As you’ve already seen, I’m building more than just a consulting business and I’ve mentioned a few times that marketing a product is very different from marketing services. Since July, I’ve been working on creating a new digital product and there’s been a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s a few tips about leveraging the network you’ve built for more than just referrals.
Many entrepreneurs belong to various Mastermind, Toastmasters, and other professional speaking groups. These are certainly useful, but if you’re operating a service-based business while concurrently developing a new product, you may find yourself being pulled in too many directions. Every meeting needs to be productive and you’re often still trying to make sales while you refine your idea. Don’t be afraid to use your existing networking groups that you may be a part of to practice your product’s pitch in front of a group of peers. You’ve (presumably) developed a relationship with these people and they are just as likely to give you critical feedback as any Mastermind or Toastmaster group member.
As you build your product, you must constantly refine your message for clarity. Have a slide deck for the pitch ready to go and refine it after each presentation. I found after my first presentation that my slides were far too focused on the idea of data breaches as part of the background information - a market Compliance Clinic isn’t targeting. I found I needed to focus more on the history of audits and the impact those can have. Each time I present, I solicit feedback and make adjustments to the presentation. Once I made an announcement on LinkedIn, I was able to further revise my message as I explained to those that emailed me what the new venture was all about.
By leveraging my existing business relationships, I receive much more useful feedback because it comes from people with whom I already have a rapport and are more likely to give me honest feedback versus the standard “that was great!”. I’ve also been able to improve my public speaking skills and I chose one specific group to focus entirely on my new venture in while still marketing this consulting business in 1-2 others. This is important from a cashflow perspective so that bills are still paid and I minimize the chance of confusion between brands. Most importantly, however, I receive honest feedback which allows me to further improve.