We used to call it “value added services.” Today, we call it “adding a new service line.” Whatever you call it, the expansion of your offerings is important. As you tease out the last bits of efficiency and productivity from your operations, the primary way to continue to grow your business and increase profitability is to add new services. The question is, “Which ones?” And “How do you know if they are a good fit?”

I just finished writing a white paper on this topic for Canon (watch for the upcoming webinar), and one aspect of adding a new service line has really stuck with me. That’s the importance of understanding how adding a new service could impact the other areas of your business, both positively and negatively.

When we think about adding new services, we think about the positive. “We’ll get lots of new business and draw in new customers.” What’s not to like? What’s been interesting is hearing the stories about how this change can create unexpected challenges, too.

Adding high-speed inkjet, for example, may require you to upgrade your IT infrastructure. You may have budgeted for the press, but what about any unexpected IT infrastructure to support it? How would that impact the budget? Timeline for installation? Staffing? If your IT folks are caught up with the unexpected IT upgrade, how might that impact their ability to keep up with their existing workload?

Adding a new service is like tipping the first domino in a domino line. Knock the first one down and it starts tipping over all of the other dominos down the line.

It may also take you into new business and sales models. You may add high-speed inkjet to service your commercial accounts, but these presses are capable of pumping massive volumes. Have you thought about the impact if you need to move into transactional jobs to keep those presses busy?

Even something as simple as promotional products can exact significant change. One printer found that, while the addition of these products enabled it to capture new accounts, selling high volumes of smaller, less expensive items required it to adopt account-based marketing (ABM). This is a whole different sales model that may be new to many printers.

The ripple effects of a new service can touch every aspect of your business, from workflow to IT to staffing to sales. So before adding anything new, how extensively have you thought it through? How could it impact each area of your business, whether directly or indirectly? Are there any ripple effects that could tip the cost-benefit balance in a direction you hadn’t anticipated? It’s an interesting “what if” exercise.

What are some of the surprises you ran into when adding a new service line?