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Scalable business in stages: from service to premium product to online course [UPDATE]

I. Do you want a scalable business? Don't make this mistake

How can you, as a solo entrepreneur, make your business scalable, i.e. less dependent on the exchange of “time for money”?

Many automatically think of an online course.

But this poses so many challenges that it is often overwhelming to jump from the service directly to the online course.

  • Creating an online course takes a huge amount of time.
  • It has to happen while you are running your business in "time-for-money" mode. So you either have a lot of time for your course and little money or a lot of money from ongoing customer income, but little time
  • Familiarization with technology is a hurdle for many.
  • Launching a course is at least as big a challenge.
  • And on the side, it's all associated with a tremendous surge in personal growth - and sometimes growing pains.

Attacking an online course straight away instead of exchanging “time for money” is in most cases too much. The jump is way too big.

My proven motto is: "Big goals can be achieved in small steps". A premium product is an ideal step for this.

Maybe this is the best solution for you too? Under the podcast you will find the answer to this question and learn how it can look exactly.

II. The podcast episode on the subject

III. A premium product as the first step towards business scaling

I am a believer in the principle of manageable steps: Big goals can be achieved in small steps is one of my maxims.

That may sound boring to one or the other.

But experience shows that smaller steps, but steady, bring you more reliably to your goal than now and then undertaking a Herculean exertion, after which you are exhausted.

That's why I find the idea of ​​the premium product so appealing.

A premium product (for the definition below) is a very smart move on the way to a scalable business.

IV. What is meant by premium product?

A premium product, as I understand it, is a “productized” service in the form of a premium service package

A premium product, as I understand it, is a “productized” service in the form of a premium service package

V. Examples of premium service packages

a) Example # 1: Marketing Advisor

The marketing consultant in our example helps his B2B customers to win customers for their part through lectures and online events.

Its premium product for online events can include

  • how to design online events for customer acquisition,
  • how to get high registrations
  • how to get high attendance
  • how to sell a service in an online event
  • how to win more customers through follow-up measures.

In addition, other elements are conceivable such as an overview of different platforms, technical training and much more.

Such a package has a very specific character. That is what I mean by “productized” service. It is not general marketing advice, but the customer knows exactly what he is getting and how he will get this result.

Such a package can be offered in the individual consultation. A group program or an online course can also be designed from this with little effort.

He can develop a further package of offers for customer acquisition through lectures.

b) Example # 2: career coach

The career coach in this example focuses on ensuring that middle managers make the leap to top management and work there successfully and happily.

Its overall system includes

  • the location analysis and the elaboration of long-term wishes, and above all checking whether they are really your own wishes or the expectations of others
  • the development of a self-marketing and network strategy inside and outside the company
  • the support in the implementation of the self-marketing and network strategy
  • the support in changing jobs
  • the support with the familiarization in the new job
  • the regular review of results and satisfaction
  • support with professional challenges
  • the support in the evaluation of offers by headhunters.

Getting all of this from a single source can be very valuable for customers. This overall system, which goes on for years, is sensibly divided into individual premium products, which however gain their special value from the fact that everything is based on an overall concept.

c) Example # 3: Web designer and visual marketing specialist

The web designer in this example is not satisfied with designing websites, but instead supports his customers in strengthening their branding, increasing reach and winning suitable customers through visual marketing. Its overall system includes

  • an introductory workshop
  • the design of the website
  • the development of guidelines for the design of images, presentations, infographics, etc.
  • creating such materials for its clients
  • training his customers to do certain things themselves with the help of image processing programs
  • Support in relation to the specifics of individual social media
  • Assistance with the selection of stock photos and customer portraits
  • Clarification of legal questions with the help of a cooperating lawyer
  • Offer your own photos for use by the customer

Here, too, it makes sense to subdivide the overall system into individual premium products, which in turn are developed according to the same principles.

VI. What are the advantages of a premium service package for your customers?

Premium service packages have important advantages for the customer. They are therefore easier to sell and often at a better price.

  • Your services are "productized". That means they become more tangible for the customer. There is no longer the “black box” of general service. Instead, the box becomes transparent for the customer (see the examples above).
  • The customer knows better what he is receiving in detail and why it is valuable to him.
  • The customer recognizes better what makes your service unique.
  • The customer is willing to pay more for it than for an unclear service.
  • The customer has the advantage of receiving a comprehensive overall service from a single source. He does not have to worry about other service providers and their coordination. He does not have to familiarize himself with a subject that is foreign to him.

VII. What are the advantages of a premium service package for you as a provider on the way to a scalable business?

The advantages that such a service package has for the customer, of course, also have indirect positive effects on you.

Because by offering an attractive, high-quality and unique overall package, you make it easier for yourself to acquire customers and you can also achieve higher prices.

In addition, there are several advantages to starting your scaling process with a premium service package instead of plunging into an online course right away:

  • You can create a premium service package alongside your service and at the pace that is currently possible. A checklist on a specific topic or an explanatory video can be a good start.
  • The premium service package can be created gradually. You create an element for customer A. You create another element for the next customer B. At some point the whole package will be ready.
  • You can test it on the "living customer". This aspect in particular should not be underestimated. It will give you an important advantage later when developing an online course.
  • You can use it to gradually increase the prices for your services. Because the value is increasing inexorably.
  • If you actually enjoy working with people and are not interested in completely converting your business to online courses, etc., you can make the transition smoothly and keep as much personal customer contact as you want.

A premium service package is an ideal next step if you have been practicing the "time-for-money" exchange up to now.

VIII. Important requirements for a premium service package

1. A signature system as the ideal basis

The best basis for a premium service package is a signature system.

A signature system is your unique overall process of how you lead your customers to the desired transformation. It includes the individual steps or building blocks as well as your unique and very individual handwriting.

A signature system is your unique overall process of how you lead your customers to the desired transformation. It includes the individual steps or building blocks as well as your unique and very individual signature.

The Signature System is not yet the product itself. It provides the blueprint, so to speak.

In order to create the product yourself, it is then filled with specific content.

The easiest way to develop a signature system is with the help of my "Positioning & Transformation" program.

2. An overall concept for your business

Another problem that I often see when someone joins an online course right away: Any topic that is chosen is relatively arbitrary.

Any idea that is close at hand or that you are interested in yourself.

Sometimes your own positioning is not even clear.

The result is often that you have a course - created with months of effort - but which does not really fit into the concept afterwards.

Because there was no concept before.

Therefore, my urgent recommendation is: First of all, make your overall concept for your business clear.

Then you can arrange all your offers in it neatly instead of creating the notorious vendor's tray.

My program "Positioning & Transformation"also helps you with the overall concept for your business. It is closely linked to the Signature System.

3. Example: A business - three possible overall concepts

So that the whole thing does not remain abstract, but rather becomes as concrete as possible, here is an example from practice.

It was created as part of an interview that Tom Oberbichler had with me some time ago.

There we also talked about different ways that someone like him could design his business model.

Briefly about the background:

Tom Oberbichler is a book mentor with a particular weakness for self-publishing.

A book mentor can look at his business very differently. If he is wondering what he wants to do for his customers, there are a number of options, for example

  • to support its customers, to write her book
  • to support its customers, write a book and successfully market it
  • to support its customers, to take the publication of a book as the basis for an entire business model based on information products.

Version 1: In the first case, all of his services would be focused on writing. This can be interesting for people who just want the satisfaction of having published their own book, regardless of commercial success.

Variant 2: In the second case, the approach would be different from the start, because the main purpose would not be the creation of the book, but the sale of many copies of this book. Such an achievement can, for example, be aimed at people who want to win customers with their book or spread a message or want to land a bestseller.

Variation 3: In the third case, it would be important to integrate the book into the larger business model. For example, an online course would then be developed parallel to the book or a whole series would be planned from the outset.

In any case, this fundamental decision would have significant effects on the business model:

  • Other customers would be attracted.
  • The company would position itself differently on the market.
  • This would result in other individual products with effects on the revenue model and on the structures and resources required internally.

Maybe you haven't thought about your business like this before.

My program "Positioning & Transformation"helps you, among other things, to define the overall concept for your business. This gives you a framework for all of your activities.

IX. From the first premium service package to further scalability of the business

When your premium product, i.e. your service package, is up and running and has been tried and tested in practice, you can make more of it, for example:

  • an online self-paced course
  • supplementary or in-depth individual products
  • a mastermind group based on the program
  • the training and licensing of colleagues

It also gives you a lot of content that you can quickly turn into marketing materials.

Since everything is based on the Signature System and is part of the overall concept, it is ensured that everything is "from a single source" in spite of the wide variety of formats.

In addition, the conversion to another product format is much easier and faster to implement than developing a new product from scratch.

You create additional sources of income and with a short "time to market", i.e. the time from the idea to the market launch.

How valuable this is is particularly evident in times of crisis.

And of course all of this makes a salable business more and more tangible.

This article first appeared on 05/05/2016. Last update on July 8th, 2020.