Friday, December 3, 2010

Create an entrepreneurial spirit at your firm

Innovation is vital to professional organizations 
During these tough times, innovation is key. Take the best of what you do and embed it into new products or processes. If you produce something of quality (product or service), can you also transfer that element of quality to another aspect of your business to increase sales or ease the cyclical nature of a product or service?  
I recently interviewed a retired V. P. of a large snowmobile manufacturer. At one point, the company's assembly line only worked six to seven months out of the year producing snowmobiles. When the new management team added ATVs to the line-up, sales grew and the production became year-round. Sales did so well that the management team took the company public five years later and the V.P. took an early retirement with his stock proceeds.
In my business as a writer and marketing consultant, when print items such as brochures and newsletters are chopped due to budget cutbacks, the same content can be delivered in more cost-effective ways: websites, blogs, presentations or slivered into social media “key messages.” With my expertise at producing large-scale print projects, I'm now offering memory books for loved ones. These mini biographies tell a person’s story from many different viewpoints, complete with photos. 
If you work at a law firm, create a profile of your ideal client and find ways to reach that audience. Doing pro bono work also opens new doors. Since most lawyers have a specialty, penetrate the markets that could use your legal knowledge and advice. Get the word out by sending e-newsletters detailing successful case resolutions to those market segments.
My marketing adventures included working with a podiatrist who also offered orthotics and diabetic shoes, thereby supplementing office visits with products. I also worked with an internist who added nutrition supplements and nutrition counseling to expand the office practice. These are natural extensions of one's expertise. How can you expand and supplement your professional services?