Thursday, April 06, 2006

Could You Turn on a Dime?

I am in love. True, I just got married last year and renewed my
vows this year to another wonderful entrepreneur, Peter Eisenberg, who
runs a market research company, Bullseye Research. But that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm in love with my business model but we've recently broken up.

When I started, gosh, three years ago, I envisioned
it as a membership site. I imagined harried business owners becoming members
and enjoying "just in time" coaching for those tough business conversations.
I studied up on the subscription website model and even purchased
the Cadillac of all software, Membergate.
The software manages membership, sends newsletters, has a built-in
shopping cart, and SEO optimization so you get traffic from day one.
Sounds great, right?

Nope. In three years I think I've had two people become members. Why?
Because business owners won't pay a monthly fee for something they may
not need each month and they rarely think pro-actively about staff issues.

Happily, I believe in flexibility in business models. My motto is:
You gotta do what works. And since membership didn't work, I switched
to a product driven model. That worked but not as well as I'd like.

So guess what? I changed my model again. To be clear when I say model, I
mean "How can I generate revenue?" Or as the online folks say, "How can
I monetize this idea?"

What does this mean to you? If you're stuck on a hourly rate model you may
want to re-think it because you're limited to the hours you personally can
devote to clients. Think about what you want to achieve then ask yourself:

Is my model working? (there's a difference between slow market acceptance and
no sales at all)

Is the entire idea bad or does the execution need tweaking?

Who is getting the results I want and how? Benchmarking others is good.

Let me know if any of this resonates for you.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.



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