Convert you to being more of you Featured

5:56am EDT May 30, 2003
I've often discussed the importance of focusing on your best and highest use. But it's just as important to create more of you -- that which makes you special in the market -- in your business and turn it into new products.

And not just any new products, but those that help your customers and better fulfill their needs, while accelerating the growth of your business and creating more opportunities for your target market to do business with you.

Whether you are a products or services firm, consider adding a few new products, especially if four or more of these seven points apply:

* You're looking at sheer exhaustion or burnout from making and selling what you do in the way you always have, while leaving no time or room for growth.

* Parts of your sales efforts are becoming less consultative.

* You' haven't created a standardized version of your product/service for less affluent, smaller or distant customers.

* Standardizing what you make and sell will increase overall gross margins.

* You recognize that some of what you have traditionally customized needs to become standardized.

* You face growing competition from new, lower cost and possibly Internet-enabled competitors.

* Your business is contracting, and it appears that overhead is to blame.

Many business leaders miss the point that launching new products is a world away from delivering existing ones. The classic financial operational issues arise once an idea is set in motion. But even before this, your business needs to understand the implications of adding products and "productizing" its best and highest use. There are six key questions.

* How will I adapt what I have to start standardizing and also create new products?

* What will it take and how can I be objective in determining what products to introduce?

* Will these products bring me new customers and/or new business?

* What are the key factors these products need to succeed?

* What outside resources may be required and how will they be used?

* How can I create a new product system with optimum return?

Sometimes you need a guide to help you covert what you do best into new products or services. Don't be afraid to ask an expert for help. Andrew J. Birol is president of Birol Growth Consulting and co-founder of Independent Entrepreneur. He helps owners grow their businesses by understanding and targeting their best and highest use. Reach him at (440) 349-1970, at abirol@andybirol.com or or on the Web at www.andybirol.com.