Professional services are organic - they have lifecycles and stages that are distinctly their own. Marketing your offerings to the maximum effect should include efforts to extend the lifecycle of your offerings. Infuse your services with innovation to keep them living - and giving - longer.The typical accounting offering starts out in an embryonic stage, in which your objective is simply to attract an early adopter. Properly managed, the offering matures to what I call the "diamond-in-the-rough" stage. It's the realization that there's plenty of unrealized potential ... and plenty you need to do to uncover it. At this point, if you do it right, you're beginning to pick up traction.

Eventually, you can reach "dominance," the stage at which the offering is driving relatively large amounts of revenue for your firm. Now you've got the hang of it. Once you're really humming, delivering efficiently and reliably, you've got a "cash cow."

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