Product Improvement & Use By Dates: Your Career
I have calendar notifications on for when to clean my air purifier filters, when to change out my baking soda and when to replace my gym shoes (make sure you change those shoes every 6 months, y’all!). While there may be some bending of the “for best results” dates on the manufacturer’s part to keep us coming back to buy more, I truly believe in consistent maintenance for any product in order to reap the true benefits. Why should that be any different for our product?
While many of us continue on with various lessons and general upkeep, there isn’t necessarily a plan or subsequent prioritization based on our actual strengths or weaknesses.
Moreover, while Product Improvement is most often associated with the artistic elements of your business, you can apply the same strategy for all necessary improvements from managing finances to marketing knowledge to self producing. And with everything, developing a plan to let that unfold over a period of time is crucial to a) keeping up with it and b) allowing it to flow with the rest of your work based upon available resources ($$) and time.
“Ugh. Artist’s Strategy – you’re always tacking on more! Why do I need to keep up with this, too?”
Well, lovely artist, if you don’t, your competition will. You are already one among MANY so why not think about it as yet another tool to give you even more of a leg up over the others?
Google vs Apple, AirBnB vs VRBO, Dunkin’ vs Starbucks are all having the same convo as to how to distinguish themselves from the others in order to stay current or relevant and that’s primarily by making their product the best it can be.
Your best product is based on the unique qualities you have to offer so this is not about homogenizing your gifts but instead lifting the specificity of them up and making them even better so they can more clearly rise above the rest.
While a good deal of Artist’s Strategy’s work is often “new” for many, Product Improvement is probably one of the more foreign aspects because while we always hear about “staying in class”, there’s so much more to making sure your work is up to snuff. Looking at all aspects of your business both artistic and structural, laying out a prioritized list, budgeting and creating a calendar for improving all of them is key.
In our experience, the creatives who take on this aspect of the work in a meaningful way have a sharper, more purposeful approach to their business overall. Probably because they’re proud of their work and the ways it continues to thrive and want to see it through to the finish line
By the way, if you’re at a loss for what might need work, using some basic market research tactics and engaging folks who know you for anonymous feedback could be invaluable but more on that another time. For now, for best results check the expiration date on the moving pieces of your business to see if any of them are past their prime.