Contrary to what you might see on the internet, there is more than one way to grow a business. Too often we are told you can’t scale a one to one business, you have to offer a course or a group program or sell a product.
All of these are good options IF they are in alignment with how you want to work in your business. For me, that is the key to building a sustainable thriving business. Working in a way that that works for you.
There is no point building a business based on what you have seen other people do. It can leave you feeling drained and hating your business.
It is easy to see a person is successful and think that is the way I should do my business. But I am here to tell you that for every person you see (probably a loud extrovert) there are as many successful quieter business owners doing business in a myriad of other ways.
Plus, what you see on their beautiful website is often not how they actually make their money (and they may not actually be making much profit). They don’t talk about how much they make through things like speaking, private consulting and affiliate programs.
You will never really know what someone’s business model is, so start planning how you want to grow your business, your way.
I have been thinking about the different options for business models and have come up with this model (yes a bit meta I know):
On the left hand side it denotes who does the client work and across the top indicates what you are leveraging the most, your knowledge or your time. Now I know for the time option where you are doing most of the work, you are most definitely also leveraging your knowledge. But you are doing it in a much more tailored way to your client. It is much more personalised and uses more of your time. This is not a perfect model (what model is) but I hope that makes sense.
With Option 1, we have you doing all (or at least the majority) of the client work. You are working with clients in a very individualised manner and either one to one or in small group setting. It is a high touch service.
Building a business using this method is partly about getting your prices right for the income you want to earn. And then making sure what you deliver is commensurate with that price. If you are going to be a high end coach you need to deliver a high end customer experience.
In the bottom left hand box (option 2), the service the client is getting is still highly individualized and high touch service. But people other than you are providing it. Whether that is through an agency model or through some type of licencing or franchising model. I know the word agency may make you think of certain types of business.
But the agency model can be applied to many service based businesses. If you are a personal trainer, this model would have you employing other personal trainers to work one on one with clients. If you are a coach you may have other coaches working for you. People in the medical area may use the term practice for this model, accountants the word firm. But the underlying idea is that people work for you serving clients.
Your role in this model is much more about leading those working for you or licensing from you and having good processes and systems in place. For me this model is all about having those good systems in place and being a good leader to be successful.
The top right hand box (option 3) is about leveraging your knowledge. It is about getting larger groups together and providing them with the knowledge but not the high touch one on one support. What is provided is much less individualised to your client. You may offer some individual support eg. through an online group or providing input during a workshop but it won’t have the depth that the two options in the left hand column provide.
With this option, you are often providing the client with a smaller transformation than you are with the options in the left hand column. But not always.
For this option one key to success is being able to grow an audience that buys as well as having a clear path for repeat customers. This option is much more of a numbers game than the two options on the left hand side.
Then the final option is in the bottom right hand corner (option 4) where you leverage other people’s knowledge. Rather than selling your own courses, workshops, products etc you sell other people’s.
The traditional way of doing this is through affiliate programs,. There are other options though such as online summits and course bundles. These often incorporate an affiliate program as part of the offering, but it is not the only way you make sales. You may well contribute something to a summit or a course bundle – your own presentation or course. But, the majority of the content comes from other people
The right audience and product is again important in this model, particularly if you are acting as an affiliate. It is not as important for the online summits and course bundles where you are also leveraging other people’s audiences.
For these options systems and planning are key to this model as is building a good network of people to work with whose products you trust. Networks and relationships are crucial to all these options. And even more so with this final option where you are putting your reputation on the line by recommending other people’s products.
A few other things to note:
- The focus of this model is very much on who does the client work. It doesn’t mean you work alone for the two options where it says you are doing the work. You may have a VA, a social media manager, a web designer, a copywriter or any other number of people supporting you, but they are not delivering the majority of the client work.
- You don’t have to pick just one option. Though it is good to focus on one option, have systems and marketing set up for that method. Then look at the other options if that is what you want to do.
- The model doesn’t specific the delivery method. All of these options can be delivered in different ways. It will depend on what outcomes you are delivering for your client and how your clients like to work.
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