How to Scale Your Services Business by Creating Products
If you own a services business and are finding it hard to scale, have you considered turning your services into solutions you market as “products?”
If you hear yourself saying it won’t work for your business, try an experiment. Pretend you’re in a debate and take the opposite side. Ask yourself, “How could we create a product?”
The truth is any service can be systematized and converted to a solution.
And any solution can be branded and marketed as a product. Anything that is repetitive and everything that is similar from client to client can become part of your “product.” Start by looking at the processes you use to onboard clients and deliver services, then identify the common elements you repeat for each client.
Your systems and solutions are part of your company’s intellectual property (IP).
The way your business does what it does is valuable, especially if you have been in business for more than five years. Your company’s unique processes are part of your IP – in other words your processes are assets.
Take these processes, systemize them, and package them into products. Then brand the product (give it a name), make sure your staff understand it and implement it the same way each time, and start charging in advance. If you are in PR, for example, you can create a solution called “Brand Clarity,” or something similar. An accounting or bookkeeping business could package their process into something branded as a “Fresh Start” product – you get the picture. Individual elements of your client’s businesses may be different but the process you follow should be the same – it’s your product.
Productized solutions reduce the dependency on any one person because your solution becomes the primary way you deliver value.
Your business becomes less about the creativity (or variability) of individual team members, who may be difficult to replace, and more about how well your solution solves your customers’ problems. A beautiful byproduct of this approach is the value of your company increases when people aren’t the main assets of the business. People are difficult to find, train, and retain, and individual ability varies.
During the process of turning my services business into a product-based company, my thoughts were, “I don’t know how to do this; it’s too hard and might not work.” Underneath that was a tangle of negative beliefs about what my employees and clients would think, “Some of my staff will quit, my clients won’t like it and I’ll lose them.”
All these thoughts of doubt were just the primitive part of my brain trying to keep me safe, by resisting change.
This will likely happen to you, but push through anyway, because it’s worth it!
Productized solutions are not only better for you as the owner (because they scale), they’re also better for your clients because they deliver a consistent quality experience. You’re not recreating the wheel each time, you’re taking years of knowledge and experience from your company and packaging it in a way that provides the most value. This means clients know what to expect. By delivering what you said you would deliver, you create trust and have an edge on the competition.