How To Grow A Service Business
Having a skill and providing a service can open a realm of business opportunities and earning potential for anyone trying to grow a service business.
Whether it be the ability to offer photography sessions, personal fitness training, freelance writing, website creation, lawn maintenance or business consulting services, the list of possibilities is endless.
As our lives get busier and the number of daily distractions and responsibilities increase, the time left to do-it-ourselves is diminishing. That’s when you know it’s time to call in an expert. Someone who can provide the service to you and do it better, cheaper and faster than you could ever dream.
If you are lucky enough to have a skill or service that you can offer to others that’s great, BUT you need to know how to grow a service business to make it work.
So, you’ve got the expertise and the vision. Maybe, you already have friends, family or even a small list of clientele that currently utilize your services, but how do you grow your business and transform it into a successful, lifelong career?
The ultimate goal is to have more business than you can handle. It’s a good problem to have and by following these simple steps you can learn how to grow a service business:.
Defining your goals so that you and your customers are crystal clear on the service or services being offered is an important first step. Sometimes new service business owners get a little overly excited and offer too many services and confuse themselves and their customers.
For example, as a freelance writing specialist are you offering copywriting, editing, proofing, blog writing, scripts, newsletters, resumes or web creation.
Identifying key strengths and understanding where you excel will allow you to streamline your service business to operate as efficiently as possible. Once you master the core services, you can always reassess and add on additional services later.
Setting clear, identifiable goals will help you define your mission and achieve success trying to grow your service business.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 2: Identifying Your Target Market
Who are your customers? Determining who your services will reach and who you want your customers to be is vital to growing your service business. Identifying your target market will also help to focus advertising efforts and marketing dollars. If you’re offering math tutoring or SAT and ACT prep, then you need to target local area middle and high school parents and teachers.
If personal fitness coaching is your service business, then targeting local gyms, weight loss management centers and local hospitals should be part of the strategy. You need to know who your customers are and where to find them before you can start to grow your service business.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 3: Create A Website
When you meet a potential customer, the first thing they will inevitably ask you is if you have a website so they can get more information. A more traditional, old-fashioned customer may ask you for a business card. For a small chunk of change, like $25 per box at your local office supply store, you can create a business card.
It’s still a necessity in many cases, but make sure your website information and all other pertinent social media information is on the card. Then make sure your website is up-to-date and tells people what they need to know. Hiring an expert to create the website for you can be an important investment in growing a service business.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 4: Trading Services
It’s good to know your limitations. In the example above, yes, it’s important to have a website to grow your service business. If creating a website is not in your wheelhouse, then it might be a good idea to trade your services with a web expert who is more tech-savvy who can benefit from your services.
This is where communication and networking are valuable resources and you need to talk to everyone you encounter about what you do. Perhaps, you’re a hairstylist in need of a website for your business. If one of your customers is a web expert, offer free hairstyling in trade for website creation.
It’s a win-win where you can help each other and scratch each other’s back so to speak. Create a network of people that can help you achieve success in growing your service business. Ask the question – can I do it by myself or do I need help?
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 5: Create A Loyalty Program
Once you have established customers, you want to keep them and create repeat business. Perhaps that means offering 20% off future virtual assistant services, one hour of free personal training, or no sitting fee for photography services once a certain level of business is reached.
Loyal customers represent a captive target audience and are often the best place to start. According to Forbes, “it can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one.” It’s also important to remember that existing customers know people.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 6: Word Of Mouth Advertising and Referrals
Let your current customers do the work for you. If your customers are happy with your service, they will spread the word. Offer an incentive and the word will spread like wildfire. A bonus to existing customers for every referral will ensure that your existing customers will do the heavy lifting for you.
Happy customers who provide positive feedback is vital. Word of mouth advertising is a free and easy way to help grow a service business.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 7: Know Your Competition
Learning who the competition is and staying ahead of what they are doing is crucial. Years ago, the best way to find a service business was to look in the yellow pages. Thumbing through the huge book of yellow papers may have yielded hundreds of companies and often the only way to distinguish between them was a box around the company name or a full-page ad.
The companies that stood out from everyone else were most likely the companies that received the most phone calls. The advertising mediums may have changed but the concept has stayed the same. Standing out from the competition is key. Today, there is more noise, more clutter and more mediums so standing out from the competition is more difficult than ever before.
Learning how to rise above and offering incentives to win customers away from the competition will help to grow your service business.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 8: Create Alliances and Networks
Networking with other businesses and partners will help you foster and grow your service business. If you’re a nutritionist, work with local gyms to offer your services to their clients. If you’re a photographer, work with local high schools to capture the senior photo market.
It’s easy to become siloed in the day-to-day operations of running your service business but branching out and creating a strong network of affiliate partners will help you grow and expand your service business.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 9: Social Media Is A Must
Your service business needs to have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account at the very least. Many communities have their own neighborhood pages and those are a must as well. If you offer hair styling services from your home, then advertising on your local community page will attract new residents to the area.
Offering specials and discounts will help customers established elsewhere switch to your service business. If you need to demonstrate your services, then you need a YouTube channel to show what you can do.
How To Grow A Service Business Lesson 9: Create Ambassadors
One person can not do it all and you may need some help. If you are a freelance writer and have more projects than you can handle, then hire a trusted professional or friend who can take over some of the work for you and pay them a percentage. Hire an apprentice or intern that can do the same thing.
Perhaps a budding photographer/student who wants to learn and make extra money. You can grow your customer base and still earn money while getting some help in the process … like cloning yourself without giving away business.
Knowing When To Ask For Help
Of course, there is even more you can do once you’ve established yourself and feel comfortable with the service business that you’ve created, like adding on additional services. Only you know how far you can go and growing your service business can be endless if you have the energy, follow the steps and are ready to multiply your success.
Hiring a consultant to review your service business model to make sure you’re doing everything right is another step. It never hurts to get another opinion. As a successful grower of a service business, I know it can be hard to get started. That’s where I can help and give you some tips to make sure you’re on the right track and offer advice in how to grow a service business even further.
My name is Michael Giannulis and one of my missions in life is to help business owners and entrepreneurs scale their business and multiply success. I’d love to learn more about you and your business. Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about how to grow your service business.