Over the past 6 months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with amazing small business owners.
From writers to marketers to boutique owners, each small business owner had one thing in common: vast knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.
While most business owners focus their time and energy on their core product or service, very few took the time to convert their knowledge into revenue-generating digital assets.
Take for example a women’s clothing boutique owner, Ali. She offered unique stylish collection of clothing for women in their 40’s and 50’s. While most of her customers visited her boutique for this particular reason, her most loyal customers came for her knowledge.
- They wanted to know how to put together a wardrobe.
- They wanted to know what items complement their body shape.
- They wanted to know that their stylish years aren’t behind them.
They came because they wanted to learn.
Ali wanted to teach and share what she knew, but one-on-one daily interactions didn’t afford her with enough time to reach a wider audience of women. So she decided to turn her expertise into niche digital products for her customers, and sell them under a membership site.
$30,000. That’s how much her site made in the first three months.
You have the secrets, people want the secrets
In Zero to One, Peter Their talks about every great business having a secret.
“Great companies can be built on open but unsuspected secrets about how the world works.”
As a small business owner you have secrets. They might not be world-changing secrets like the ones Facebook, Uber, or Amazon discovered, but they might be enough to change a handful of lives.
They might be enough to solve a pain point people are willing to pay for.
And that right there is a gold mine waiting to be excavated.
It’s easy to start, just ask
The simplest way to discover what your customers need is to ask and listen.
A simplified version of the Ask Method, created by Ryan Levesque, is to send an email to your customers (yes, you better be collecting those email addresses) with a simple three question survey:
- “Describe your biggest pain point in [your product or service’s niche]”
- “If I helped you solve your pain point, in what format would you prefer I delivered the solution: eBook, online course, workshop, video?”
- “Can you leave your phone number if I have any follow up questions?”
To sort the most relevant answers, count the length of each persons response to question #1 (export the data to Excel and use the =LEN( ) formula). Then if people give you their phone number multiple the length by 1.5, if not keep the length as is. Finally, sort the data from longest to shortest and only look at the top 20%.
Follow up with phone calls. Talk to your customers in the store. Keep digging.
By this time you will have real, concrete data of what pain points your customers are experiencing and what format they want to receive the solution in.
Outsource as much as you can
As a small business owner, you most likely aren’t at leisure to spend 10 hours away from your business to create content.
Start with no more than 3–4 pain points from your research.
Schedule 4 hours on a weekend to write out an outline for each solution to a pain point. Then schedule another 4 hours to sit with an ebook writer, or videographer, or course designer and give them everything they need to work their magic.
If you are hesitant to spend money on someone else creating your products then you still aren’t seeing the bigger picture here.
You aren’t building mere info products, you’re building assets for your business. Assets that can generate monthly recurring revenue for years to come.
So what’s it going to be?
You have the secrets, your customers want the secrets.
Uncover that gold mine.
Originally published on Medium.