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E33: Leveraging Services To Scale Impact

by Sean Boyce

When should you leverage a service model to scale impact?

What I talk about in this episode:
  • When services make sense
  • How they help you build great products
  • Finding new opportunities to offer services
  • Designing them to complement one another
  • How can you beat the existing solution
If you’d like to learn how to scale impact at your nonprofit by more than double in less than half the time, sign up for my free 5 day email course – https://nxtstep.io/impact/

Episode Transcript

Hey everyone Sean here and today what I want to talk to you about is, when and why the service model makes sense, when you’re intending to offer a solution to your market in order to help you scale impact.

Now, when I say service model, I’m talking about that as opposed to a product model where you’ll find a lot of tech and software. People have a tendency to get very excited about the potential of leveraging technology and software in order to build a product that scales significantly in terms of what it is they’re trying to do. The challenge with that is that unless you have a very proven model, it’s very difficult to get the product model to work. So that’s where a service has a lot of potential advantages and can even help you with the process of designing and building a successful product. So I want to talk about where it makes sense to offer a service. If you find what you think to be an opportunity to offer a solution to your market. A service is a great way to test it. Because if you’re not sure, again, the rigidity of investing in more of a product until these things are well known is too high of a risk, and it can be very expensive rabbit hole in which to get lost. 

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The reason why the service model can be so attractive for this is because it’s flexible. You can make changes to it even on the fly as you’re figuring out how to get that value proposition right. So if you find an opportunity and you want to evaluate whether or not the there’s potential there to create and offer value, and then to drive revenue, that you can reinvest in other ways to help scale impact service models is a great place to start.

Now I mentioned as well, that services can help you with the process of building successful products and what I mean by that is exactly what I just said that services can help you test value propositions on the earlier stage so that you can figure out which components of that can be built to scale in product format. So once you have a service that you know works, say it’s delivered by the members of your team by following SOPs or standard operating procedures that you’ve built while you’ve been testing, how to offer the most value for your clients.  As you figure out which components of that or perhaps the whole standard operating procedure that you built, are consistent and repeatable. Now you can make them scalable by investing in a product. So you’re essentially doing some early stage validation by offering your solution as a service, in which you may ultimately then turn to a product to make it more scalable and to reach more people. So that’s a great way to leverage services to help you build great products.

Now, if you’re trying to figure out where can I take advantage of the service model how do I get started? Start looking for areas of opportunity of pain or challenges or frustration for your clients or other organizations like yours, and also perhaps even at your organization. If you have a problem or challenge internally that can be solved by developing a procedure. There’s a there’s a good to fair chance that other organizations like yours are going to have that challenge as well and need that as a solution. So as you’re doing some discovery, you may find opportunities to offer services that provide value for what your organization has solved. I’ll give you a quick example. So as we were building the enrollment portal for a nonprofit client of mine, which helped them enroll 300% more clients in less than half the time. Part of what we figured out that other organizations needed help with enrollment, and they were very interested in the enrollment portal. They also needed help marketing and advertising their program as in finding people to connect to their enrollment portal. Now this is something that wasn’t built into the scope of the enrollment portal product, but we uncovered it as part of the discovery that we did. As such, we were able to develop a service to then offer that as a solution to the same market because they had that need, or we didn’t build it in the product, because we weren’t sure whether or not you’re going to be able to get the value proposition right in terms of what we may be able to charge, how expensive it was for us to offer it the value that they ultimately get out of that as a service. So that’s a great example of finding an opportunity that you can further explore with a service that at a later date. Once you figure some of these things out can also be built into the product experience.