Have you ever develop a product just to find out that no one wants it? Have you read all these wonderful concepts about how to develop a product, just to find out that none of these is applicable to your case? If yes, you are one of the million people wanted to start a business based on a brilliant idea and, … failed!
This is a common case. If you focus on what’s in your head and not verify if your idea has any substance or significance for anyone, but you, then the problem is yours.
To launch an excellent product you need to have knowledge, skills, focus and most of all … a way to know that you weren’t moving in the wrong direction.
The Importance Of Understanding Your Business
Things are changing. As a matter of fact, people are changing as well. What people wanted in the past is not the same thing as what people want today.
As a small business owner, a freelancer or an edupreneur, you are always moving on quicksand. It is very easy to fall in, and … never manage to get out.
That’s why you need the proper concepts, mindset, skills, and tools to help you do what you have to do and avoid the “problems”.
Many entrepreneurs today are active in edupreneurship, an area matching out fast forward era, but a “tricky” one. It needs a lot of knowledge to be done right and provide multiple results for the people operate in it! (find more information here and here)
As every business today, the one thing you should focus on is developing trust. Most people in the area believe that authority is the key that will open the door toward the heart of their prospects (and their wallets!!!), but they have wrong. Before trust, even though you have all the required skills and knowledge to provide the services you say so, you need to develop a trust relationship with your prospects.
You need your prospects to trust you in many ways and usually. That takes some time, but trust me, it worth the time.
The second most import things you should focus on (defining trust as number one) is to understand your business. As an IT consultant, instructional designer, course developer and e-Learning expert I can tell you that most people cannot understand their business (their prospects included)
When they start, usually are focusing on developing a “product” but the outcome rarely matches the original plan. The most of the times they have failed to define with clarity the 3 basic component of their business (you might want to check on my free course for some ideas):
- What their business is (i.e. your business is not to develop a new course on productivity. It is to make people more efficient to their life and work. See the difference?),
- What their products/services are (you product is not the course, or the tutorial. Is to make someone gain the knowledge and skills to cope with the problems facing in his/her job.), and
- Who their prospect are (i.e. you don’t sell to anyone. If you sell to anybody, usually you sell to nobody. You address to an audience, consisting of men and women from 25-65 years old, having a steady job and income, living in USA, Europe, owns a house, have internet access, etc. You need to focus on who you sell your products/service to, and find out what their needs are to customize your message – product or service – on his/her requirements.)
People usually believe that if they have a great idea about what they want to teach and can implementing it in-house, it will be a huge success.
But, usually, this is not the case!
When Ideas Are Wrong
A great idea is, … great! But not all ideas are equal not all ideas worth become a reality. Obviously, you would have seen many goofy things around, wondering why people get into the trouble of doing them.
Well, as in every business, there are good and bad ideas. And there are ways to develop good ideas to provide value to the people you want to serve. Because that is important.
As an edupreneur or entrepreneur you are in the business not just for making money (of it is important as well but is not the major issue!) You are in the business to provide more value to some people and these people are the people you choose to serve.
From a strict point of view, there are not wrong ideas. There are ideas for things that can be developed, employed or worth doing and ideas of things are impractical, out of reach or time, half-baked, etc.
As an entrepreneur, though, you should focus on the ideas that produce items (services, course, webinars, books, etc.) would enhance the capabilities and the reach of people you are addressed to.
What Do People Need Most
There are many discussions on what do people need most. And it is an endless discussion. To move forward, less presume that there are no any “people“!
There is a small group of people you are interested in communicating with to pass along your message(s). And don’t get me wrong, but info-products are also a product and a message! It is something intangible people want. But not all the people. Only a small group of people with certain characteristics, comprising an essential part of your niche market.
People in general, want many things. Most importantly though they focus on 2 things: goals beyond one’s self-worth chased after and self-actualization (as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs teach us).
As far as products concerns and specifically education products, people tend to focus on products:
- making or saving money
- helping them learn or acquiring newly needed skills
- can entertain people, provide a new experience or provide them access to people or places want to be
- focusing on bettering one’s life
- making them more efficient
The same thing happens with courses and webinars. Same principles have been around for while for products in digital economy applies to edupreneurship as well.
How To Develop a Course People Want to Buy
As there are many “wrong” ways to develop a course (as I demonstrated above), there are many good ways on how to develop an excellent and successful course (Bryan Harris has documented one of the best ways to develop a successful – and profitable – product).
A course is an info-product, and as an info-product, its success in the market or its failure does not always relate to the how best is designed and crafted!
There are many factors at playing here including the marketing, the price tag, the accordance to the specific’s need of your niche market, the solutions its offers, etc.
Usually, we value products based on our own requirements, the availability, the price, the learning curve for its usage and the time on which our investment going to produce tangible results.
But the marketing issues is not something to be discussed in this article. Here we are focused on how to develop a course people want to buy!
There is a small procedure for that. This procedure involves:
- Idea Brainstorming. You need to listen to what the problems of your audience you want to serve are and find suitable ideas for implementation. Suitable means appropriate, cost-effective, suitable for all members, etc,
- Idea Collection & Filtering. First, you need to collect the ideas in one place and filter the ones you think they can proceed.
- Data Analysis. When you have 1-2 ideas fitted for becoming a course you need to dig up a little more to the requirements of your community. You need to take back some feedback on the things you have announced and you need the feedback to be pertinent to what you are going to do. You will analyze all the input you are going to receive and you use this input to fortify your idea and develop a Unique Training Value Proposition which will lead your course development.
- Idea Definition. This UTVP will lead your development efforts and it will help you clarify your idea, its purpose and its application further.
- Idea Validation. When you have defined your idea and know where it is addressed to, you need to find out if someone is willing to pay real money in order to get a course based on this idea. It is not easy and needs a little bit marketing skills to validate your idea properly, but if this step is omitted you risk to develop something no one would buy. You can do an excellent idea validation on the places the people you serve usually gather (forums, groups, discussion, etc.)
- Develop Prototyping. When you have verified your idea it is the time to start outline your course and develop modules. In this phase, you need to develop a functional prototype in order to show some capabilities of your course.
- Pre-Sale Your Course. Just before the finish, the previous phase should start to develop a pre-order campaign for your course. It is a lot easier to develop a product YOU KNOW many people want and paid for it, rather than developing in the void and in absence of external feedback. This campaign can have the form of an e-mail invitation, leading to a landing page for pre-ordering your course, dedicated sites, etc.
- Launch Full Course. The end of the previous phase will landmark the continuation of the development process and the date of the official launch of the project.
- Feedback & Evaluation. As always, you should keep a keen eye on the comments of your clients as well as on the campaigns, requests, etc, loop them back the development process and enhance your course effectiveness.