Despite what some of the gurus are telling you, building an online business isn’t easy. You will face struggles. In this post, I'll break down some of the common challenges so you know what to expect.
Despite what you may have heard, building an online business isn’t easy.
The truth is when you build a knowledge brand or knowledge business, you will face certain struggles. But there are a lot of people out there who are teaching that things will be simple. They believe that they can just present their products or services and people will purchase them right away. Wouldn’t that be nice…
So let’s talk about the struggles you’ll encounter as you start your knowledge business. This isn’t to discourage you but to help you prepare for the challenges you will face.
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Adapting To Changes
You may have seen a lot of entrepreneurs who are constantly putting out new products. But if you’re selling information, you can’t just create one course now, launch it, sell it, and then never update it. You’ll have to adapt your products to keep up with the market.
Another challenge online marketers face is constantly changing guidelines for paid ads. If you create something today and promote it on Facebook, it’ll only last for about six months. Once that’s over, you have to update your course or change it completely.
Yes, there are basic concepts that remain constant. But what changes is how you figure things out and execute them. Even if your area of specialization doesn’t change, how you teach or sell that course changes. The methods that you can use to teach people are always evolving. That’s why it’s not sensible to think that you can just put your product out there and expect it to have a long lifespan.
Some product brands may not need to create new products all the time, like toothpaste. But if you have a knowledge business, there will be changes, eventually.
Even if your subject matter doesn’t evolve, you’ll have to find new ways of delivering your message or teaching your course. If you’ve recorded a course over a year ago, you may want to consider recording it again and update the information or the way you presented your course.
This is the first struggle that you need to know how to deal with. It’s learning how to improve your existing products or service, while marketing and selling them simultaneously. You have to be prepared to face this because it’s part of being in this space. Aside from your course, you can update your website, emails, offers, and so on.
Dealing With Change Is Costly
The type of business you choose matters. You need to be prepared for the possibility that your existing customers may stop buying from you and start buying from someone else and make it more attractive for people to stay.
For example, say you’ve been coaching a client for more than a year now. Suddenly, she decides to stop taking your course and tries a different coach. Now, you already know what your client wants and doesn’t want because you’ve been working together for more than a year. When she moves to a different coach, it will take them months to figure things out. Reminding her of this cost can help tip the scale toward her continuing with you.
Let’s take another example. Apple versus Android. If you’ve been using Apple for a long time, and you’re asked to use an Android phone, you’ll most likely have no idea how to use it. Unless you have a really good reason to switch to Android, you’ll probably stick with Apple for as long as possible.
You need to innovate constantly because if you don’t, there will be someone out there who will create a product that’s probably better than yours. You want to build in ways to make this change as unattractive as possible.
Selling Information Versus Implementing
When it comes to the value of information, problems arise when information becomes less valuable because it’s more widely available. If your focus is on selling information rather than implementation, how will you manage to generate interest in what you’re offering?
Many people find it difficult to determine what information to give out for free and what to keep for their paid product. It all starts with the fact that information starts to lose its value once it becomes widely available.
Let’s take webinars as an example. Many people who offer webinars are scared of offering too much information because they think people will no longer buy from them. But you also have to let people know that you can offer them value. It can be quite complicated to figure out the line between those two.
Instead of saying that you sell information, why go with an implementation program instead? You can offer coaching and in-depth discussion with your client. Making this shift will help solve this struggle. Instead of selling a course, think about giving your clients the information for free and access to you and your team as a paid product.
You need to consider the structure of what you’re offering and how you think about what you offer. If you insist on selling information, you will continue to struggle. When you make the shift to selling implementation, you remove this barrier to sales.
Again, there are lots of challenges we face in a knowledge business. Some problems are specific to selling information, the economics of information, and the differences between the types of businesses. That’s what you should think about as you enter this space. You can solve these problems but you have to be intentional about it and you have to be intentional about it at the right time.
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