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.
During these calls, we gauge their interest level in the community and find out what they would need in order to want to be a part of it. This not only helps us identify potential clients, but helps us refine our offering to make sure it will deliver the value clients are looking for.
Step #5: Begin prospecting
After all of the research calls are completed, our guideline is we need a minimum of 15 interested prospects. We send additional information to the clients and prospects that expressed interest in the new service and set a time to follow up. We want to ensure the conversation keeps moving forward.
When launching a new service in your firm, you may decide that you need at least ten clients to agree to purchase the service before you invest in the software, talent or other resources required to deliver it. If you can’t get enough clients to sign on before your cut-off date, you may need to refine or rethink your offering.
Step #6: Set launch date
Once we have our pre-determined number of clients signed on, we turn it over to our marketing department to create a webpage for the new service and add it to our marketing plan.
Of course, even after the launch, we continue to refine our services to ensure that they’re delivering the value our clients have come to expect. It’s an ongoing process, but the work we did pre-launch sets us up for success.
If your firm plans to launch a new service in the coming year, I encourage you to think through the process you’ll use to create and launch it. Your firm’s process will look different from ours, but once you identify and document your process, you can start refining and improving it. Every future launch will be better because of the work you’re doing now!
The last thing I’ll say is this is very much a team effort! The person doing the research calls might not be the person dedicated to getting the calls scheduled or following up. The person who plans to deliver the service should not be the project manager setting it all up for success. Everyone has unique abilities and those should be considered in this whole process.
Are you confident in your firm’s marketing strategy?
The Boomer Marketing Consulting framework can help you create a proven marketing strategy to better attract your ideal prospects, convert those leads into clients, and scale your firm. Schedule a discovery call today to discuss your firm’s goals and marketing needs.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Megan works to provide the highest level of client service to existing and new clients through building and maintaining relationships. Her primary focus is on Vendor/Sponsor relationships and she is the Boomer Technology Circle, the Boomer Advisor Circle, and the Boomer Lean Circle sponsor program lead. Megan is passionate about helping clients excel through Boomer Consulting Services.