Now, before you all break out the flame-throwers, let me explain.
Have you ever been into a Firehouse Subs location? How about Papa Murphy's Pizza? These two franchise businesses are tearing up the world while selling a pretty "Plain Jane" product. I bet your town is packed with subs and pizza, just like mine is. And some of the local joints blow the franchises out of the water when it comes to the quality of the product.
But that's not what makes these franchises special, even though they prattle on about fresh ingredients and all that.
What sets both of these phenomenally successful restaurants apart is their SYSTEMS! (Well, that and the fact that people can use food stamps to buy PM's pizza, a little loophole that has made them heaven knows how much money...)
Everything about a Firehouse Subs is there to guarantee you, at a minimum, a pleasant experience. From the dedicated order-taker who only handles money and doesn't burn through 17,000 pair of plastic gloves a year (talkin' to you, Subway) to the smiling faces of their employees and their competitive pricing model, you'd have a hard time finding something to complain about.
Frankly, I find their sandwiches underwhelming. But I wish some of my local Mom and Pop sub shops could even TRY to keep up. These guys know how to make the most of social media, Google Places, local promotions, etc. Hell, the fact that you can text in your lunch order (which seems like such an obvious idea) puts them MILES ahead of the competition.
I prefer to eat at my local shops. But I'm not sure how much longer they will be able to hold out from the Firehouse and Papa Murphy onslaught. And the thing is, I've tried to convince the locals to play the game. Those few that have websites just can't seem to wrap their brains around the idea that same-said website might need to be mobile-optimized.
Nice knowin' ya!
So what does this have to do with IM? EVERYTHING!
When you're creating a business model for your IM business, what can you do to maximize the use of systems that appeal to a broader market? And if you said, "I'll just write a better eBook on spider grooming than anyone else", you've missed the point.
It may seem like a radical notion, but the systems are the FIRST thing to put in place, and then the product can be developed. The other way around is how it is so often done and, IMHO, the reason so many IM businesses never produce returns.
Building a platform on top of a product ensures the entire house blows down if the product fails.
To summarize; Build a rock-solid, customer-centered platform and put your product on top of it. If the product fails, grab another product. Keep going like that until you become an internet gazillionaire!
Best o' luck,