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 having this conversation and the topic became very clear, one revenue stream will not be enough in the future to make a living. Everyone will become an affiliate of something. I found this to be true here on owengreaves.com, I do workshops, public speaking and I have links to affiliate products and services. I also own a webhosting company called Billyhost.com, as you can see I don’t rely on just one for cashflow or a primary source of income.
The younger generations get this, they have multiple passions and want to experience them all. They do something different for each one to pay for those said passions. They find a product or service that is in-line with that niche or passion idea. We all must adopt this theology if we are going to insist on doing business on the Internet. Yes there will be a few exceptions but for the most part, most of us will need to leverage multiple revenue streams to be able to do the things we dream about. But survival will require us to think outside the box and align our passions with those niches that will help us make the most money.
In my workshops I help you find those alignments, show you examples of those who have gone before you. I’m trying to plug the workshop, I’m sharing that there many of us out here that are doing it, and doing it well. We want you to learn and grow, that’s why we share here on the Internet.
If you have read many of my blog posts, you will have found an affiliate link or two along the way. You will also notice that I have a page for Headway Themes, I am an affiliate of that product, it’s the best WordPress Theme on the market in my opinion, and based on the sales, many seem to agree. I sell Headway because I run a WordPress Blog, and I run a Webhosting Business, which means I build a site or two. It’s in-line with my interests and it helps me make money.
Simple right? Not really, but you get the idea. So if you were going to align yourself with an affiliate product, what might that be, how does it relate to the passion you are wanting to experience, how will it make you money to experience it?
When the other 3 Billion People get online, you will have a whole new market to leverage, and with 5.1 Billion here on the Internet, everyone will need to be an affiliate of something. What do you think?
This has been on mind for some time now, why corporations don’t get social media. I may be way off base here but there are primarily two or three reasons why they don’t or can’t wrap their brians around what’s happening in the new way marketing.
1.) They haven’t tried, touched, or even asked what the meaning of Social Media is or is not.
2.) Don’t have a clear understanding of Outbound & Inbound Marketing concepts.
3.) Only know how to Broadcast – push, sell products & services.
4.) View a relationship as a sale only.
I’m sure this list could be longer but it’s clear to me that unless there is a simple way of helping the highly educated (constipated) executives, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Why do a very small few get it and the majority don’t? Fear of Change, Fear of Loss, Fear of not seeing the big picture due to a poor understanding of what they are being asked to participate in.
I know a particular business owner who has been picking my brain, wants to understand the details first, make sure he experiences somekind of ROI before commiting to this new marketing environment. This would lead me to item #5 – CONTROL – there is a fear of losing control like never before, look at the music industry, a prime example of the fear of losing money. Eventually, music will be free, or at least some kind of Collective License that allows for a mutual interest rather than a monopoly.
It’s not all the business owners & executives fault. The fault lies with those who consider themselves experts in this Social Media environment, provide poor information and relate the message that only confuses them more.
This has been written about before, I’m not saying anything new here. The truth is it will never change, just as there are criminals, Internet Marketers and Social Media Experts…there will always be people looking to find a short cut to success. Most people don’t want to wait, have patience and or do the work, they just want to cash grab and do as little as possible. Knowing that, I’m not shocked or surprised at how business owners respond when the topic of Social Media comes up.
So what’s the answer? Do your homework, get a good understanding of what your prospect or client is asking, learn what Social Media is, learn Social Media’s place in the marketing mix, and above all….if you don’t know, shut your mouth or say I don’t know but I’ll find out. Don’t spew crap so you don’t look bad, tell the truth and go on the journey with your prospective client, better yet, invite someone who does understand to the meeting. This problem #6 – poor representation which means the wrong information is being shared.
I’ve ranted enough on the topic, there’s a Social Media Mess out there and it’s up to us to clean it up. If Social Media is putting the power back into the hands of we the people, then let’s make sure we are using that power correctly and for good.
Why Corporation’s Don’t Get Social Media? You tell me, I’m just one voice, one person listening to business owners in my area, what are you coming up against and how are you being part of the solution?
This section may answer some question but will also bring out more, consider it an opportunity to think tank with your team. The S.W.O.T (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) gives a quick reference to things that may or may not be real, but are possibilities. The accumulation of all these steps builds a road map, an understanding, and makes it possible to explain or describe where you are going in a short concise way, and makes it obvious what you are planning to do in the coming month’s and or years.
Keep in mind there is no wrong or right answer here, you are merely compiling and observing your organizations current status. This is just one step on the journey, one step in building a business case, and one more step in assessing what services and changes are needed to support your organizations business requirements. The basics rarely change, only the technology does, and of course there is always a list of nice to haves, documenting everything helps you filter what’s important and what is not.
Again, this list will be different…it should be as technology and business needs change. Here is an example:
1. Minimal Core Infrastructure (name your application here)
2. New, enthusiastic team
1. 85% of staff are new to the organization
2. Unable to meet the expectations (Can’t move fast enough to please everyone)
3. Network instability
4. Lack of integration of core applications
1. Social Media Networks
2. Open Source
1. Inability to compete for qualified skilled people
2. Security – hacking, spam etc.
3. Inadequate budget
4. Little control over vendor products or direction
5. Little control over technologies
This is just an example of what your S.W.O.T. might look like, pull your team together and ask all the tough questions, make an exhaustive list and then pick the top 5 from each of the 4 areas in your SWOT.
This is the prime definition taken from the Wikipedia site on SWOT Analysis:
SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.
Until next time
This question has been nagging at me these past few weeks like I was being pecked to death by a chicken, could it be that these words are not computing with local business owners? It’s like your smallest child learning how to read an can’t pronounce a word, they end up creating a new word because they can’t say what they are reading. No it’s not a learning disability, it’s an understanding of what those words actually mean and how to use it in this new age and environment of marketing. It’s changed, or has it? Anytime you have the word ” Social ” attached to a phrase or sentence, people think less formal, beach party, BBQ or relaxing on the deck with friends. Yes, that is a form of being social and it is somewhat related to the term in business circles as well. The problem isn’t the word, it’s the thinking that is attached to the words, and small business owners can’t seem to break how they feel or think about the word. It’s not that they can’t, they just don’t know how and it’s embarrassing enough that they won’t ask for help on the topic for fear of looking stupid. I mean come on, it’s the words ” Social Media ” how could I not know what that means! So rather than find out, they think, let’s not go there and or I’ll avoid the conversation all together. Worse yet, I’ll ask my kids. Small to medium business, all business for that matter needs to educate themselves on the tidal wave before them and how to ride that wave without being wiped out.
In my corner of the world here in Western Canada, a very small group of people participate in the formal sense of the words social media. This group is comprised of mostly people from chat rooms or FaceBook and the like, not a many are business owners trying to add this environment into their marketing mix or even their support systems. I say this because I’ve been coming up against this lack of understanding everyday and this uncomfortable feeling when you try to share with them, to help them understand what it is or could be for their business. It’s like the words Social Media aren’t even in their vocabulary or business language, it’s completely missing, and if it is there, it’s a picture of people standing around a water cooler. So in light of that, I am posting the Wiki definition of Social Media here for all the world to see.
Social Media Definition
Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal, political and business use.
Distinction from Industrial Media
Social media are distinct from industrial media, such as newspapers, television, and film. While social media are relatively inexpensive and accessible tools that enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information, industrial media generally require significant resources to publish information. Examples of industrial media issues include a printing press or a government-granted spectrum license.
“Industrial media” are commonly referred to as “traditional”, “broadcast” or “mass” media.
One characteristic shared by both social media and industrial media is the capability to reach small or large audiences; for example, either a blog post or a television show may reach zero people or millions of people. The properties that help describe the differences between social media and industrial media depend on the study. Some of these properties are:
1. Reach – both industrial and social media technologies provide scale and enable anyone to reach a global audience.
2. Accessibility – the means of production for industrial media are typically owned privately or by government; social media tools are generally available to anyone at little or no cost.
3. Usability – industrial media production typically requires specialized skills and training. Most social media do not, or in some cases reinvent skills, so anyone can operate the means of production.
4. Recency – the time lag between communications produced by industrial media can be long (days, weeks, or even months) compared to social media (which can be capable of virtually instantaneous responses; only the participants determine any delay in response). As industrial media are currently adopting social media tools, this feature may well not be distinctive anymore in some time.
5. Permanence – industrial media, once created, cannot be altered (once a magazine article is printed and distributed changes cannot be made to that same article) whereas social media can be altered almost instantaneously by comments or editing.
Community media constitute an interesting hybrid of industrial and social media. Though community-owned, some community radios, TV and newspapers are run by professionals and some by amateurs. They use both social and industrial media frameworks.
Here is the link from the above: Social Media Definition
The real issue isn’t what the words mean, it’s how a consultant or media firm explains them, provides a case study that reflects that a business can derive an ROI from Social Media. Thus, giving the term value and a new way of marketing and communicating with their customers, by building a deeper, richer relationship that builds a new kind of loyalty. More importantly it provides a forum where you the business owners actually cares about what your clientele think about your products and services. A place where you can give them and even better experience of dealing with you.
Another challenge for these words and business owner’s; there are people out there claiming to be knowledgeable and understand social media that just plain don’t. These individuals land high positions in large organizations, they get the position and then scramble around to figure out how to do the job when they have no business being there in the first place. A great rant on this topic is from my friend Olivier Blanchard of The Brand Builder, his video entitled, “Is your Social Media Director qualified?”, it articulates far better than I Olivier’s frustration and concern with these individuals in one short video. Take the time to view it.
As you can tell there is alot of work to be done, an educational track that needs to be articulated in a way that business owners can connect the dots, connect the words to a real opportunity and value they have not considered before. Each business owner needs to bone up and learn that the term Social Media is a new marketing environment but also a relationship they have avoided in the past. You can no longer avoid it because it is the new word of mouth, it can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You have to decide which it will be.