Develop your core product or service — Part 2

In a previous post I talked about the importance of understanding the intersection between the needs of your market and your industry specialty. At that intersection was where your core offering would be. (Read the previous post here).

In this post I want to talk about how to take that information and turn it into something that can actually be sold.

First, you need to do the industry/market-need intersection exercise in that previous post. With that information in hand, you can now create your offering.

I like the idea of selling one specific product or service as your core offering and then building other products or services to augment or enhance that core.

To figure out what your core and additional offerings might be, take a piece of paper and start a mindmap by listing your industry/market-need in the center. Then around the center write various types of products or services. For example:

  • Coaching
  • Consulting
  • Tools
  • SaaS
  • Ebooks
  • Guides/Reports
  • Audio
  • Toolkits
  • Training
  • Workshops
  • Speaking
  • Resources
  • Industry insight
  • Futurecasting
  • Products
  • Print book
  • Newsletter
  • Forum/community
  • … (and there are many more that I haven’t listed but this is a good start)

Branching out from each one, brainstorm what you can offer people in that type of deliverable. Be specific. And remember that you’re thinking of paid products or services that meet the industry/market-need.

From this list, choose just one product or service as your core (if you haven’t done that already).

In my case, it’s writing. I am hired to write business-building content. I do other things related to business-building content (I’ll coach, offer ebooks, speak or give workshops, for example) but my bread-and-butter is writing. Your might offer something else: Consulting, a toolkit, background music for TV shows, advising insurance coverage… you name it. Pick your core offering and make it central in your business. Then choose some of the other offerings and build those out over time.

Once you have your list and your core offering, there is certainly no need for you to do all of the other products or services but you at least have started developing a road map for the future of your business.

Just read: ‘Porter’s Five Forces: Tipping the Balance of Power in Any Business Situation’ by Karen Goldfarb

I’m big, big fan of Michael Porter ever since I sat in on his Microeconomics of Competitiveness course for my MBA. His thinking on business strategy has not only transformed the industry but it inspired me as I developed my own business to focus more on the relationship between content and strategy.

Karen Goldfarb is a copywriter I’ve just met who is writing compelling things in the marketing strategy space and she applies Porter’s Five Forces to existing business situations, which I think is an exciting application of the tool.

If you run a business, her blog post is definitely worth reading:

Porter’s Five Forces: Tipping the Balance of Power in Any Business Situation -Karen Goldfarb, Copywriter.