Scott Scanlon, the host of the excellent Defining New Media Podcast has been conducting a poll on his website (http://www.youbrandinc.com/blog/) to try to learn more about his audience and what they will benefit from him. I took the poll and he emailed me back (great responsiveness) and posed the following questions – Six questions, Scott! – Thanks just perfect for the Six Minute Strategist.
- What exactly your trying to do or who you are trying to reach.
- Who is your target market?
- Where is the revenue stream?
- What is the biggest benefit someone gets with working with you?
- What is your target markets desired outcome?
- What is your goal in all this?
This can be summarized another way
- What are your Objectives?
- What is your Target Market?
- Where are your Revenue Streams?
- What are your Customer Benefits?
- What are your Customer Objectives?
- What are your GOALS?
These are great questions – direct and focused. I also believe that they are worth thinking about.
This is not an execution strategy, its about objectives and direction. Having been blogging now since the beginning of October last year, this is a good time to stop and think about these issues in more depth. This blog post is not intended to be an advert but it may help you to think about your own blogging strategy and online direction.
What Exactly are you trying to do? Who are you trying to Reach?
What are YOUR Objectives?
For me being online has two objectives – the first to openly share (for free) some of my knowledge and experience around Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Social Media. In the case of the latter, you are learning as I am learning.
The second objective is to market my services by raising my profile and establishing greater credibility with potential customers who may not know me so well. Ultimately I would like my online activities to produce some income but this is not the main objective at the moment.
You should ask yourself this fundamental question before starting out. A blog needs a direction and a purpose. It is important that this is focused around something that you are expert in or passionate about.
Who is your target market?
In my “bricks and mortar” role, I advise the senior executives of large corporates, private business owners and enterpreneurs. My core business is around Mergers and Acquisitions and Fund Raising (from Private Equity and Venture Capital).
My sector expertise is focused on Technology companies, primarily in the UK where I am really an expert. As I have done all my own research for the last twelve years, I have gigabytes of structured data on the market, most of which I have put together myself – I don’t subscribe to information services.
I have also looked carefully at my contact network (over 4,000 in my address book alone) and stratified them in order to identify who my “Patrons” and “Evangelists” are. This is revealing and has made me swing my business focus back towards corporates, seeing the private equity and venture capital market as part of my product set, rather than my customer base. This stratification strategy is a whole separate subject and if you are interested to learn more I can make it the subject of a series of future blog posts.
So, think, what is your target market? Who do you connect and work with offline and how can you focus your online activities to reach them.
Where are the Revenue Streams?
How do you Monetise? The first major issue here is that while there may be a series of online and offline monetary streams, if your strategy is consistent, your monetization should also have a coherence.
Offline my revenues come from retainers and success fees for M&A and fund raising projects. This is also the major limiting factor on my business. Scalability. I have no online revenues at the moment.
My objective is to create revenue streams online from;
- The Six Minute Strategist – my blog at https://jbdcolley.com
- This simple methodology I have put at the centre of my work online and offline.
- Based on the premise – any issue, in six points in under six minutes, the challenge is to bring structure and understanding to complexity.
- The core issue therefore has six topics
- Each topic can have upto six topics each – this produces upto 42 discussion points but the diagram shows exactly how they all tie in and relate to each other.
- Where necessary, each subtopic itself can have a further tier six more points if it needs to be explained. In practice this seldom happens as it gets too complicated. I find it better to take the main topic and make it the core issue and therefore explainable around its own nested hexagon structure.
- This works well for both my blog posts, ebooks and offline client work.
- Leading with Free
- Ahead of paid information “products” I plan to produce outline blog posts and short information podcasts/videos which provide a limited amount of information.
- Where I have multi-part blog posts (I have just done a six part post on the 2008 Financial Crisis), I am packaging these into free ebooks which I will offer on my website in return for subscriptions, again free.
- Paid Information Products
- Six Minute Strategist Guide to….: a range of indepth reports and ebooks on a large range of corporate strategy and business development issues providing readers with an understanding and framework. If I were to provide this information offline, I would expect some financial remuneration for my time and mileage. By creating these information products I hope to be able to scale my business and opportunities.
- Six Minute Strategist Mini Guides to….: these are shorter more focused information products on a specific subject
- Speaking Engagements
- This is unlikely to be a significant revenue stream and indeed to start with is more likely to be an unpaid activity. It provides more opportunities to broaden my audience and network
- As a member of the Information Technologists’s Livery Company, I have an opportunity to give something back and I am on the business mentorship panel (http://www.itcmentoring.com/main/for_entrepreneurs_mentors.htm) I have just been approached to help (pro bono) my first company
- Reinforcing Offline Business
- These products will also help to reinforce my consulting business where I will establish greater credibility as an expert and thought leader in my subject area. This I expect to lead to more referrals and engagement opportunities.
The critical question here is:
Can you extend your offline income through complementary (not cannibalistic – don’t disintermediate yourself) income online?
As an extension of this let me refer you to two other websites which have great content and may help your thinking process:
Pat Flynn has a brilliant website full of great blog posts and resources – The Smart Passive Income Blog – which can be found here: http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/
What is the biggest benefit someone gets with working with you?
In an advisory engagement, I am working with people who have invested years of their time in their businesses. In many cases, most of their personal net worth is tied into the equity. These numbers are in millions ($ or £). By being a focused expert, I can deliver a higher quality process for them which will help to reduce third party costs and more significantly achieve a higher return (or lower cost of investment).
On a personal level, as a real hands-on expert in my field, I believe that my clients get a service equivalent to having another director level expert advising them and the board. With over 20 years experience advising companies and offering a very personal service, the benefit to them is greater than if they engaged with a major investment bank and then spent most of the time dealing with a 30 year old investment director (I know I have been there too!)
Another way to find out the answer to this question is to discuss it with your existing customers. You could extend this by asking them to provide you with a reference which you can use online and offline. You may be surprised at what they tell you!
What is your target markets’ desired outcome?
I am normally brought in to address a particular issue or project that needs external skill sets.
This can be looked at through the following model. Many of these components have further levels of detail and complexity.
- Establishing a company (some expertise here but not my core market)
- Raising capital
- Seed Rounds (involving friends and family/High Net Worth Individuals/Business Angels)
- Series A, B, C etc: institutional venture capital and private equity rounds
- i. Identification of investors
- ii. Preparation of business plan and presentations
- iii. Preparing financial plans and forecasts
- iv. Structuring and negotiating terms
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Identifying and clarifying the company’s strategy
- Identifying target companies
- Strategic business evaluation
- Business valuations
- Negotiating Letters of Intent/Heads of Agreement
- Managing Due Diligence
- Post deal implementation
- Management Buyouts/Buyins
- Evaluation of opportunity (is the company fundable?)
- Identification of suitable investors
- Process (similar to funding above)
- Negotiating management equity and incentives
- Exits – Company sales
- Understanding and managing the process
- Preparing the documentation; information memorandum, teaser, non-disclosure agreement, heads of terms
- Identifying selling rationale and potential buyers
- Approaching and negotiating with buyers
- Setting out timetable
- Negotiating terms
- Heads of Agreement
- Managing Due Diligence and further negiotiations
- Social Media – this is my area of least expertise but where I am developing my skills to improve my own online marketing
- Understanding the ecosystem
- Marketing strategy
- Website Design and SEO
- Using social media networks
- Managing the sales process
- Strategic networking – I have a whole Six Minute Strategist product using my methodology in the works.
It is fair to say that while many enterpreneurs have learned from their own experience, much of that is focused on running their business, not transitioning the business across these key lifecyle milestones.
What are the objectives of your customers and how do you help them to get there? This is about adding real value (ideally which can be quantified) to your customers. If they can see the value, they will pay you for it.
What is your goal in all this?
My goal is to raise myself above the level of the humdrum – lets not use the term “personal brand”
To be acknowledged as a leader in my field
– an expert in UK technology companies
– an expert adviser for corporate strategy and business development
– to develop offline streams of passive income, leveraging my huge knowledge base of personal data and IP
To continue to make a reasonable income from my work but to leverage the online opportunity which is truly global for much of my advisory expertise
To widen my network, across a series of complementary online and offline, platforms and thereby be better known and more accessible to my clients and potential customers.
What is YOUR goal? What to you want to achieve?
- Money – absolute, greater leverage over your income?
- Recognition – from peers and clients
- Control – over your lifestyle, hours and income
- Credibility – in your market
- Lifestyle – with your family
- Payback – putting something back in for free
As a final takeway (and I am going to eat my own dog food here) why not take all six questions and use them for a customer questionaire to learn more about your clients and how they think about your business?
I hope this post helps you to think about what you are doing online? It has certainly helped me to focus more on where my blog posts should be going in the future and I will try to reflect this focus in future posts.
A last hurrah for Scott!
Definitely go and visit his site at http://www.definingnewmedia.com/ This is the site for the podcast or subscribe to the podcast at itunes. Scott’s podcast comes out daily (around 18mins) and covers relevant and topical material on the subject of new media marketing. The archives are a gold mine of information and this is one of my weekly must-do listens.
If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover please email me at jbdcolley[at]aol[dot]com or comment on my blog at https://jbdcolley.com