Most businesses fall into one of two categories: products or services.
There are also those that do both, but this is very hard to pull off unless the infrastructure is in place and you have a really good understanding of your customer needs.
The problem I often see with new entrepreneurs is that they try to be everything to everyone from the get-go. It seems like a good idea initially but the reality is that selling both products and services is an extremely challenging proposition, something I know from experience.
When we first started LearnDash we offered not only a product but consulting and set-up services. The logic was simple: people would use LearnDash for their learning platform and naturally a subset would want one-on-one consulting while others still would prefer hands-on assistance.
Each one of these areas made money, but looking back I think we could have scaled quicker had our focus been primarily in one area.
We have since scrapped the consulting & services to focus solely on the product. The result? It became a lot more clear to us on how to grow our business and how to continue adding value for our existing customers.
No One Likes Leaving Money on The Table
This experience isn’t dissimilar to many entrepreneurs. That is, starting off with one offering then adding complimentary offerings based on demand.
The problem is that as you create more offerings you spread-out your business development efforts. If you are just starting your business then this is not a good idea. You need to achieve quick-growth and that is best done by honing in on one or two value propositions.
But no one likes to leave money on the table, and that’s where creating strategic partnerships can help.
If you sell a product and a subset of your customers are asking for a specific service, find a trustworthy service provider to refer them to so that you get a percentage of the sale (should the customer end up becoming a client based on your referral).
If you are a service provider and some of your perspective clients can’t afford your services, find an affordable training package (product) that you can recommend so that these individuals so that they aren’t left empty-handed. Naturally you will get a percentage of the product sale.
Setting up these kind of “win-win” business relationships early on in your entrepreneurial journey will allow you to narrow your focus but still build some extra revenue without having to do all the work.
As you grow you can then determine which of these complimentary services or products you would like to bring in-house (if at all).