Scope Creep

Think about the last time you bought a television, computer, or appliance. Did the sales person try to sell you an extended warranty? Of course they are trained to ask that as that cross sell is highly profitable since the likelihood you will make use of the extended warranty is very small. Many people even forget they have the warranty. So what does this have to do with the title of this article, Scope Creep?

What Business Are You In?

In this case the question “what business are you in” is not talking about the idea that your real product is not what you necessarily think. For example, someone selling clothing may consider their real product making people feel better about the image they project. That is a totally different topic from what I mean here.

Some Good Examples

In the example above (and again forgetting about the real product), clothes are the product being sold. Of course it is easy to justify adding accessories. That of course broadens the scope of the product offering. While that may indeed represent scope creep in that it moves away from the original product, none of us would think that was unusual or a bad thing, but rather as healthy scope creep. Another example involves me. While offering Part-time CFO services for small companies is my focus, my background also makes me able to offer some consulting on the operations side of a business. That makes sense as being a CFO frequently requires an understanding of the operational sides of a business.

Some Bad Examples

On the other hand, if that same clothing store decides to start selling lawn mowers we would all go, “Uh, excuse me, you sell what?” Of course, that is extreme and highly unlikely to happen. A more realistic example would be my own services. As mentioned above, my specialty is Part-time CFO services for small companies. However, I make no pretenses of being someone you should consult with on income taxes. That should be handled by people who make that a large part of their services. If I all of a sudden decided to start offering income tax services that would be an example of bad scope creep even though some people might think it made sense.

Here is the point of all this. Before you decide to add to your services or products, think about a few things:

  1. Does the addition complement current offering?
  2. Does your company have the expertise required?
  3. Are you going to confuse customers as to exactly what you do?

Remember the old saying, “You can’t be all things to all people.”

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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