Wednesday, February 20, 2013

W08.03 How Do I Decide My Alexander Technique Front-End / Back-End Business? Part One

The first question you need to ask is this one: what kind of clear, benefit-based result is your Alexander Technique Front-end/Back-end business going to deliver to your students? Until you have your niche, it is impossible to answer this question.

For example, when a person is considering a deeper level of financial commitment to learn with you (Back-end), they may emotionally be ready to take the step, but they still need a logical reason. The logical reason is to justify it to themselves, to their partners, to their friends – to all the people whose lives may be affected by their decision.

Can you clearly organize your benefits, so that what you have already promised for your Front-end business is logically re-engineered for your Back-end? This connects with your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that I explored in the writing week of this free online course, but this is a second tier of that USP. It’s second tier in that the “benefit” is also built into your Front-end/Back-end business structure. I set out different Front-end/Back-end structures for this below, but before that let me emphasize that this all pivots around the actual Products you offer!

Your Front-end/Back-end is Your Alexander Technique Product
How you teach Alexander Technique for your niche is your Service, however your Product is something different. Your Product is the thing that costs this much "Money", is held at this "Location", is taught by this "Teacher" and must be done at these "Times" on these “Dates.” That is the information that a student bases their final purchase decision upon.

Your Front-end Product will be cheaper, easier to do, and involve less commitment, while your Back-end Product will be expensive, offer more complexity and require more commitment. Basically you need two broad categories of Products that naturally complement each other, offering a logical path for your enthusiasts to follow.

In Tokyo, there were many people who loved Alexander Technique and wanted to study it, but the Product I originally offered was not realistically attuned to their needs. Then I introduced a better, but confusing Product, that nearly self-destructed my business. Finally, I found two different Products types and got it right! As I wrote at length previously, it was only when I got BodyChance’s Products right, that I unleashed a cash flow that saved my business (and now gives me the free time to spend writing these blogs which take a few hours every day!)

No matter how good your Service is, it won’t fly until you have a Product that can sell it.

Product Variations of A Front-end/Back-end Businesses…
Today and tomorrow I be exploring some business structures whose Product mix implicitly implies an increasing benefit. Remember, that while plentiful examples of each business structure do exist, this is leading-edge stuff for most Alexander Technique teachers. I am personally experimenting with several of these structures: you have to figure out which may apply to your niche and personal situation. I can help you with that, but when I finally get around to personal coaching, it won’t be free anymore. Unless we go into business together…

Remember, it takes courage, vision and determination to build these businesses - keep your day job while you experiment and start generating some cash flow. Don’t jump in until you can smell the money…

Live Access Of Learning With You
Front-end: Monthly online information/coaching service (free or paid)
Back-end: Personal Contact with you (paid)

In this kind of structure, your front-end is deliberately distancing you from your student. It may sound odd, but this model involves building a business before you meet your niche students face-to-face. Seems impossible? Well, I don’t know half of the people reading my blog right now. And many of you that I do know I have not met in person. This is a structure for people who love writing – you get to live wherever you want, pumping out copy as I have been doing for the last few months.

It’s also a perfect vehicle for trainees who already know their niche – they can start blogging from Day One of their training. Even if you don’t know your niche, every day of your Alexander Technique Teacher Education training stimulates rich, insightful material: by committing to a disciplined process of blogging about your insights, you can start the documented development of your unique Service long before you even qualify as a Teacher. 

Start today - what are you waiting for?

Of course eventually it has to lead somewhere, and you need a plan for that (I have mine, but it’s most likely not what you think) so your purpose is to start building a strong community sourced from many diverse geographical areas linked by your niche theme. Be explicit about the population areas, and niche to each of them. From there, you invite them into direct contact with you. Here they come to learn more deeply: watching their lives change and loving the journey with the niche comunity you have created.

The secret juice here of course is content - original, eye-popping, myth-smashing copy that gets people standing on their chairs cheering for your ideas. Can you do that?

Before you say “I can’t” just think for a second how radical Alexander’s ideas actually are when applied to most niches. This work is, like, totally counter-intuitive. Your job is not to come up with the eye-popping, myth-smashing ideas - Alexander has already done most of that heavy lifting for you - your job is to translate his discoveries into a language that penetrates the mind-set of your listeners. And you do that by listening to their problems - they always have problems - and showing them a solution that has never occurred to them, yet is so darn simple that when they hear it they wonder: why no-one taught them this before? 

Alexander Technique is something you didn't know you needed, that you can now not live without it.

Go on, you can do it.

Limited Access of Learning With You
Front-end: Crowded workshops in city locations
Back-end: Elite learning opportunities in spicy places (city and country)

If writing is not your thing, but travelling and work-shopping is, this model will suit you. It ends with a similar Back-end to BUSINESS ONE above, but builds the Front-end differently. Pedro de Alcantara, Tommy Thompson, and Peter Grunwald are examples of Alexander Technique teachers following a version of this model - within the Alexander Technique teachers niche of course. You build this in your own niche, not with Alexander Technique teachers! Musicians, golfers, performers of all different sorts.

Pedro de Alcantara marries the Musicians niche into his workshops, but I don’t see a clear Back-end in Pedro’s model. He has created an eclectic mix of material products (books, DVD, CD), Performances, Workshops and Seminars, while nurturing a group of deeper, more committed learners (his Back-end?) in both Paris and New York. There is no clear structure to his business, or at least I can’t see it. My step would be to analyse his revenue sources to find the fountain, but then I'm not his coach am I?

Tommy Thompson has a clearer but undeveloped Back-end: he draws people into his school in Boston. If Tommy was a client, I would work with him on developing a more attractive Product for his Back-end. He’s leaving a lot of money on the table, resulting in many missed opportunities for Alexander Technique teachers to develop their teaching skills with Tommy – who is truly a remarkable teacher (and an Associate Director of BodyChance).

Peter Grunwald does this best. At one workshop I attended, he had us all sit down while he played a video selling his 3 week residential in New Zealand (his Back-end). He also offers a more conveniently situated workshop for “advanced” students (an alternative Back-end). Like Pedro, he has material products and a following of more committed learners in multiple locations. Peter’s business has been ready for another level of growth for many years now, and I often wonder why he doesn’t start it…

So, this is could be you!

On the road to meet your niche, travelling to large metropolitan areas where followers congregate. If you do, make sure you have an “upsell” for your Back-end at each of these workshops. Upsells and Downsells and getting your offer right are all part of your Marketing and Sales funnel, which comes up in Week 10 of my free 12 Week online course!

TOMORROW: More Front-end/Back-end Business Structures for Alexander Technique Teachers.

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