Why I Shut Down a Profitable Product to Suit My Lifestyle

There have been lots of MAJOR changes in my business in just the last few months. 3 new hires, two launches, our team retreat, the departure of my friend and longtime project manager from the biz, new products, overhauling other products, and lots and lots of plans. It’s a lot, but it’s exactly what I was hoping for in 2013.

In the midst of so much change, development and planning, I’ve been able to get really clear on exactly what kind of products I want my business to be selling. Sure, I knew I wanted to help small businesses grow – that’s always been my #1 objective. But now I’ve nailed down a few new parameters for future products to streamline my decision-making process.

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Giving yourself these kinds of rules in advance is extremely useful for making fast, smart decisions. And fast decisions are the secret to fast growth.

For every new product idea, or any proposed change to an existing product, we ask ourselves:

Is it SUSTAINABLE?

Is it SCALABLE?

Is it APPROACHABLE?

Is it USEFUL?

The need for these parameters came up recently when I started to have some doubts about a new product that I had launched called The Download.

Here’s the Story:

The Download was a monthly live video session where I talked about my experiences on one particular topic that I encountered in growing my business. It was about an hour long, and the live participants were able to ask any questions they had about the topic. We got some incredibly juicy questions, and every single one was answered.

Everyone received a recording of the session so that those who couldn’t participate live were still able to benefit from anecdotes, advice and questions.

The two sessions of the Download had an amazingly intimate feel, and we got great feedback from just about everyone who participated. It was a small piece of our overall revenue, but solid. And I felt confident that it would grow with more promotion. So then what was it that made me start to doubt it?

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I knew it didn’t quite fit with the kind of products I wanted to be creating, and that’s when I realized the need for the LKR Rules for Products. When I came up with those questions, it was clear that The Download, didn’t pass the test:

Is it SUSTAINABLE?

Not in the long term. Even though I loved the intimate feel of the live session, I knew I didn’t want to run a program that depended so heavily on my live presence. What if I want to take 6 months or a year off from working full time on my business? Or if there’s a great opportunity that would take me to a place where you can’t always depend on high speed Internet everywhere you turn? For me sustainability means that a product or program can go own even if I’m not there to promote it live, and that means that The Download would not have been sustainable in the long term.

Is it SCALABLE?

Technically yes, the Download was scalable in the sense that anyone who wanted to could pay for a subscription and watch the replay when they wanted to. But what I felt was at the root of its success was the intimate feel of the live session. I’m a BIG fan of live content like webinars; the problem is there are always tons of people who can’t fit a webinar at a very specific time into their schedule. Being able to attend the live session was always going to be a concern for people who were thinking about buying a subscription. It wasn’t just about MY commitment to be on live each month but about your commitment to attend!

The other problem with scalability was that the content created with each session of The Download actually expired almost right away. Previous subscribers could watch the replay, but new people couldn’t buy it after the month it was broadcast. Those videos didn’t “live on” in a product like the content inside Social Media Marketer and Creating Fame does.

(As for the last two parameters – approachable and useful – The Download passed them with flying colors.)

But….there’s some good news here too.

Just because I didn’t get it perfect right out of the gate doesn’t mean it was a bust. Using the parameters above, The Download has already been reborn into a new product, LKR Coaching (details right here).

LKR Coaching came about as a result of the feedback we got after both sessions of The Download. People LOVED the content and were really upset to hear that it was being discontinued! It quickly became glaringly obvious that the material covered in The Download needed to be seen by waaaaay more people.

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When I realized that the sessions were really like group coaching sessions, I knew we had a winner. Offering personal coaching definitely doesn’t pass our parameters, but it’s a request I get constantly from small business owners.

So we’re starting LKR Coaching with Expansion, the first session of The Download that focused 100% on expanding your team. Click here if you’ve ever wanted to hire some help but could never figure out how to pay for it.

Thanks to all the participants of the Download and for your feedback; it was a great experience from start to finish. :)

Tell Us What You Need

What are some other high-level topics that you could use some serious coaching on? Comment below or shoot me an email at [email protected] so that we can start preparing other sessions of LKR Coaching!

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About Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who gives businesses of all sizes the tools they need to make their mark on the web. She is the creator of the social media scheduling software Edgar, as well as social media marketing web courses like Creating Fame and Social Brilliant.

Comments

  1. As they say, follow your heart!

  2. Elaine Heney says:

    I completely empathize with this. I run http://www.thechocolatelabapps.com and we offer programs and coaching to people who want to start their own app business. We have a series of online courses which people really love, and so a few months ago to try something I organised a one day live ‘app seminar’ for people who wanted a private coaching group with me. It went really well – everyone loved the content and went away with lots of things they could do to grow their app business. But the issue was while I really enjoyed it, it involved me being physically present for the whole event as the trainer, and when I reflected on this afterwards I realised it just wasn’t a sustainable business model for me. So thank you for the post, it resonated with me and what I had gone through.