Verifying the business idea. Why choose Jacqui?

It's not easy talking about yourself, after all nobody likes a person who blows their own trumpet. But I wanted to add a box like this to my front page to answer the question "Why choose Jacqui?" 

I still find it hard to answer this question. Not because I don't trust my own skills and judgement but because I want to make sure I'm addressing the concerns of the people who need to hear it. But my business is still quite new, it's not entirely clear WHO my business is really for yet. 

Start before you are ready

Lots of business gurus tow the "start before you are ready" party-line. What does that mean? It means launching something, getting your idea out there, as it will FORCE you into action.  It's true, there's nothing like it to give you a kick in the behind.

There's another viewpoint to launching before you are ready which appeals to me. I'm a big fan of Eric Ries and the Lean Startup. One of the main tenets of starting (and building) lean in any kind of business is the reduction of wastage. Quite simply, you don't waste time / energy / money / resources building or creating something that no-one wants. You start lean with just the bare minimum, a minimum viable product or service (mvp). You don't spend thousands of man-hours perfecting something, labouring over the tiniest details, sweating over the small stuff. If you do, you could be in for the heartbreaking discovery that not one single person loves your idea enough to actually buy it.

Launching before you're ready takes your idea to the streets. It has you talking to people (the famous 'get out of the building' rule) to see first-hand whether your idea has any potential. It uses 'landing pages' and 'beta-testing' to decide whether to invest further in the idea.

Is an MVP then?

So what does all this have to do with "Why choose Jacqui?". Well since I launched this iteration of my business and website in April I have been carefully tracking the changes I've made to see whether the effects of those tweaks are positive or negative. I'm measuring things like number of subscriptions to my RSS feed, number of re-tweets of posts, comments on my blog posts, number of subscribers to my newsletter, fans on Facebook and of course the biggie: the number of lovelies who have signed up to work with me. These numbers keep growing which is great but as Eric says, it's really important to measure the stuff that matters, that connects what you're creating with what your customers actually want.

I'm committed to providing the type of information and help that you want. So I guess you could say my consulting service is barebones while I determine exactly what this is! And who you are!

That's not to say that it's a poor quality service, quite the opposite, but it does mean that I am careful what I am spending on. I haven't invested in a huge flash website (this is all DIY), no fancy logos or even a cool snappy company name yet. If you were to start working with me I would recommend you do the same: make sure you have a good idea, that people are going to want to invest in, before you use your money on the nice-to-haves.

In autumn this year I am hoping to launch a new intensive course that will delve deeper into the customer topic. You'll see that while I gather my thoughts, see what people like you want from a course like this and generally fill in the blanks, I have a landing page where you can register your interest. Go and do that now! This is an example of lean business development in action. I don't want to spend time creating a fabulous new program that misses the mark completely.

Would you like to learn more?

On Friday evening I am hosting a webinar. The topic is getting customers & understanding customers. Something both you and I are keen to do. So the purpose is two-fold - I want to help you learn about your customers. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What makes them tick? How can you serve them? The second prong on my two-pronged fork is that I want to learn from you, what you want more of, from me. 

I have a really fantastic guest lined up, she has a very exciting idea for a business. But she has concerns and is proceeding with caution. We're going to workshop this idea and hopefully give her some clarity around the future of her idea. And you'll get to see firsthand the process of evaluating an idea and determining next steps.

Would you like to workshop your idea? Register here and submit your questions right on the form. I'd love to help and it will be a good chance for you to 'get out of the building' and talk to some other people about your idea. It's free to register!