Five Questions to Answer Before Productizing Your Professional Service

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.

There comes a time in every professional services firm when the need for non time-based income is compelling. It may be a result of:

  • Not having sufficiently skilled staff to personally deliver what every client was promised.
  • Desiring a standardized version of the service to serve less affluent or smaller clients.
  • Recognizing what your firm traditionally has customized can be standardized.
  • Facing competition from new, lower cost and possibly internet-based competitors.
  • Sheer exhaustion or burnout of the firm’s staff.
Many professional firms fail to recognize that selling products is an entirely different task from delivering services. A myriad of operational, financial and practical issues arise once the decision is made, but even before this, a firm needs to confront itself and understand the implications of “productizing” its best and highest use. Five key questions include:

  • When is the time to start standardizing?
  • What will it take?
  • What are the new key success factors needed for success?
  • What is a reasonable investment in time, effort and money?
  • When are outside resources required?

In other words, a services firm should recognize that selling a product is more than just packaging its expertise. It usually means creating a new product, often sold to a market beyond the firm’s core. Classical marketing wisdom states: taking a new product to a new market is as much as eight times as risky as taking an existing product to an existing market. Given the risk, perhaps first streamlining the delivery and production of your firm’s service is better. Delivering a customized service, produced through a standardized process, can be more effective for all.

Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080, by email at, or on the web at

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