How I turned a Sunday afternoon idea session into a powerful business development tool.
SECRET SAUCE NOT DEPENDENT ON SMART FRIENDS
In 2002, I invited three friends to my home to help me get quick feedback on an idea I had. My friends were encouraged to bring any ideas of their own to be discussed in a social gathering that I called Creative Problem-Solving. Over chicken salad and herbal tea on a Sunday afternoon, I took us through a process that allowed me to get what I wanted – candid feedback on my idea.
The surprise bonus was that we all inspired each other.
I started holding occasional Creative Problem-Solving events at my home for the next several years, inviting three new friends each time. Every single time I noticed these two things:
- Lives changed! Whoa, I had no idea about the power of the process that brought about the personal results I saw and also experienced for myself.
- “Sell this!” Every single time, the collaborators told me that I should be offering the process commercially. I was so busy with my own consulting practice that I thought of this occasional power team as an advantage I wanted to keep for myself.
I made the assumption that the powerful results we were all experiencing was only because my friends were bright, interesting people. I also made the wrong assumption that everyone had a problem they wanted solved. I ditched the word “Problem” and changed our gatherings to “Creative Collaborations”.
BUT WHAT’S THE SECRET SAUCE!?
After years of hearing collaborators tell me, “You should market this!” I broke down and decided to do some testing. Frankly, I was reluctant. I hadn’t yet realized what the secret sauce was. I assumed it was because of the interesting and wise friends I had.
Testing, testing and more testing.
I spent about a year inviting a variety of women to my home to test this thing. Along the way, women I didn’t know started to participate. Total strangers. Yet, the collaborative process always worked! Everyone had such an inspired time and wanted to come back. Maybe, just maybe, I was on to something. But…
MARKETING MEANS RESEARCH
As a consultant, I spent years gathering feedback from my clients’ customers and employees. I saw firsthand how profoundly valuable candid feedback was for my clients’ businesses. People told me in great detail why they engaged and disengaged from my clients and their services. I had previously honed my skills working in marketing departments at professional services firms. It was only natural that I asked for honest feedback on the Creative Collaboration sessions. Every participant filled out detailed survey forms plus VERY candid feedback on their experience.
The feedback was powerful and motivating!
To spread my geographical reach, I started offering Creative Collaboration sessions through videoconference to people all over the U.S. and Canada. And in nearly a two-year time frame, I tested this jewel over and over with hundreds of participants and kept getting the same results:
- Lives were changed and filled with new inspiration.
- People wanted more. They were willing to pay to attend.
Wow! I admit I didn’t see it coming.
Eventually, by using the proven process on my own issue, I secured a name for our creative collaborations and that’s how “HUDDLE Sessions” got named!
Right away, participants asked if they could be trained to use the HUDDLE Sessions proven process with their own groups. Quickly, I had to create licensing plans and training programs. It was a very busy time for me! I was in for a big disappointment…
GET THE COST DOWN
To cover the cost of licensing fees and my time conducting the training, I had to charge hefty fees. I am a businesswoman; I want to make a really nice living but this just didn’t feel right. Again, I did some testing and found ways to get the price point down so that many more business owners could afford to take advantage of the tool.
I had to make this available to both big and small businesses.
In the last quarter of 2014, I conducted my last in-person training program. I dropped the licensing fee requirement and, instead, developed a Certification package to train others who needed to offer this collaborative process to their clients or groups.
SPREADING THE GLORY
Now, coaches, trainers, consultants, workshop leaders, executives and business owners are able to pay a reasonable fee, download training materials, and achieve Certification to quickly offer HUDDLE Sessions as a way to make their businesses more attractive and a better option than their competition. Now their clients resolve obstacles to learning and become more loyal. Who doesn’t want that?
More revenue, you say? One of the best parts is that HUDDLE Sessions bring in more revenue for the coaches and consultants who offer the system to their own clients! That’s pure gravy for them.
A new revenue source!
If you are reading this, I hope you understand what a thrilling ride this has been. There are more opportunities ahead to extend the value of temporary advisory boards – HUDDLE Sessions – and I invite you to participate with me.
All that research can work to your advantage.
Allow HUDDLEs to help your business thrive too!
Let’s Stay Connected!