Love Offerings & Your Business Plan
NOTE: This is the final column from Max in this format.
He will return in our NEW video format
ow can the concept of Love, as defined in a broader context, play a role in defining success in today’s left brained, high-tech world of business?
By blending the hard core, practical business applications of the head along with the more subtle, evolutionary qualities of the heart, we can develop a viable, meaningful mission and start to see a new paradigm emerge for becoming an enlightened entrepreneur of the future.
Within a few short years, many qualities associated with Love may very well become minimum standard requirements for achieving business success.
January's column identified several criteria for choosing a business you’d love to be in, February’s column covered how to select clients with whom you’d love to do business. In March we discussed how to discover, develop and commit to your Mission, including the financial and non-financial benefits you may impart.
This month, let’s take a look at the actual services you’ll offer and how to formulate a viable business plan that works for you as well as your clients.
You know you love the business you’re in, but what about the specific services you provide?
Do they really reflect who you are at the deepest core of your being? We previously covered the importance of why you should Be Authentic, so now you’ve got to make sure you love the services you offer to clients as well, in order to maintain a natural enthusiasm for your business over the long term.
Think in terms of revenue streams. Charge for everything you do. Don’t automatically assume you must offer “loss leaders.” Unlike Wal-Mart, professionals charge for their time, value and expertise they bring to the table. If necessary, you can always develop a lower priced version of your offerings, but don’t give it away.
Repeat after me, “I do not work for free. I do not work for free…” Repeat as often as necessary.
Managing Client Expectations
Make sure to be specific here, defining and describing the full scope and depth of your offerings. Do not describe your processes, rather detail the features and benefits of the actual service.
Don’t leave anything out. Tell your customer everything. After all, they can’t buy it if they don’t have a full understanding of what “it” is. Assume your customer knows nothing, because there’s a good chance that what they think you mean is not at all like the actual service you offer.
Fully disclose what aspects of your service you personally provide. Which parts do you delegate or outsource? These are important points to cover, as you start to manage client expectations right from the beginning of your relationship.
Your Business Plan: Time Is Money
Now you can begin to plan out your “Love Offerings.” If you are involved in providing a service, (as opposed to selling a product) you need to account for your time. For example, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they can double their income if they just get twice as many clients. The problem with this logic is that you’ll need to work twice as many hours as well, and this is probably not one of your goals. In fact, usually it’s just the opposite. You probably want to work fewer hours but earn more money.
They key is to work backwards from your goals, accounting for your time. First, identify your offerings above. Next, break down each service into its component parts, and assign a time frame to each. Third, decide how many hours per week and weeks per year you’re going to work.
And finally, back out that portion of your time spent running the other aspects of your business, such as mail, email, research, meetings, etc. The result will be the maximum number of clients you can serve given your choices above of what you do, how long it takes you to do it, etc.
Divide this number into your financial goal. For example, let’s say you’d like to double your revenue. Decide how much of your total revenue is going to come from each service you offer. You now have a firm figure of the minimum yearly target revenue per client per year for each service you provide.
The Price Is Right
At this point, you can begin to price each service and set minimum account sizes or ticket sizes accordingly. Remember, you can’t be all things to all people. And if you try, you’ll probably end up appealing to no one instead of everyone. Don’t be afraid to turn down smaller clients.
You may wish to put the above variables on a spread sheet and play “what if” with the numbers.
You’re bound to find some interesting relationships among different aspects of your business which provide different amounts of operating leverage.
For example, you’ll probably notice that taking more vacation time won’t affect your minimum target revenue per account, and therefore your pricing, nearly as much as if you shave just a little time off how long it takes to provide each service, IE: By delegating. In other words, it’s not how much time you work, but rather, it’s what you’re doing when you are working that counts.
When finished, you’ll come out the other side of this exercise with a viable business plan. It’s not only a great planning tool, but it can even be fun!
In summary, here are some questions to help you articulate and plan your “Love Offerings”:
Answering the above questions, and going through the business planning exercise will help you solidify your Love Offerings and, “Take It To The Max!”
Bolka, is an Asheville author, consciousness-based business and
personal financial advisor and an Ayurvedic stress management
consultant. He blends hard core practical business applications
of the head with the more subtle, evolutionary aspects of the heart.
For information, including his
free monthly "Bolkabits E-tips,"
email@example.com Info 828-299-7038
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