Extending Your Product Range
Written by Ankur Hazarika for Gaebler Ventures
There is the perennial temptation to extend the product range to cover everything in the spectrum. Unless you have sufficient resources at your disposal, increasing your service offerings could brush the customers the wrong way.
Often after the initial phase of establishing a business, a start-up will rapidly expand its product offerings.
While the customer always enjoys options, he expects the same quality as the parent brand. Taking on too much responsibility at the beginning may result in diluted service and overall suffering of the original brand.
Introducing diverse products to your business, however, is always good for a company. The only disclaimer is this: you should have ample resources.
Mere business momentum will likely not drive you very far. Brands become successful because they have successful product improvement, customer services and process optimization.
Establishing a related product requires nearly the same, if not more, effort. If the company is unable to devote such vital man-hours to this initiative, the product will most likely suffer, thus disillusioning your customers.
Inspired by bigger companies that have the depth and width in their offerings, start-ups often move too fast, too soon. Not everyone is Yahoo. The company should always establish a specific checklist of available resources before committing itself to a new product. Here are typical things to consider:
- Is the existing product(s) well-established? A customer could easily transfer the attributes of a shaky product to the new product.
- Segregate the resource requirements into two parts: resources common with the existing product, and resources unique to the new offering.
- Common resources include specific services, marketing, tools and equipment, and licenses. Ask yourself: is something missing from the existing resources? Can existing resources be optimized? Don't let the existing product starve; proceed only when you have hired/ bought new resources.
- Typical required new resources include trouble-shooting services, maintenance, and business development. Make sure you have immediate access to these, or have outsourcing arrangements.
Ankur Hazarika is currently studying at the School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology (SJMSOM, IIT B), in Mumbai, India. He has been closely associated with a host of entrepreneurship networks like NEN, TiE and BarCamp, and has worked with the Indian business incubator, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE).
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