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September 24, 2009

Business Planning: 4 Steps to Creating Your Online Business Model Blueprint

I’m in the process of completely rethinking my business model, and that will be my primary focus as I plan this year’s business retreat for myself. Your business model doesn’t have to be at all complex, but should provide the guiding force for all that you do, like guiding you to the opportunities to accept (and those to decline), the joint ventures and strategic alliances to pursue, and the new ideas you should retain and develop, as well as those to let go of.

Here’s are the 4 steps I’m following as I create the blueprint for my business model:

1. Make clients pay well for your most valuable commodity — your time. I see many service business owners tying themselves up with (and tying themselves down to) far too many 1:1 clients. You have only so many hours in the day, and at some point you’ll hit the wall and not be able to expand the number of 1:1 clients you see. Sure, you can hire and train additional staff to handle the overflow, but in many cases, you make less money in this model while tripling your headaches. Make your 1:1 time with clients your highest-fee service, charging a premium fee to dispense your expertise.

2. Ongoing recurring revenue is key. Feast or famine seems to shape the life of the service business owner, regardless of industry. Wouldn’t your life be much more sane if you knew that you could count on recurring revenue each and every month, rather than having to constantly go out and find new clients? This was one of the models I adopted early on in my virtual assistant practice, i.e. working exclusively with clients on retainer rather than a “pay as you go” model. What is it that your clients need from you that you could provide on an ongoing basis with them that isn’t time-intensive for you?

3. Always have an upgrade. Never offer a stand-alone product or program that doesn’t have a natural tie-in to the next level of program or service that you offer. If there’s no way to leverage what you’re offering into some type of upgrade, don’t offer it! For example, a free teleclass can lead participants to enroll in a paid short-term group program. From that program, plan to enroll a certain percentage of those participants into a recurring revenue continuity program. You can then upgrade a percentage of these participants into a live event or small ongoing mentoring program, and from there make an upgrade offer to your premium 1:1 time.

4. Design the blueprint. Brainstorm all of the types of programs, products, and services you might offer in your business. Your list might look like the one below:

  • Consulting
  • 1:1 Service Provision
  • Group Coaching/Mentoring/Continuity Programs
  • Sale of Info Products –Private Retreats
  • Strategy Sessions
  • Live Events
  • Speaking
  • Information Products or Books –Licensing/Certification Training
  • Teleseminars/Webinars
  • Subscription Membership Web site

Pick 3-5 of these items that will make up your business model, and then determine what percentage of income you want to derive from each. Your total needs to equal 100%. Then, determine the order in which you offer the components of your program over the next 1-2 years. This becomes your blueprint for action.

How do you determine your success? If your business still suffers from feast and famine, take a long, hard look at your business model for the solution. Every offer you make in your business should flow seamlessly into the next, which will result in a steady, predictable income that you can increase over time as you become more expert at designing and following your blueprint.

Online Business Coach and Internet Marketing Strategist Donna Gunter helps baby boomers create profitable online businesses that they love. Would you like to learn the specific Internet marketing strategies that get results? Discover how to increase your visibility and get found online by claiming your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, at ==>