The Process for Launching a New Service
Post by: Megan Bloomfield,Solutions Advisor
Part of our work at Boomer Consulting, Inc. involves bringing new communities and services to accounting firms. We’ve launched a few in the past year and each time we do, we learn more about what works and what doesn’t, enabling us to refine our process.
As compliance work becomes more competitive in the accounting profession, it’s becoming increasingly important for firms to develop new services as well. In fact, we predict that within a few years, 80% of a firm’s revenue will come from new service offerings rather than traditional tax and assurance work.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share the overarching guidelines we follow when creating a new service, the process for launching it, and how you can apply them in your firm.
We keep the following guidelines in mind throughout every step of imagining, vetting and launching a new community or service.
We prioritize ideas from clients over internal ideas. Any community or service we launch needs to deliver value from our clients’ perspective. Client value is always top of mind.
We launch no more than two services per year. Successfully starting a new service or community takes time. We don’t try to do too much too fast.
The service or community must serve the future of the profession.
Now that we’ve covered the guidelines, here’s the step-by-step process we follow to launch a new service.
Step #1: Identify a need
Our team members frequently come up with ideas for new services and communities, so we need a process for evaluating those ideas. When someone has an idea, they need to vet it to ensure they can prove to themselves that the concept is a good one.
To do this, we fill out an Impact Filter, which forces us to consider the following:
What do you want to accomplish with this new service?
What difference will this make to the profession?
What will the completed project look like?
What criteria will we use to measure the success of the project?
Step #2: Bring the idea to the team
Next, we bring the idea to our Innovation Team and present it to the group. We walk through the Impact Filter and have a chance to ask questions, provide feedback and get buy-in. The Innovation Team has the full view of all the projects and impact filters that are in the works. If the Impact Filter gets approved by the Innovation Team, it is then brought to the Executive Team.
Step #3: Establish priorities
As mentioned in our guidelines, we launch no more than two services per year. This might differ for your firm, those are just the guidelines we decided. For the next step, our Executive Team needs to determine whether the new service will be a focus for the year.
Once the Executive Team decides the new service will be a focus for the firm, internal communication and training needs to happen. This part is very important and should not be left out. If your client facing people don’t understand what painpoint or gap this service fills, they will not be able to effectively sell it. This step also helps with buy-in from the entire firm.
This is also the time to allocate talent and tentatively assign deadlines. For example, if we’re launching a new community, we need to determine who the facilitators will be and in which months the circle meetings will occur. We also need deadline dates for each step in the process below.
Launching a new service in your firm, you may need to determine whether you have the right skillsets to deliver the service currently, or you need to hire or upskill your current staff to deliver it. You would also consider whether any deadlines impact the service.
Step #4: Conduct research
Next, we set up research calls to get a feel from the market if there is an interest in the service. For example, when launching our Marketing and Business Development community, we called firms that participate in our other communities or ones that we know have internal marketing departments.