Prioritize products. Not profits.
Have you ever been tempted to shift your focus in an effort to make additional income? Maybe you’ve had the same thoughts as I have:
- If I offered additional services, I could reach more people — and make more money.
- If I offered payment plans, more people would hit purchase — and I would have increased sales.
- If I lower the price, more people would invest — … you get it.
Each of these situations has crossed my mind before, and has been given serious thought. I own a business after all, so profits are definitely a priority. However, one of my core values is to prioritize products, not profits. I measure each decision for Spruce Rd. against this model, to ensure that my brand is consistent and not shifting with the fleeting goal of immediate income.
There are several aspects of what creates an enduring brand. We are in part 4 of a 4-part series that dissects what qualities differentiate enduring brands (read part 1, part 2 and part 3 to catch up!).
Prioritize products. Not profits.
You’ve created your brand for a reason, and I know how easily it can be to get swept away into other directions.
With articles, podcasts and courses teaching you how to make $100k in a few short months, increase sales, etc, you can easily lose sight of why you started to begin with. Before you know it, you are creating an e-book about something you have little experience in, you’re selling ready-made-logos on Etsy, and starting a subscription service. Your brand allowed outside influence to creep in and dictate your next step.
This may seem harsh, but I only know this from experience. I too have found myself tempted by short-term financial gain. Saying things like “Woah — she made $100k from her course, since she added payment plans? Maybe I should do that.”
Rather than get swept up in the perceived immediate success of your business, I encourage you to look long-term. How will this fleeting business decision affect your brand? Does it even align with your overall vision?
Trust me, if you play the long game approach, you will not only have much more confidence in your business, but also will end up with a brand you are passionate about. One that isn’t always trying to keep up with the latest gimmicky sales tactic, or trying to reach clients who aren’t the best fit. Instead — your brand will be known for its slow, steady and consistent quality and perspective. People will trust your brand, keep you in mind for years until they are ready to take that next step.
This is the brand you want.
One way I’ve turned down guaranteed income
If you’ve purchased an online course before, you no doubt have seen the option for payment plans. Essentially, you can purchase the product for lower monthly increments that are easier on the student’s pocketbook, but end up costing them more money long-term. On the surface this looks like a great solution for those who are eager to purchase my product, but aren’t financially ready to commit.
So why would I be turning down this income? Through not offering payment plans on my course, I am easily turning down an additional 20–30% increase in profits, if not more.
The truth about payment plans
So, why don’t I offer payment plans?It’s simple: I don’t want my students to go in debt. I’d honestly rather take a paycut than feel responsible for putting someone in a tight financial position. My desire to have fully committed and serious students outweighs my desire to make additional income.
What seems like an honest question, “do you offer payment plans?” is really telling of that potential customer. Let’s dive deeper into who these potential customers are, that inevitably fill my inbox with each launch of the Share-worthy Design course.
- First of all, they aren’t serious about purchasing the course. Those that are serious about investing the time and funds to grow their design skills value the education and are ready to hit purchase.
- Though they may want to take the course, financially they cannot commit right now. I empathize with this situation, so much so I protect them from getting in deeper debt.
- They don’t value your expertise + product. They will most likely ask for a refund after the first low payment.
So, instead of offering payment plans out of desperation for increased sales, I encourage them to save up for the next launch. If they were willing to pay $100/month for the course over 4 months, save that money and be ready to pay in full for the next launch.
This is also why I have high-quality content available for free. I’d much rather people invest the time learning from my free resources until they are ready to commit. I’ve offered several free workshops, webinars and articles that are full of premium content. It takes me hours to write each article, and countless more to craft my unique perspective and content ideas. This content is free for the taking, so I’d rather people take action from these resources and come back once they are financially ready to commit.
Take it slow
Overall, my goal for Spruce Rd. is to build a long-lasting enduring brand, driven by high-quality services and products. I’ve got countless product, workshop and business ideas that I can’t wait to launch, however I force myself to take it slow. These products, as well as the customers, deserve quality attention. An e-book thrown together in a week won’t do it justice.
I take a slow and steady approach with my brand, and recognize that this definitely slows down the profits. This year, for instance, I am only working on one product — the Share-worthy Design course. I’m devoting all of 2017 to a completely new physical product that I can’t wait to share about! 5 years from now, there is another leg of my business in the works. And I’m still dreaming of business steps in the next 10 years!
All this to say, it is okay to take is slow. Don’t feel rushed to make immediate profits. Create quality products and services, and the profits will come.