You can't polish a turd, babe.
So it doesn't matter how snazzy your marketing is if your business model is a big pile of poo.
It's taken me a year of trial and error to get a business that works for me, now it brings in the cash I need and I work the hours that I want.
Rinse and Repeat
The way I run my business has now been tried and tested and streamlined so I can work with my clients, giving them a bespoke service, whilst my business ticks over in the background:
I know exactly what I'm offering and my services are specific
I know the turnaround time for each service
My pricing structure brings in the money I need
My qualifying and onboarding process is tight
I know my marketing strategy works and I have a plan if things go south
If you're keen to know if your business model checks all the boxes, I've created a step by step to help guide you through your business foundations, to see if there's anything you can improve.
Step by Step Business Model Guide
The key to your answers is to be honest with yourself and not what others (i.e. your target market or competitors) expect from you. You've started a business in something you are good at and you know there are enough people out there who will buy from you - but you've also started a business because you want to work for yourself, be your own boss and have a great work / life balance.
It's your business, so how do you want to run it.
1. How many hours do you want to work per day / week?
Think about how you want to live your life now you run your own business: what does a month in the life of you look like?
Take into consideration your hobbies, self care, days off and other life commitments, then decide how these will fit in and around your work.
2. How much money do you want to make per month?
List each of the following in detail to create your monthly financial target:
What are your monthly outgoings? i.e. bills
What are your nice-to-haves? i.e. beauty appointments
What are you saving for? i.e. a holiday or a house
3. What does your business offer?
List each of your individual services and / or products:
Name of service / product
Summary of what the service / product is
Features of service / product (what is does it do)
Benefits of service / product (how will it make the buyer feel afterwards)
4. How will you deliver your business?
Think about the best way for you to deliver your business to your clients, for example:
Is you business online and people buy from your website with little interaction from you?
Do you work remotely from home for your clients?
Do you have a premises where people can visit, like an office or a shop?
5. How much do your services / products cost?
Pricing your services / products correctly is a tough one but think about:
the cost of goods and business expenses
the quality of your products / service
the time it takes you to turn around and complete a transaction
the demographic of the person you are aiming your business at (target market)
where you stand in your market (your competitors)
value for money (how much will your service / product impact on your client's life)
TIP - your time is money so think about your turnaround:
Are you quick turn around / bums on seats / mass market and therefore charge affordably or
Are you slow turn around / limited number of clients / specific target market and therefore charge high end
6. What are your Target Sales?
Now you know the cost of your service / products and how many hours you want to work per week, how many sales do you need to make to achieve your financial monthly goal?
Is it achievable or does something have to give? i.e. to you need to adjust your working hours, financial goal or pricing structure.
7. How is your income structured?
You have your main business - the thing you're known for - but having different sources of income within your business is good for longevity:
What are your high ticket items?
What are your up-sells?
Which are your one-off purchases?
Do you have a retainer or subscription item?
Do you have passive income? i.e. something you can sell whilst you sleep, like a download
Do you offer a power hour?
Do you offer a free lead magnet to grow your list of potential buyers?
8. How would you like to be paid?
It's your business, your rules, so how and when would you like to be paid?
Will you take payment at the end, once your service / product has been delivered?
Will you ask for a deposit? If so, what percentage?
Will you offer instalments?
Will you charge for everything upfront?
Will you charge by the hour, per project or by estimation?
9. What are your terms?
Create a list in writing for your clients and include things like:
your boundaries, i.e. the hours you available to be contacted
how you would like to be contacted
how you will communicate with them and vice versa
what you expect from your clients and what your clients should expect from you
how you work, i.e. your processes and timeframes
how, when and where to pay you
your policies on cancellations, refunds and terminations
10. What is your qualifying / onboarding process?
Your time is money, so you either need to be earning money or off having fun and spending said money.
Don't waste time on potential clients - make it very clear to all potential clients within your marketing what it is you do, how much you cost, give examples and reviews, so that they can make an informed decision before they contact you to make an enquiry.
If you're a service based business, consider offering a quick 20 minute Discovery Call so you can work out if you gel with the person - but consultations and prep work should be charged for.
11. Who do you want to work with?
List the type of person you would like to work with and one that would benefit the most from your services / products:
What is their age
What is their gender
What is their location
What is their financial situation
What sort of personality do they have
Remember that it has taken me a year of trial and error to get my business model tweaked to perfection, so my best advice is:
The more work you do, the more you can tweak your business (i.e. how you deliver, what you offer, how much you charge) and you can also figure out the type of person you like to work with. This is called honing your niche.
TIP: Frequently review your business - look at works and what doesn't work, take on board client feedback and learn from positive and negative experiences.
If you like what you've just read, this is your personal invitation to join my newsletter mailing list for more tips and advice about web designs, brand design, marketing and my honest experience on what it's like to be a small business owner ..