There will come a time in your business where you feel ready to add another service offering. To make this successful, there are ten tips to consider before moving ahead.
- Revisit your business plan. If you don't have one, write one for your business as it currently exists (even a one-page, brief summary will work fine). Compare how your business plan will be the same or different with the addition of this new service.
- Will this new offering build adequately on what you already have in place? This refers not only to your resources, but also to your own skills and those of your staff. Does this new offering extend further what you've already been doing? Or is it a detour into a new area?
- Is the addition going to be cost effective? For example, if you're building on what you already have in place, you're probably going deeper into your current market rather than trying to start a whole new business from scratch. Generally speaking, it's almost always going to be more cost effective to add a related service line than it is to start a new one.
- Have your customers asked you about this or expressed a need for something new? If you regularly consult with your customers you will know what they need and want. If they continually ask you whether you provide a particular service, use this information to guide what you next add to your business. Your bottom line will thank you.
- If you are a solo professional, how will the new service improve what you're doing now? Will it provide you additional income or additional freedom? Is it an area that is more interesting to you? Just be sure that adding the service is likely to provide you with definable personal benefits otherwise, you might stretch yourself too thin.
- How will your customers benefit from this new service? If you don't have a built in market for what you're offering be sure to think about what this new service will do for your existing customers. Will it allow you to serve more people? Fewer people? Will it cost less? Are the results going to be better?
- Ask yourself: Why this and why now? What is driving your decision? Is this the right time to implement this new plan? Timing, sometimes, is the main difference between success and failure.
- Give adequate notice. Be sure to give your customers adequate notice of these changes if this addition is going to impact your existing customers (as in you might be less available for a while or your prices might increase). Customers are very resilient when they know what's going on and why.
- Communicate your enthusiasm. If you are excited about a new offering be sure to share this with everyone you know. Once you've decided to go ahead get as much help and support as you can. As the business owner, you have a lot of influence on your customer's view and response to this change.
- Set some goals and revenue projections for the new offering. Create a marketing plan and decide how you will reach your targets. Measure your results. This will assist you in gauging if you're on the right track.
Most of all, have fun with this process. One of the best parts of owning your own business is that you can make adjustments which make your business better for your customers and yourself.
(c) 2004, Dr. Rachna D. Jain. All rights in all media reserved. Dr. Rachna D. Jain is a sales and marketing consultant to small business owners/solo entrepreneurs who want to make more money and have more fun in their businesses. Check out her daily insights here!