Launching a new service in 2021? What you need to know
As we enter the new year, many are hoping for a fresh start after the events of 2020.
While no one can say for certain what 2021 has in store for us, it’s a good time for accountants to look back, review how their business has been affected, and think about what they’re going to change in the future.
One of those changes might be a new service offering. Perhaps the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted you to change the way you work with clients or the kind of advice you offer – or maybe you’re looking to make up for some lost revenue over the next year.
Whatever your reason, planning is key.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you launch a new service.
Who are you offering the service to?
Even if you have a fairly clear idea of the kind of client your new service is for, dedicating some time to market research will give you a major advantage compared to launching based on assumptions.
Finding out the size of the market and the experiences and opinions of people in it means you can ensure you’re offering the right service in the right way.
This could be done through a combination of desk research, interviews with your current clients, and larger-scale surveys.
To inform your research and keep you on track, you could also put together some profiles of your ideal clients. These are also known as buyer personas, which we explain in more detail here.
How does it fit with your business goals?
A new service launch can seem exciting, but if it doesn’t contribute towards a specific business goal, it might not be worth the time and cost.
For example, are you looking to acquire new clients from a certain sector or meet a need that’s emerged in a sector you already work with? Do you want to widen your customer base as a whole or attract higher-value clients?
Drawing up some forecasts for customer acquisition in the first year you offer the service will help you to work out whether it will achieve the results you’re hoping for.
How will it scale?
Starting small is usually the best approach to any new service offering, but it’s also a good idea to plan for how the service might develop and expand over time.
Look ahead at the next three to five years, and think about how the number of customers and revenue might grow.
What resources do you need?
In order to start offering a new service, you’ll usually need to make some form of investment. That could mean purchasing new software, hiring staff who specialise in that service, or training up your existing employees so they have the skills to offer it.
Aside from the practical requirements of the service itself, you might also find that you need to invest in new systems and processes in order to handle an increased workload and run smoothly as your firm expands.
An effective customer relationship management (CRM) tool, for example, could be a good way to keep track of your growing client base while maintaining a high standard of customer service.
How will you package it?
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to look at the specifics of what’s included in the service, and how much you’ll charge for it.
Packaging your service effectively is really important. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to understand what you’re offering and simple for them to buy it.
You might decide to offer it as a standalone service, an extension to an existing service, or part of a bundle.
You should also think about how you’ll present the service package on your website, and how you’ll go about promoting it to your clients.
Find outhow to package, price and promote your accounting firm’s services in our new eBook.