The Top 6 Commandments for Your Business

Published April 18, 2016 by Jane Portman

Having just returned from a mastermind retreat in Chicago, I can’t help myself but recite the takeaways. So I decided to put together a solid blog post so that everyone can benefit from these simple recommendations — which can easily turn your business into a money-making machine.

The mastermind group I’m talking about is called Productized Consulting Roundtable, and it consists of the smartest people in the world. Not only do they run a high-touch consulting business, but they are great at building audiences and developing products (productized consulting, infoproducts, and software). We wrote a book together — it’s called The Independent Consulting Manual. And we have more spectacular things planned!

At the retreat we did collective teardowns for each other’s businesses, and I kept hearing (and giving) the same recommendations over and over again, applied to completely different situations. Now you can hear them, too.

Charge more

This applies both to consulting and products. Whether you’re drowning in work, or facing troublesome clients too often, it’s a go-to recipe for many problems.

For products, a price tag doesn’t have as much decision-making power as we think. People purchase based on the pain you solve, and their loyalty towards your persona — your real customers won’t quit just because of a $10 price difference.

If you want some pricing magic, then tiers can do better wonders than merely offering a single low price. Anchor to your own products, not to the products of your competitors.

Beware of whale clients

“Whale” clients are those who provide a large portion of your income. They’re incredibly lucrative, as they support you financially without all the hassle of finding and serving multiple clients. But if something goes wrong with such client, you’ll probably end up in a financial struggle. As such contracts are still too tough to turn down, here are a few ways to mitigate the risk:

Define your audience and stick to your decision

Trying to target multiple audiences results in a constant headache. You’re never sure how to write your copy and what exactly to do. Define just one audience and stick to your decision — it will make your life so much easier!

A few important qualifying statements to make sure you are serving the right audience:

Build a focused product line

Focusing on a single product line at a time also works wonders. Cut off and abandon products that don’t align with your audience and your current focus. There’s a traditional product ladder (and a corresponding sales funnel) you can build, and there’s no reason to spread your efforts any thinner:

Ideally, all these products should be focused on a single audience and similar pains. Pro tip: these products can target various stages of professional development (or product lifecycle stages). The course might help the beginners, the book might target more advanced users, etc.

Double down on your mailing list

A mailing list is your most important professional asset, so start it early, and keep readers engaged with quality content (of course, that’s easier said than done). Being open and personal is the best recipe for a loyal, long-lasting relationship between yourself and your audience.

Don’t create “large piles of work” for your customers

Remember that your readers are busy people, so don’t dump large amounts of content upon them. If your lead magnet is a free ebook, it’s very unlikely they will actually read it (we hardly find time to read the expensive books, leave alone free ones). Instead, split your content into edible course modules, or replace your free book with a smaller cheat-sheet.

Same applies to paid newsletters and magazines: a shorter weekly newsletter is easier to consume than a one-off, massive monthly magazine (that’s the recommendation I personally received for my upcoming paid newsletter).

And this applies to SaaS products, too! Your goal is to make everything as effortless as possible. “Single-click” strategies work great as a promotional tool.

The final word

Hope these simple recommendations are helpful for your business! Maybe they will help you be more confident while taking decisions. Maybe they will help you charge higher rates that you deserve, or finally shed off unwanted side projects.

In any case, I’m relieved that this “secret knowledge” of our mastermind group is now public and can serve all of you, my dear friends!

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