Thu | Jan 21, 2021

Yaneek Page | Business diagnosis is not a simple process

Published:Sunday | October 13, 2019 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I need your help with my biggest challenge in business right now, which is achieving my goals of making my business more marketable on Instagram to expand profit, and growing for at least the next 20 years or even more than that. I am tired of the struggle and I need solutions. If you can please do me the favour to just look on my Instagram page, you will see that I do one-day event planning workshops. Any advice or ideas you can give me would truly help me and be very much appreciated.

– M. Instagram


BUSINESSWISE: Before I answer your question, I want you to do something for me.

Imagine you have a friend who has been feeling ill for many months and who finally decides to visit a medical facility for help. However, instead of going in to see the doctor for evaluation and diagnosis, he heads straight to the treatment station, tells them his name, age, and address and then asks them to administer medicine to relieve his symptoms and ensure he never gets sick again.

What, in your estimation, is the likelihood that your friend will be cured or even properly treated for his existing illness and also be completely healthy for the rest of his life? My guess would be zero. It is extremely unlikely that your friend would receive the appropriate medication and treatment for his condition under those circumstances. Also, as far as we know, there is no magic pill to prevent illness forever.

The same is true of what you’ve asked of me. I can’t give you advice to increase marketability, profitability, and expand the growth of your business by simply looking at your Instagram page. There is also no way I can give ideas or advice to ensure that your business will last a generation.

In business, the only guarantee is taxes, and things can literally change in an instant, especially with our new global realities of freer trade, the fourth industrial revolution, terrorism, and climate change, to name a few.

Therefore, the first order of business is for you to drastically adjust your expectations. The next thing is understanding that when seeking business advice or guidance, you need to provide adequate context and information that will enable your adviser, mentor, or coach to understand the business, the business model, strategic goals and initiatives, history, customer relationships, reputation and positioning in the market, your existing organisational structure, talent, resources, partnerships, and much more.

Notwithstanding I did review your Instagram page, and there are a few fundamental areas of your business I want you to assess before you move to strengthen your presence online.

Frankly speaking, there is no point spending precious time and scarce resources promoting a product that is hard to scale and won’t make you any money. Therefore, the big problem you have now is not how to promote more, but instead, how do you ensure that your business is actually viable?

Three basic yet essential questions I want you to answer are:

1. Is the business model lucrative and competitive?

2. Have you done a profitability analysis of your workshops?

3. What’s the value of your sales universe?

I’m concerned that you have a single product – a traditional face-to-face, one-day workshop, priced at under $8,000 per person targeted at residents of Kingston, St Thomas and St Catherine.

To reduce your costs, improve efficiency, and make your workshop more profitable, you may want to offer virtual workshops. This would also expand your target market, increase scalability, and add passive income.

You should also consider expanding to several courses – perhaps levels 1, 2, 3, etc – so you can upsell and increase the lifetime value of each customer. You can also adjust your pricing policy so that entry-level courses cost much less than higher levels. You may even add certification as a service by leveraging partnerships with other institutions in the short term until you build the capacity to have your own courses accredited.

There could be other linkages such as provision of training materials, start-up kits, and applications or software licences. At the very least, you could become an affiliate of these entities so you earn commissions off purchases – having satisfied the ethical considerations and disclosures needed. You don’t want to be accused of recommending supplies only because you profit from them. That would be akin to a school creating booklists just to earn commission from bookstores rather than student needs.

These ideas may significantly expand your sales universe and scalability with minimal staffing and other resource requirements. However, you have to evaluate and validate them with market research. Once you have these fundamentals right, then you can hire a digital marketing strategist to maximise your social media assets, including your IG page.

In the end, the solutions to marketability, profitability, and sustainability have less to do with Instagram hype and far more to do with the competitiveness of your core product or service and the viability of your target markets.

Good luck!


- Yaneek Page is the programme lead for Market Entry USA, a certified trainer in entrepreneurship, and creator and executive producer of The Innovators and Let’s Make Peace TV series.