The amount of revenue from your business comes down to your mindset, your ability to communicate effectively, and to be creative with your resources.
But you already know this. You’ve built some degree of an empire so far. You’ve hustled hard, found a way to make some consistent cash, and you’re calling the shots like you own the place.
It’s the time to grow.
In this world of seemingly boundless ways to make money and grow a business, how do grow in the best way possible? In a way that is elegant, with controlled-risk, and high reward.
You’ve got two options:
- Optimize your current revenue streams
- Add a new revenue stream
I’m a big believer of optimizing first. In the design world, there’s a saying that every dollar spent on user testing and optimization yields an 8x return. If you don’t believe this, run a A/B test on your content or service, and get back to me in 3 months.
When you optimize the systems of a current revenue stream, you save time, reduce risk, and squeeze that penny for all it’s worth. Ideas for optimizing include:
- “What marketing could I quickly optimize?”
- “Are there ways to automate my processes?”
- “How can I increase the value of my product or service with a small investment of time or money?”
- “Are there ways to reduce my expenses without sacrificing my values or customer experience?”
Chances are, you already know several ways to optimize your business. Focus on quick, easy wins that will yield bigger results.
Exercise: Carve out a period of time to strategize and execute on a specific optimization. Begin with your mission, and why you’re making these improvements. Get your team on board, move fast, and measure the results.
Add A New Revenue Stream
Creatively explore the possibilities.
Your new revenue streams will be based off your company’s strengths, available resources, and observations about your customers and market.
Ultimately, this new addition will make sense for both you and your customers in the long run. It’s a solution that “just works.”
Today, your business is providing a specific value to a specific audience that is willing pay for that value. At a foundational level, that’s how you have a functioning business.
The 3 classes of revenue addition include:
- Offering existing value in a different form to the same audience.
- Offering new value to the same audience.
- Offering existing value to a parallel audience.
Anything outside that is either a new business, or higher degree of risk.
With our constraints in place, let’s explore the possibilities.
1. Offer existing value in a different form to the same audience.
Take existing content, products or services, and offer them in a different form. This approach is typically fast to implement, and the least amount of risk. You only need to validate this new form factor, since you’ve already validated the business and customer.
For example, offer the content of a book in the form of an agency service like StoryBrand did. Other ideas include:
- A successful blog writer that offers a personalized paid newsletter, increasing engagement and income.
- A freelance designer who adds a productized structure of common services they typically perform, increasing predictability and income.
- An online store that bundles products commonly purchased together to increase customer value, optimization and (you guessed it) income.
Exercise: What are 3 different ways you could offer the same product or service to your audience?
Validate: Send a personal “exclusive” email to your top 10 customers, telling them about a new product or service, and ask if they’d like to purchase it.
2. Offer new value to the same audience.
Create new content, products or services for your existing audience. This approach will take more time and increase your risk. Luckily, your audience remains the same, but you’ll need to validate this new product or service.
For example, offer a training retreat to an Instagram photography account, like Art of Visuals did. Other ideas include:
- A wedding DJ that adds event planning services for their brides.
- A branding agency that adds team-building workshops to help their corporate clients increase employee satisfaction.
- A food delivery app that offers a paid VIP membership to their top 10% customers for exclusive deals and personalized service.
Exercise: What are 3 new forms of value that will contribute to your customer’s journey, and support your mission as a company? What has your customer base already been asking for?
Validate: Contact 5-8 customers, set up a call, and sell them this new product or service. Don’t worry about it being available. Once a customer pays, then build it.
3. Offer existing value to a parallel audience.
Take your product or service to a new, similar audience. It may take less time than creating a new product or service, and would grow your available market, but is high-risk for brand dilution. You’ll need to thoroughly validate this new audience.
For example, offer email marketing services to musicians, in addition to content creators, like ConvertKit did. Other ideas include:
- A retailer that turns their online store into a marketplace, offering other companies the ability to sell on their site.
- A real estate agent, who focuses on out-of-state relocation, offers “for locals only” information and deals.
- An online CRM that markets to creative freelancers, begins to offer the same exact tool to coaching professionals.
Exercise: What 3 parallel audiences could you serve with your existing product or service? What are the commonalities and differences between these and your existing audience?
Validate: Setup a landing page for both your existing and new audiences. Run a 2-week ad campaign for each audience separately, sending them to their respective landing pages. Compare the results. Do this with each audience you’d like to test.
Clear the noise. Focus on simplicity.
The biggest challenge is getting started. You’ve got an existing business to run, and surely you’re busy. Paradoxically, that means this is the best time to grow.
Simplify your opportunities to expand.
Optimize what you have, first. Then have fun. Take some time to creatively explore how you could truly improve the lives of your audience. Really allow yourself the space to question the possibilities. Run some small tests, and move forward on the things that seem to work.
If you have any questions or feedback on this process, please don’t hesitate to ask me anything.