Validate: Look Before You Leap (Day 2 of 5)

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This email is part of our email series for our Black Friday 2020 early adopter enrollment of The Durable Business (TDB) course. Enrollment will be open between Friday Nov 27 through midnight Monday Nov 30 PST.

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Happy Tuesday.

If you haven't read yesterday's email, please do that first. Each part of this series builds on the previous installments.

Today we're moving on to the second part of The Durable Business framework — validation.

During the discover phase, we defined a minimum viable audience (MVA) that we seek to serve, and identified 1-3 significant problems (or meaningful desires) we can charge money to help that audience solve (or fulfill).

When we listen closely to the subtext, the nuances, the between-the-lines of what our MVA are saying about the problems they care about solving, ideas emerge (often “hidden” within the noise).

It's our job to find these insights, then highlight and express them in our offers. Validation begins when we present our ideas for solutions directly to our minimum viable audience to assess their reactions and gauge their level of interest.

Often, this is where our initial attempt at explaining an offer happens…

An offer is the marketing expression of a product or service at a specific point in time. It is not the product or service itself.

When we share a simple expression of an offer with an MVA, the goal is to gather data quickly that confirms we're on the right path, or that we've missed the mark and need to brainstorm new ideas.

We want to know, in advance, that our ideas for solutions are likely to produce positive results before we invest time and energy to build the supporting infrastructure.

The last thing we want to do is create ads, websites, landing pages, emails, and sales infrastructure for offers no one wants or cares about!

This is especially important when time is limited.

Suppose you're building an online business during nights and weekends or testing a new offer for an existing business. In that case, you want to focus your energy and attention where it's most likely to create positive results as quickly as possible.

In the early stages of a new business, validation is more art than science…

We're looking for the bright flashing indicators that our solutions match our MVA's needs.

We're not trying to find incremental differences.

We're looking for ideas that can produce exponential results.

(More often than not, those are found when we perfectly and creatively match our ideas to our audience's needs and desires.)

However, validation is part of a repeating ‘flywheel' process that gains momentum over time.

After broad ideas have been confirmed, the TDB validation framework can identify business models, price points, value propositions, etc.

(Learning TDB benefits from the flywheel effect too. Every time you go through the four-part process, you'll learn more, identify additional nuances, and create momentum.)

Let's look at an example to better explain how validation works.

There are many ways we could describe the benefits of The Durable Business that may — or may not — resonate with our audience.

Consider the following descriptions:

  1. The Durable Business is a distillation of four decades of combined experience in digital marketing.
  2. The Durable Business is what we would do if we had to start over from scratch with only $1,000 in the bank.
  3. The Durable Business is what we would do to grow a business from $0 to $100,000 in revenue (and we're so confident it will work that we're going to create that business and show our work as part of TDB).
  4. The Durable Business is what we would do to Scale & Optimize a $250,000 business to a million a year.
  5. Or something else…

Which of these value propositions is most compelling to our audience? The short answer is that we don't know (yet).

In fact: as a fun game, you're welcome to tell us which number lights you up in the comments.

In 2018, André created Lean Business for Creators. The premise of LBC was that it represented what he would do if he had to start over again with $1,000 in the bank.

Nearly 800 students have signed up for LBC the few times it has been offered. Clearly, that message resonated (i.e., the value proposition for LBC was validated).

Two years later, LBC has become The Durable Business, and we're building an entirely new course from scratch…

This time, we've changed the value proposition to growing a business from $0 to $100,000 in revenue.

We think that's more compelling to our audience (based on hundreds of emails and other communication).

But … we don't know yet if we're right.

(As you've probably guessed already, this Black Friday series is our attempt to validate our new vision for TDB, and we won't know if we're on the right track until we see how our audience responds.)

The alternative to validating our ideas is investing hundreds of hours in creating something without knowing that it's exactly what our audience wants.

That's not ideal.

To be clear: this Black Friday series is just one way to validate an offer — and it's more complicated than it needs to be if you're just getting started.

(Keep in mind that we're many hundreds of turns of our ‘flywheel' into developing our business so the methods are different. But the principles and intent are the same.)

Fortunately, for TDB, there's a much faster way to validate our ideas — the Facebook Offer and Messaging Testing Framework.

Originally created as Bonus Module 6.5 for The Traffic Engine, the Facebook Offer and Messaging Testing Framework is a step-by-step method that uses Facebook's social signals — sharing, liking, and commenting — to quickly determine which ideas resonate most with an audience.

TDB includes a simpler, more focused, follow-along version of that framework to effectively identify, express, and validate solutions for your MVA's most compelling problems and desires.

(This method was one of Shawn's secret weapons for getting results for his agency clients. It has been proven over and over again to work regardless of market or business model.)

Like everything in TDB, you'll see us validate our initial ideas with this testing framework and later use it to refine those ideas as we grow our real live example business past $100,000 in revenue.

Tomorrow we'll explain the build phase of The Durable Business. This is when we begin to create the infrastructure necessary to turn our ideas into income.

See you then…

Oh, the by the way: the comments are open and there are a bunch already. If you have a question, let us know. If you've been hit by an insight, we would love you to share it.

André and Shawn


Enrollment will open for The Durable Business on Black Friday, Nov 27, 2020 and will close at midnight PST Monday, Nov 30.

The course curriculum, Q&A, and other details will be available later this week on the TDB course page.