Monday, July 19, 2010

How to Find New Product and Service Ideas

A proven source of long-term revenue growth is to sell new products and services to your existing clients.

Because your existing clients already trust you enough to give you their money.

They're sold on your business and, thus, "pre-sold" on any new products or services you introduce to them.

So. How can you find ideas for new products and services? 

Recession Storming: Thriving In Downturns Through Superior Marketing, Pricing And Product StrategiesTry these 3 tactics, according to the book, Recession Storming, by Rupert M. Hart ...

1) Adapt and adopt from other industries
Opportunities to borrow profitable ideas from non-competitive business are all around you. Hart offers these examples:
  • How could you become the McDonald's of your industry, by offering a simple, limited menu of unparalleled consistency?
  • How could you emulate H&R Block, by providing seasonal, personalized service at a reasonable price?
To which I would add, how could you become the Apple or Zappos of your industry, by emulating the best features of their branding, product design, or customer service?

2) Survey and analyze your clients' needs
Hart suggest you divide your clients "into clusters who are like-minded or have similar needs. By looking at new ways of segmenting your markets, say by needs rather than industries, you can find new product opportunities.

For example, you might find that a painting contractor, an insurance firm and a small manufacturer all have a need for a certain back office job. You might then re-segment your market by that need" and introduce a new product or service to fill it.

3) Fix a bottleneck

Many things your clients do are slowed down by certain activities -- bottlenecks. Like forms processing, time to implement, production steps, etc.

Example, according to Hart: "In the 1800s, the critical bottleneck in making cotton garments was getting the cotton seeds out of the cotton fibers. Eli Whitney's cotton gin ("gin" = engine) used spinning hooks to remove the seeds much faster," resulting in a 50-fold production increase.

Find one or more parts of a process that you can speed up for clients and, presto! You have a new product or service.

Bottom Line: You can spend your hours and money convincing total strangers to favor you with their business, as most of your competitors do. And how's that working out?

Or you can introduce new products and services to your existing clients, and enjoy the dependable new revenue that comes from the people who know and trust you.

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