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#627: Start Small When Productizing Your Consulting Services

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Even after moving some of my consulting services to a value-priced basis, I am looking for some passive income. Productizing my services makes sense but I don't have any awesome IP that I can turn into a product.

There are several benefits to productized services for both the consultant and client. Unlike consulting services, which in the eyes of many buyers are intangible, unscripted and hard to value, a product is well branded, consistently delivered, well defined and more easily valued. Especially if you have a tiered offering of products, with several levels of service, productizing your practice can actually strengthen your brand.

This is all well and good for someone with a structured practice, a history delivering more or less the same services, and/or a set of discrete packages of content. This last item is traditionally industry reports, how to templates or packaged research data. These are well and good but increasingly lower value because they are quickly outdated and can be generated by more people (i.e., your specialized expertise is more common than a few years ago).

If you don't have these, however, you can start on the path to productizing your services by introducing minor processes or services for which you don't expect to get a lot of revenue. Take an analytical process or a procedure you have developed and refined over the years. As a good consultant you will have been documenting these processes and reusing them, with adaptation, in each subsequent engagement. These do not have to be grand inventions. They can be an easy solution to an otherwise straightforward but time consuming problem. Take an online application to calculate required consulting fees as an example. Anyone can set this up in a spreadsheet but this application makes it easy to do. It begs the question of what other applications from this provider might be of use (even for a fee) to me.

Tip: Start with an approach, a process of a dozen steps, or a format for organizing and displaying information for your practice. Distribute these for free to current clients and prospects, as for feedback and rigorously evaluate what users like and want you to add. Take this in small steps but get started. You will soon build a tiered set of products, the top end for which you can charge a hefty fee.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  consulting tools  knowledge assets  product development  your consulting practice 

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