We began the month of May asking a question – what’s holding you back?
If you follow us closely, you may have noticed a few things:
- We did not post blogs on a regular basis.
- We did not produce new Business is ART podcasts on a regular basis.
- We temporarily shut down the Plan Canvas website.
Why? What was holding us back? The answer may surprise you.
We actually weren’t holding back
In actuality, we were holding nothing back, despite outside appearances. So what has been going on?
We’ve been working hard to address a few particular areas of concern, which we will share with you here.
This may leave some of you wondering why we would air our “dirty laundry,” but it is really very simple. Our mission is to improve others’ business and personal outcomes. If others can learn from our mistakes and apply what we learn, we are happy to share.
What have we learned about our go-to-market strategy?
Basically, what we learned was how ill-prepared we were to go-to-market. The Plan Canvas software product was ready, but our go-to-market strategy was not.
As a boot-strapped startup, we put all of our efforts in developing and validating a quality product. These are necessary steps, especially validation. And it is not abnormal for a startup to have no or limited budget to do everything it needs to do – and the same was true for us.
It is not that we ignored sales and marketing. We did a few things, like committing to a social media content marketing campaign. But we consciously put aside a lot of the things we knew we would at some point need to do from a sales and marketing perspective – out of budgetary necessity.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. But what we miscalculated was how much work there would be to do in order to get to an intelligent go-to-market strategy.
What have we been doing?
Before telling you what we’ve been up to, we want to emphasize that it’s never done. Like everything else in business, your sales and marketing strategy is an ever-involving thing.
That said, here is what we have been doing:
- Conducted a product “positioning” exercise.
- Modified our messaging.
- Made a greater distinction between our 3 product lines – Plan Canvas for Individual, Plan Canvas for SMB, and Plan Canvas for Enterprise.
- Published a white paper on improving strategy execution.
- Documented several Plan Canvas case studies.
- Attended entrepreneurial boot camps and participated in pitch competitions.
- Modified the plancanvas.net website.
- Modified the business model.
- Overhauled the Plan Canvas software user interface.
- Planned “Launch 2.0” – effectively, a “do-over” from our initial launch in September of 2017.
So what’s next?
Again, this is a never-ending process, and there is a lot more to come. But for the immediate future, we will begin a weekly theme around each of the specific customer types we identified through the aforementioned positioning exercise.
They are as follows:
- Individual Interested in Self-Improvement – No matter what your title or station in life, you can benefit from a personal self-improvement plan.
- Freelancer/Independent – You want to earn money doing what you love, on your terms, with the flexibility to do what you want, when you want. There’s just one problem. Reality.
- Startup Entrepreneur – You have dreams of starting your own business but need to validate if your product or business idea is viable.
- Small to Midsize Business (SMB) – You enjoy being your own boss, but want to do better, creating a lasting business model with an engaging and enduring company culture.
- Regional and Franchise Managers with Multiple Locations – You need to spend less time managing individual stores while spending more time managing the area.
- Operations Manager – You need to better manage change, attract and retain talent, optimize costs, maximize output and grow.
- Church and Non-Profits – You have all of the same challenges of a for-profit business with one main difference – in addition to fee-based products and services, your mission may be dependent on grants and donations.
- Midsized-to-Large Enterprise – You need improved outcomes of strategy execution.
We are also working on a group subscription and white label offering. It’s an on-going journey and we hope you join us.
If not, we hope you at least learn from us.