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#984: Fail Fast and Cheap

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, February 11, 2009
What should I be concerned about when developing new services in response to evolving client needs? I don't know where to start.

Business changes fast and consultants need to change with it or, better yet, stay one step ahead of it. This means working hard to develop new products and services in response to evolving client needs. Green technologies are quickly becoming the foundation of business investment. Cash and credit management are new essentials for most businesses. Talent management is increasingly critical for organizations whose executives are retiring. How will your practice respond to these trends?

Are there risks to developing new services that may not be effective? Is it wrong to roll out new services without testing and confirmation of their effectiveness? Should you do a lot of research and development before using your ideas on clients? The answer to all these questions is a resounding yes. However, this doesn’t mean the alternative of using outdated methods or techniques is not also counterproductive.

Tip: The rule for developing new products, in business as well as in consulting, is to “fail fast and cheap.” Identify emerging challenges facing your clients, lay out some ideas about how you might better serve your members, do some research on how these services might work, run it by some of your current clients for their reaction and, for those ideas that have merit, test them in practice. If your research or testing (done carefully and usually at no incremental cost to clients) has merit, then continue to develop them. If not, take good notes and move on quickly to try other ideas.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client service  intellectual property  learning  product development  your consulting practice 

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