If you have been wondering which platforms to use and what you need in order to be ready to go over the course of your business lifecycle, then this is the episode for you.
This is probably one of the most common topics of conversation over in the Heart-Centred community… What platforms and technology solutions should you be looking for at each stage of business?
Read on or watch below to find out!
This topic of conversation is always through the lens of knowing that there’s no one-size-fits-all. It also depends on your pathway to market, the way that you have grown your business and the way that you are growing your business.
However, in the online service-based business world, I see most people have these four very distinct stages of business and there are different technology platforms that you’ll need to consider for each of them.
Stage 1: Direct sales
This is where you are selling in a one-to-one way through conversations and connections with people.
In that stage of business, you’re still developing proof of concept and proof that people will pay for the outcomes
The types of platforms and things you need to be thinking about would be having a mailing list and being able to collect people’s emails legally and send emails to your audience legally as well.
Some recommended platforms are Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign or MailerLite. All it needs to do is collect email addresses and send emails out.
It doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles.
The second thing you want to be thinking about is your online presence and making sure you’re able to get content out and at least have some form of look and feel to the graphics that you’re putting out there.
I would highly recommend using a tool like Canva (please note that I am a Canva Affiliate). You don’t have to go to the depths of Photoshop or something that’s complex like that.
The third thing I would talk about is being able to deliver your services.
If you’re delivering one-to-one services in the direct sell phase of business and webinars, I highly recommend Zoom for this one.
It requires very low bandwidth, if you’re doing one-on-one meetings with clients, you can give them the functionality to record the session for themselves, or you can record it and send it to them.
Then the fourth thing is if you are going to be taking in money, you need to have some of those money acceptance strategies in place.
As a bare minimum, have a PayPal account that’s set up and aligned with your business.
I would make sure you have a business bank account; you have a PayPal account that’s linked to your business email address and when you withdraw funds from that PayPal account, they go into your business bank account. You can also use PayPal to set up something like PayPal.Me.
Next is if you’re getting bookings from people to book in one-on-one sessions with you (whether that’s single sessions or packages), Acuity or Calendly is a great tool to get started.
Once you’ve got that nailed and you’re making consistent sales and starting to really see that you’ve got a good flow of clients coming into your business, you go onto the next stage of your business lifecycle…
State 2: Scale and systemise
You’re still delivering one-to-one, but now you’re selling one-to-many as well.
The platforms that need to go with that are going to reflect that as well.
You will still have a booking system and a way of people paying you, but the systems that may need to grow a little are the ones that grow your reach and allow you to sell in that one-to-many format.
You need to have your website now that you’ve got your value proposition proven and you know how to find your ideal clients, so you want to have an online home where they can come and find you and purchase from you.
It’s in this stage of business that I’d recommend really focusing on that website and making sure that it’s working.
The third one would be scaling your webinars.
If you’re at that point in your business, chances are you’re going to start having more than 100 people want to show up to your webinars live.
You can go for the next level in Zoom, or you can use a webinars platform. Zoom also does have a webinar platform – you add it to your existing zoom meetings account.
The final one that I would start looking at in terms of platforms and technology at this stage of business is your task management.
Even if you’re not outsourcing and you don’t have team members in your business, you want to be managing yourself really effectively.
A tool like Asana or having a business plan that’s on a spreadsheet (using a tool like Teamwork) could work well. Although I would say that’s more advanced and we have multiple team members on multiple projects.
Have something where you can start keeping track of what the step-by-step process is that you undertake every time you do a certain thing so that either you can hand it over in this stage of business or you can get ready to hand it over to someone else.
In the scale and systemised phase of business, you want to get to the point where you can do things really quickly and start getting those tasks ticked really quickly, one after the other.
Stage 3: Launch and leverage
This is where we jump from selling one-to-many and delivering one to one, to selling one-to-many and delivering one-to-many.
The platforms and technology that you’re going to be using at that stage of business are going to reflect that as well.
A platform in order for you to be able to host and sell the online course, membership or mastermind is going to be important for you here.
I love the Kartra platform once you’re into the leverage and launch stage of business.
The reason why I love it is that it takes care of a bunch of different systems.
It takes over for your:
- Email marketing
- Shopping cart
- Course and membership platform
It also has the ability for you to do things like affiliate in it, and it has some really great email sequencing, automation tools and tactics that you can use because the system can do it for you.
I also do have an affiliate link where you can go and check it out and get a trial of the capture platform for $1 for 14 days. You can check that out here: CLICK ME
The other thing I would say when you’re at launch and leverage is rather than just having a task management tool, have a project management tool.
As a minimum, have something like Asana, Teamwork, Basecamp or Trello – something where your team members and yourself can go in and get reminders of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by, and be able to follow processes consistently.
I think that that’s something that you really want to start looking at when you’re at that leverage and launch stage of your business.
Stage 4: Process orientation
In this phase, you’ve nailed your launches, you know how to run the launch on repeat, you can roll it out, and you’re starting to set up those automated sales processes.
Not only are you selling one-to-one and one-to-many and delivering one-to-many, but you’re also automating that process of selling on-to-many.
The tools that you’re going to want to use for that would be things like automation funnels. Again I just use Kartra. It’s got lots of sequencing that you can do, and you can check on each stage of the funnel.
It might be automating some of the course emails and onboarding that you have with your email with your courses, memberships or programs.
The other thing you might be looking for is affiliates as well. If you don’t use a platform like Kartra that has the affiliate part built-in, then you might need to find an affiliate plugin for the way that you are selling your online courses, membership or programs.
That’s a bit of a run-through on each of the stages of business and some of the technology and platforms that may help you at each stage. I hope this has been really helpful for you.
Here are the links to the technology platforms and apps mentioned:
Make sure to come and post in the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs community and share your comments and questions using #podcastaha and the episode number (188).