Now we’ve identified our products and services, and know what their features and benefits are, let’s think through how we will roll them out to our customers. If you have limited products and/or services, this may not be an issue for you as you will most probably be rolling out all your offerings at the launch of your business. If, however, you are launching a new product or service, or have multiple offerings that you wish to launch more slowly, then planning a staged roll-out may be a better option.

So why do I need to think about this now, in our Business Plan?

In the next section of the Business Plan, Planning for Success, we will be creating a number of plans based on the information we gather in the section we are working through now, The Business Idea. Understanding the best approach for our product/service roll-out will help with those later plans – especially our Marketing and Financial Plans.

Considerations for a staged or stepped roll-out

A staged or stepped roll-out allows the business to have more control over the implementation of their products and services. Here are some considerations:

          • Staff availability ie enough staff to take inquiries, make bookings and resolve issues
          • Allowing time to specifically market a new offering so that it is launched “with a bang”
          • Availability of equipment to produce or support the offering ie the purchase of a vehicle or machinery
          • Receiving or providing staff training to support the offering (launching a new service but not having staff trained up to support it in time will likely lead to customer and staff frustration).
          • Preventing rushed management decisions and pressured deadlines
          • Seasonal fluctuations
        Balancing the sensible launch date for a business or new service/product against the need to get cash rolling in as soon as possible is always a challenge, but thinking about it now will save headaches later on.
        For the Business Plan, a simple sentence here is sufficient or else, if the roll-out is particularly complicated, a time-line may be more appropriate. If you’re more of a detail person, you may choose to create a more complex project plan, of which the roll-out is grouped into specific activities. If you do decide to create a more detailed plan, there is still no need to add it into your Business Plan. In this document we are looking for key dates only.

        Here’s what our Case Studies decided on:

        Geoff Walker’s decision was an easy one. He’d already been providing these services in a hobby capacity, had all his equipment and materials, and already had the word out in his network that he was providing services. He says, “Both mechanical and bodywork services will be offered at launch date xxxx”.     Jennifer Rain has always had in mind that she wanted to launch her organic food delivery service after the purchase of the exisiting health food store business. Previously she’s specified this date as just Spring 2015. Now she puts a date to it so that she has more of a precise target to help with her planning. She also now realises she wants to ramp up her holistic practitioner space marketing to get it better used so wants to add a sentence about that too: “Anticipated business ownership will commence November 2014. The organic food delivery service will be launched April 1st, 2015 and I will be relaunching the practitioner rental space in January 2015.”   Mike decides a timeline would better suit his needs as he knows he will need time to staff up and buy equipment. He produces a quick breakdown of his key target dates:
                • 1st March 2015 – Business Launch
                • 1st March 2015 – M-F Nightly Clean Launch
                • 14th March 2015 – Weekly Clean Launch
                • 1st April 2015 – Special Services Launch (not carpet cleaning)
                • 14th April 2015 – Carpet Cleaning (machines arrive)
                Cindi and Wayne can only launch their new service once they have secured the funds to purchase their ready-mix truck. They are aiming for xxxxxx and write: “Service launch date for the Sherwood Park area will depend on when purchase of truck can be completed. Currently, a period between beginning of March and end of April is targeted in order to provide service during the busy summer months. However, marketing to the Sherwood Park area will begin in January of 2016.”  


              Time for you to create a sentence or two that encapsulates your service launch plan. Remember to review the Considerations for a Stepped Roll-Out above to help you decide.  

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