In trying to develop new consulting service offerings, my firm has a process to select the top three potential services and then focus our efforts on developing the best one of them. I would prefer to try a range of approaches, even if they were not as well developed when we took them to market. What approach seems to work best?
It is unclear which approach works best for a given market or firm capability but there is one principle that should help frame the question among your team. Most professionals, especially entrepreneurial consultants, are constantly generating ideas. These may be for a new services, knowledge management approaches, partnerships or alliances, practice management practices, billing practices, geographic markets, etc. The one characteristic we all share in this regard is that there are a lot more ideas generated than we implement.
You asked about moving forward with one well-developed idea vs. many partly-developed ideas. I suggest that the biggest cost in an innovative field like consulting is the many ideas that, while potentially significant for your practice, never get past the paper napkin stage. We either lack the energy, intellect, or will to take them to the next step and see whether they might work. In effect, we kill our own (possibly) best ideas.Tip:
Create a process to capture practice management, marketing or client service ideas and put them through a vetting process to see which ones are worth pursuing. Don't let any idea go to waste. If it is not for your firm now, keep it on file and reconsider later. Above all, demand of yourself what you would suggest of your client: impose some order and give your innovation a fair chance to create new value for you and your clients. Commit to act on each idea until you can safely eliminate it.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA