11 AUGUST 2017
written by Mike
I talk a lot about the importance of the discovery and strategy session.
But what is it?
Do you need to invest in one?
And what does it have to do with podcasting?
Starting any venture, be it a business, a podcast or a website is a lot of work. Some time ago I read that it takes around 18 months for a business to be profitable, and that’s assuming everything goes well.
Even with Casefile, it took us well over a year before we had any income coming in, enough to cover the costs. Considering how much luck we had on the way it still meant working on the show every week for months without knowing if it was ever going to work.
Things like that are unique, we never intended it to be a business, we never intended for the podcast to make money but looking back I can see that we could avoid many mistakes if we had a strategy in place.
That’s when design-thinking comes in. Imagine starting a new business, let’s say a sound production practice. The cost of the project would start in thousands of pounds, sometimes more.
Would you risk it if you knew that there is a strong chance it’s not going to work?
Or would you try to manage the risk but assessing the challenges and writing down the vision for the project?
Big companies and corporations know about the discovery. Each decision they make cost a lot of money and effort, things like website rebranding or changing a logo it’s much more complicated for them than it is for you.
There is a lot of cash involved, and to get approval on the project the vision needs to be clear. Everyone from marketing to programming department must know what they are doing.
There is a lot of research and planning required. Hence sessions such as these cost thousands of pounds and are out of reach for the average person. But to be the best, we need to study the best and imitate them within our means.
A business requires focus, vision and a plan. A discovery session for your, often one woman/man business is as important as for a large company because numbers are arbitrary. For them spending 500k on a website is a lot of money, but so is 5k for you.
They need to know why and what are they buying, and so do you.
What I usually say to a client when they ask about discovery process is a simple doctor metaphor.
When you go to a doctor would you prefer to describe what you feel and what you think you need and just grab a prescription for medicine?
Or would you prefer to be checked, diagnosed and looked at by a professional before getting the prescription?
Even if you just want to start a podcast, not a full-size business.
What will be the look of the website? The logo? The name?
Do you have a target audience in mind?
What do you want to achieve with the show?
Discovery is a partnership between the members of the team. We sit down together; we talk about the business, we locate the problems and agree on solutions. The direction is clear; the goals are set, everyone is on the same page.
But what if it’s just you and the microphone?
Well, I assume you will still need help with other aspects of the show such as website, social presence, graphics.
Even if you want to do all by yourself, having a clear picture in mind will help you to focus, especially during the moments when you want to change it all up again. That’s most important aspect of the strategy session.
What most of us do, is to get excited about one thing then when the initial emotion passes we start to doubt our decision. We discover something new and pivot, to get a dose of that excitement again.
I see it over and over again with my partner’s work. Her main profession is graphic design, and most of her clients want to skip on the strategy when she mentions it. They want to get straight into the works, the graphics, the labour.
Then after weeks of back and forth, hundreds or thousands of dollars later, and multiple changes to the initial design they still can’t decide on the final product. What if the goals were aligned from the start?
What if every time they get excited about new feature or idea they could go back to the initial strategy document?
The focus is the only way to succeed in any venture. Focus and practice.
It’s like the famous quote goes
I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.
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