When people first start building their online course business they think it will be a journey from A to Z. A list of tasks that once they complete enough of them, they have a successful business.
When you first start out it does have that feeling to it.
Step 1 Pick your course idea
Step 2 Test,
Step 3 Kickstart,
Step 4 launch,
And so on.
But what happens is you eventually hit a wall. Stuck and you don’t know what to do next because the list of tasks to do has already run out!
What you decide to do next is what makes or breaks your business. Some people hit the wall and decide that it was a bad idea to start with and they need to start over with a different one. Others decide to take a few steps back and redo steps again. But a little better and a little different than last time based off what they learned the first time through.
That first group usually just keeps feeling like they are spinning their wheels and getting nowhere again and again until eventually they give up and move on to something else. The second group tends to keep growing their online course business and become better business owners.
But why is that?
It is because they have started treating their business like a system. And once you realize your business is a system made up of smaller systems that is when you can start blowing it up. (its turtles all the way down!) You can identify which pieces need to be improved and which pieces are going to give you the most leverage. Wouldn’t it be awesome to look at your business and know which next thing will 2x or 10x your business?
When I first realized this I doubled my business in a few months.
You may be wondering what I mean by a “system” and I’m going to give you the simple version (If you want to dig deeper, read this book).
If you are thinking “I thought you were giving me the simple version?!”, let me break it down a bit.
Inputs are simply things that are going into your system, If you are on step one and researching your course, your inputs are going to be your course ideas.
Then you have your processes. This is where you take those inputs and process them. You take your course ideas and do the actual research on them and learn. If your idea is “How to groom hamsters” then you would process this by going to google, udemy, etc. and searching for successful courses on how to groom dogs.
Once you have done your research you are going to have some outputs. In this example your outputs are going to be your research results of all the course ideas you just input.
Next comes the important part of the system. The feedback.
This is where you look at the outputs and let it influence your next inputs. So if you researched “How to Groom Your Hamster” and found that zero people have a successful online course about it, you would want to take that information and research another idea.
That seems pretty simple and intuitive right?
But what about that sun labeled “Environment” in the corner? What is that doing and why isn’t it connected to the system at all?
Well basically that is all the stuff you don’t control. Say there was a worldwide hamster shortage when you are doing your research. That is going to affect the outputs, your inputs, feedback, and just the whole system in general. So if you are wondering why your hamster course research isn't going well, make sure to look at the environment and let it help you make decisions.
Seems pretty simple right? And it is, but some systems you have are more complex. But if you understand that basic framework then you can understand how everything is supposed to flow and identify the bottlenecks and make the whole system flow better.
Eventually you get to the point where you realize your business is a system with a bunch of smaller systems inside of it. Then you can start making decisions and predict how a change here is going to effect a change there. How a change to your sales process is going to effect your customer service process. Or how streamlining your delivery is going to change your lead generation processes.
Now that you know the super basics of a system, lets take a look at the other things in your business that are a system.
There are 5 systems in any given business.
The first is lead generation, in Profitable Courses we teach you a simple system to build a social media audience of your ideal client.
The second is Lead Nurture. We start people out by building a posting system in a group where you deliver valuable information to the people you have brought to your social media account and build up your “know like and trust” factor (another blog post on that!)
The third is the Sales Processes. How do you move people from leads into sales? We teach a system where you do a live lesson, get people a great result on the lesson, and then ask them if they want to work further to get even more results.
The fourth is delivery. If you have seen our ads you may have seen our “sell it before you build it” line. This is a system we teach that helps you work WITH your ideal clients to build a great course. You give them the outline of what you plan to do, and then you start teaching it live to your ideal customers. They then give you the world's best feedback so you can build the best version of your course.
The fifth system is retention and reselling. These two are kind of intertwined. Basically it is how you service your customers and keep them as customers long into the future. If you run a membership, this is going to be what makes or breaks you. If you run a single product and course, this is going to be tied into the delivery system. You want to make the course so awesome that your existing customers are clamoring for something new to buy.
Once you map out these systems in your business and formalize them (SOPs anyone?), then you can start rating them. Every month go through these systems and figure out which ones have the most opportunity and which ones have the least. Then work on those that have the most opportunity to maximize your business growth. Even if you aren’t trying to build a huge business, fixing the broken pieces is going to make your business faster and easier to run, giving you more time to do whatever YOU want to do.
Yes, it will end up with you having to make harder and harder decisions. But you will have to make less of them and you won’t be spending 12 hours a day working on things that don’t matter or worse... You could have someone else doing them but don’t because you don’t have it systematized!
So what do you think? What system do you need to work on first? Let us know!