has changed, yes traditional ways still work, not because it’s effective, because it’s what older generations prefer it, and they still have the money.
It’s easy to reach a traditional buyer, just run enough ads on traditional advertising vehicles, and you’ll get their attention. Today the customer with money is getting younger by the minute, and we need to market to them differently. We have to make offers that make us extremely uncomfortable. It used to be, if you wanted to get the greatest reach, you ran radio & television ads, newspaper has never had the same reach. You could run 30 second ads on radio for $30 a piece, but to get the frequency for it to be effective, you had to run more than 3 spots a day. The minimum would be 10 spots a day, because the life span of a radio ad is much like a Tweet on Twitter, about 20 minutes. So to have a successful customer acquisition campaign you had to spend significant amounts of money. The same held true for television, but at a much higher cost, not to run the ads, but to make the ad. Customer acquisition campaigns can also be considered branding campaigns, but they are different.
Today we have the Internet, we can reach more people via the NET than we could with radio & television together, for FREE! I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, I am wondering why there is still such resistance to it. The resistance has the power to kill your business, and you the business owner must guard against it, not succumb to it.
The challenge with having such great reach on the Internet isn’t the cost, it’s being found, and being heard. Hence, we have a new kind of advertising vehicle like Google, Yahoo & Bing. These powerful search networks have really just adopted the traditional way of advertising for the Internet. If you want to be found, land on the first page, you now have a sufficient budget to have that desired result.
Today you can purchase qualified traffic, which, if you speak to them the right way, will become newly acquired customers. The same challenge you had with traditional mediums, holds true with digital ad networks, you need to dedicate resources to get the desired results you’re looking for.
The secret to customer acquisition today, is by leveraging and Open & Free Business Model, where free is the driving force. Like the resistance, free has the same problem, for reasons unknown to me, entrepreneurs and business owners can’t seem to wrap their brains around free. We understand loss leader concepts, but not free, I suspect the fear of giving something away and not getting paid is far greater than we would like to believe.
Companies that have figured out how to use free, have also figured out how to generate revenue because of it. Companies like Google, Spotify, Skype, Vimeo, Twitter, Evernote, Grooveshark and many more. These companies have proven free works, and they have mastered acquiring customers, they have mastered list building to the 9th degree. It does work, but we seem to have more reasons not to use the model. Whatever the excuse is, it’ll work.
You want to get more customers, give them something they want….for free, and then figure out how to monetize your new customers. The old business models are in the genre of win-lose, the open and free business model is about win-win, where everyone benefits. Mater giving products and services for free, and you will have an entirely new market to sell to. The concept makes sense, it just sounds and feels foreign.
FREE is not the enemy, free is your best friend, learn to embrace free, figure out where free fits in your business, because free is the secret to customer acquisition.
- The Definition Of The Open & Free Business Model (owengreaves.com)
- The Future Of Business – Build Small Loyal Communities (owengreaves.com)
- The Future Of Business – Create. Differentiate. Deliver. (owengreaves.com)
I’ve shared with you in the past about ten people that get my attention everyday, but there are three authors that reach the very core of what I believe, I have to put them on your radar screen. I’ll assume you like to read, if you’re online, you have no choice. It’s been said, leaders are readers, but readers are not necessarily leaders.
I was recently asked who my favorite author is, I couldn’t answer with just one. I have many, but three tend to be at the top of the list.
These gentlemen have helped shape and affirm what I believe to be true in the world of business, more importantly, they are real people, with real issues, no different than you and I. The big difference, they Create. Differentiate. Deliver. all the time, they have a message for you, and I think we should pay attention.
All three of these authors, along with many others, have taught me in one way or another, to shape, to encourage, and they inspired The Open & Free Business Model, which I teach and preach here on this blog, and to anyone who is even a little bit curious about the 90 / 10 rule, it is the future of business.
The Internet is a huge world, and yet it can feel like a small town, because we are all connected. This connection, or connecting, is the new economy, it is what makes the world go round. It is the connectedness where you will be found, where you will find your place eventually, because someone also believes what you believe, and they will connect with you to become a true fan.
I challenge you to read anyone of these three authors everyday, if you do, your world will change, and it will never stop changing, especially if you put into practice the lessons learned from these brilliant minds.
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