#48: Systems to Scale Your Business – Kill Your Darlings

Nov 25, 2018 | Office Operations

There’s a famous quote attributed to Stephen King, who was actually quoting writer William Faulkner: “Kill all your darlings”. What he was referring to was those pieces of prose that writers cling to tightly and are especially proud of – even if they don’t move the story forward.

Thus it is with your existing offers, products, content and packages. We might be really proud of them – after all, a lot of sweat and passion went into them – but if they no longer fit your business brand and goals, they need to go. Tighten your product line, so that each package or product enhances the other, and all move your clients and customers towards that one major goal you’ve identified, or help them eliminate their biggest immediate pain point.

You might think that giving your clients a choice of multiple programs makes it easier to scale, but the opposite is actually true.

In this quick video, I provide some questions to ask yourself as you examine if you should kill some darlings and what to do if you feel some are worth saving.

We are wrapping up our Systems to Scale Your Business.

There’s a famous quote attributed to Stephen King, who was actually quoting writer William Faulkner: “Kill all your darlings.” What he was referring to was those pieces of prose that writers cling to tightly and are especially proud of – even if they don’t move the story forward.

Thus it is with your existing offers, products, content, packages, even your website. We might be really proud of them – after all, a lot of sweat and passion went into them – but if they no longer fit your business brand and goals, they need to go. Tighten your product line so that each package or product enhances the other, and all move your clients and customers towards that one major goal you’ve identified, or help them eliminate their biggest immediate pain point.

You might think that giving your clients a choice of multiple programs makes it easier to scale, but the opposite is actually true. When you’re trying to maintain, market, sell, coach, or be the service provider in multiple programs, you’ll quickly burn out. Instead, concentrate on one or two signature coaching offers and a minimum of bonuses, and put all your effort (and that of your team) into making them the absolute best in your niche.

Another advantage to doing this: Narrowing your focus will also strengthen your brand. You do not want to be known as a Jill-of-all-trades: You want to be known for your core message and your specialty. Trust me on this one!

Go through your current offers and services, and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does this offer tie in with my brand? Does it boost or detract from my core message?
  2. Am I getting a healthy ROI on this particular offer, product, or package?
  3. Am I generating activity and conversations with this particular offer, product, or package?
  4. Is this particular offer, product, or package too labor-intensive for me? Are there too many one-on-one opportunities? Does it generate problems?
  5. Is this particular offer, product, or package displaying weak points? Does it keep people progressing through my sales funnel, or are do they exit at this point?
  6. Can I upscale this particular offer, product or package, and replace it with something better? More high-value? With a better price point and ROI?

The beauty of doing an in-depth analysis on an offer, product, or package you’ve already created is that there usually will be hard data you can use to quantify your responses and decisions.

Besides, even though you have done the business equivalent of killing literary darlings, you don’t have to throw out the baby with the bathwater: Examine the offers, products, and packages you are considering scrapping, and see:

  • Which individual parts or factors were a big success
  • What people loved about them
  • What questions they asked repeatedly

Focusing on a tighter selection of offers also allows you to build in less maintenance work for yourself while enabling you to increase your prices, your reputation, and your brand.

If you decide on not scrapping an offer, product, or package, there are things you can do. Make it all about value. Restore their confidence in your value by doing one of the following:

  • Make your lowered price a limited-time, limited-numbers offer, a special offer ONLY to members of that group, positioning it as a reward (never as a “discount” or “sale”)
  • Re-package it completely. Upscale your low-performing offer by adding bonuses, a live component, or whatever it is people are complaining it is missing or doesn’t have enough of. Brand it with sumptuous graphics that truly reflect its new value.
  • Create a simplified, less-expensive form or version for those who can’t afford it—especially if you are new to the online product arena, or you are dealing with people who would like to invest or have trust issues. Position it as a “starter” package.
  • Offer to split the payment into two or more, sort of like a multi-pay.

All of these strategies have pros and cons. It is important to do your homework and figure out why the solution you choose is the best option for you, your people, and your brand before selecting one.

This month we’ve talked a lot about systems to scale your business.

Make a plan. Get the right help at the right time. Think of the latter as “building a team” committed to your brand, rather than merely “outsourcing one-off tasks.”

Implement systems that fit your goals and will grow with you – and above all, focus on tracking and value, if you are ready to upscale your business and take it to the next level.

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