Minimum Effective Task (MET)

If you want a client to get a result as fast as possible, you must simplify their assignment.

That means your online course should really be a checklist.

Of course, you’ll need to add some background knowledge and maybe coach the client on mindset to get the job done. But if you want them to get an outcome, you need to guide them to that outcome step by step.

  1. Start with a reasonable promise. “I want you to add $5,000 in Front End Revenue in 12 weeks.”
  2. Now work backward: to get the client $5000 in FER in 12 weeks, what steps will they have to take?
    Let’s say they’ll need to build a front-end program; learn to sell it; nurture easy leads to the sales call; and then generate leads until they sell $5000 worth of their service.
    Those are strategies: the plans. Now we need tactics: the “do”.
  3. Break the strategy down into steps. Take the first strategy: building a front-end program. What steps are required to build that program?
    Let’s say they’re running an accounting business, and they want to set up an onboarding program for their new clients. Their onboarding program includes registering for Quickbooks Online; syncing their bank accounts to Quickbooks; generating a Profit and Loss statement; and maybe coaching their accounting clients to finding some tax savings. This program is worth $500, and they’re going to sell it to local entrepreneurs.
    But these are still strategies. The accountant building their front-end program needs to dig deeper.
  4. Break the steps into smaller steps. What are the steps required to sign up for Quickbooks online?
    Step one: click here to go to the QuickbooksOnline website. Step two, register for an account. Step three, click “payment” and enter your payment info. Step four, click “accounts” and connect to your first bank account. Etc. Each of these should be accompanied by pictures or videos, and this forms the first module of your course.
  5. Add short videos on background knowledge or mindset coaching ONLY if the client needs it. For example, a client doesn’t need to hear “why we choose to work with QuickbooksOnline” in the first module. But in later modules, they might need a short video on the difference between accrual accounting or cash accounting, or “How to Read Your Profit and Loss Statement”.
  6. Audit the course. Go through every step in the checklist and ask, “Could the client skip this step and still get the same result?”
    Then go step by step and ask, “Are there any steps missing?”
  7. Each of these ‘steps’ is a Minimal Effective Task. They should act as a checklist, with no steps missing and no extra steps.

When building a course, a good mentor can break the material down into a checklist. Their experience, context and deep knowledge will allow them to assign very specific tasks to get the client to the outcome.

In the above example, if the mentor had simply said “Sign up for QuickbooksOnline and link your bank account”, the client would have had to figure out the process. This creates a risk of failure: what if they don’t understand the instructions? What if the Quickbooksonline site is overwhelming? What if the bank account they use isn’t listed on the site?
Then one of two things happen:
1- the mentor becomes the support staff for the QuickbooksOnline website; or, more likely
2 – the client doesn’t get the task done.

Identifying the MET means looking at each step in your process and asking, “What are the steps involved in this step?” If your tasks are made up of smaller sub-tasks, then you haven’t identified the MET yet. Go deeper.

Breaking a strategy down increases the likelihood that it will get done. It increases the client’s speed to outcome, creates feelings of “winning” and builds momentum for the harder work ahead.

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