It’s been great working with you this week, your social enterprise is an inspiration.
The work you’re doing has the potential to change lives.
As a teacher, you’ve seen how Indigenous students struggle to connect with the curriculum, and seen how that disconnection can lead to lower attendance rates.
You’ve also seen how other teachers struggle to present Indigenous perspectives into their lessons – not because they don’t value them, but because they don’t feel equipped to present such important viewpoints.
Your solution is remarkable – you’ve created resources and lesson plans that teachers can buy to make their classrooms as engaging and inclusive as possible, not only ticking all of their professional criteria but also making the classes fun.
We both like your projections – this year you’ll be ramping up your customer acquisition and offering a subscription model.
While I liked your first idea for how to validate these assumptions (sending out a survey to existing customers), it seems like there’s an easier way.
Just start selling subscriptions.
Instead of asking for people to say what they might purchase in the future, simply put the product in front of them and see how they behave.
People vote with their wallet, and a purchase is more honest and more valuable than a positive answer on a survey.
Here’s where we disagreed:
You know all the ins and outs of the business.
You see all the flaws, all the features that aren’t quite perfect, all the content that is still yet to be published.
I see the happy customers you have.
I see that they’re in every state of the country, the many purchases they each make, and the positive feedback their dollars are giving you.
I get the sense that you feel something we all feel – the fear of rejection.
Not the fear that someone will ask for a refund, but the idea that you’ve been judged and have fallen short.
You are not remotely alone, but that doesn’t mean we can let fear hold you back from growing your business.
This conversation was one of my favourite moments of the year so far.
We talked through the difference in our perspectives, the very real emotions that sit behind the numbers, and acknowledged how much your customers value what you’re giving them.
My tendency is to side with your customers – I trust their non-verbal feedback, and the news is great: you’re making their lives easier, and their classrooms friendlier.
While you see your business as being still in its infancy, the market sees you as an established problem solver.
The next few months are going to be intense, there’s a lot to be done.
Fortunately, the next follow a well-worn pattern, and that means there are a tonne of great books, talks, resources and mentors that will help you grow your enterprise whilst retaining its purpose.
Firstly, you’re going to be exploring your Customer Segments and their motivations:
What triggers them to seek external help with their curriculum planning?
Where do they turn first?
What are they typing into Google?
Where are they right now?
Secondly, you’re going to be designing your Customer Journey:
How do you want to get in front of them?
How will you engage with them?
What will delight them?
What will nudge them towards a purchase?
What will keep them coming back for more?
Thirdly, you’re going to keep strengthening your Financials:
How much should you charge each type of customer?
How do customers perceive your pricing options?
Which costs can be reduced or restructured?
What are the best ways of measuring sales growth?
Fourth, you’re going to re-evaluate your Channels:
Who can refer you to more customers?
How can your website be improved to convert more sales?
What sort of marketing would attract the best customers?
Are there better ways of getting your content to your customers?
Fifth, you’re going to be designing new versions of your business:
How could we serve teachers overseas?
Are there larger customers who would love to incorporate your content into their projects?
What pain points do your existing customer have that you could address?
Could you modify your products to create more positive social impact?
All of these steps follow the same process – thinking of new ideas and modifications, setting hurdles using the Strategyzer Test Cards, then going and running tests with customers.
You’ll encounter what Steven Pressfield calls “The Resistance”, the part of our brain that wants us to stop taking risks and stick to what’s safe.
My advice is to keep going back to your tribe of happy customers – the ones whose lives are made easier because of your entrepreneurialism, and their students who are more engaged at school because of your creativity and diligence.
Whenever you’d like help, please let me or your other coaches know.
Sometimes we’ll seem like wet blankets, sometimes we’ll be revving you up.
We’re on your team, and we couldn’t be prouder.