A consulting or coaching type service business is a great opportunity for people who have skills or expertise that provide something of value to people, but these days to succeed with a service business you need to go beyond what everyone else is doing.
Only about 3% are ever going to start their own business; the other 97% think the 3% are all mad!
Although professional services is one of the fastest growing industries across the world and there’s a really big shift happening in the digital space, you may be stuck in traditional delivery mode that is not serving you. So I put together these five key tactics to help you achieve the success you deserve to increase your influence, income and impact.
Tactic #1 – Super focus your brand
Working to succeed with a service business provides the challenge high performers need, the drive we thrive on and the lifestyle freedom we desire – that’s the promise. Yet so often we end up with a “me too” type offer and struggle to sign up clients. For instance, if you’re a business consultant, a life coach, an accountant or a qualified therapist, how would a potential client find you and why would they choose you over any other consultant or coach?
If you want to work from home and don’t do “biz opps” (or have become jaded with the whole online business industry and I hear you on that!), you can easily set up as a consultant or coach. But getting clear on your professional brand identity is the real challenge. Go too wide and you attract the wrong audience, go too narrow and your market is too small.
If you want to succeed in a service business, you need to go beyond what everyone else is doing. You need to make a decision to become uniquely valuable and slightly famous and build that into your personal and professional branding.
Tactic #2 – Leverage your time with automation
Finding clients is a constant part of the business and usually the part many professionals find the hardest and least enjoyable because they feel like they’re selling. As a consultant-coach, I always found I needed to spend 3 days marketing and promoting and 3 days delivering – and yes, that’s a 6 day week!
Creating a marketing system and automating the process is the only way to go. It’s much less time-consuming and more cost-effective to attract clients with a free downloadable resource, follow up with them via an email campaign, make an offer to a paid product, programme or service.
People are inundated with marketing messages every day, so you must have tactic #1 pinned down for this to gain momentum fast. The best approach is to be value-driven and put out education-rich content through face-to-face and/or online channels. You can choose media that you find the most enjoyable to create: articles, videos, podcast audios, white papers, tweets etc. whatever suits you and your target audience best.
If you structure the process as a funnel that your prospects move through as they engage with you, at certain points, you can build in some interaction by inviting your audience to a webinar or FB group.
Tactic #3 – Build an expert system
Building a business based around your own expertise is exciting and daunting – it’s uniquely yours, but you’re a team of one (or at best in a small partnership). So why not build your own products and programmes around your expert process of how you help people, then you can move your one-to-one services to a premium offer.
One step further along again from tactic #2 is to create a distinctive expert system that is your unique process for how you help clients. This may currently be something you do intuitively or in a semi-structured way. But this can mean tailoring your service every time you work with a new client. Think about what underpins your approach. Usually how you go about things is as much about your beliefs, style, personality as it is your knowledge and skills.
Get creative – set out a step-by-step methodology and give it a fitting name that aligns with your overall brand.
If you want to succeed with a service business – it’s simple – start, show up, commit, work hard, get help.
I’m fired up about these three tactics, because this is exactly what’s built into my iSuccess programme, which is designed to help consultants, coaches, therapists, teachers and other expert professionals to succeed with a service business by building it in a structured and audience-focused way. This is big – I’m excited. I’ve in fact been using this business development model with my own clients for years already, so it’s tried and tested to improve your chances to succeed with a service business.
So often I meet people who are fed up with their life, because they hate their job, hate their boss, hate the commute (add your own) or those already in business they hate the constant treadmill they feel on, hate their income level – well, add your own and then ask yourself a serious question: What will it take for me to change it?
And the answer is that it takes a single decision. To do something differently. Become more of an entrepreneur! To succeed with a service business, in the beginnning, it will take focus and energy, probably all you’ve got, not 50% not 90%. You don’t have incredible success with anything by not giving it 100%. As all great mentors of mine have reminded me on occasion, you’re either playing full on or you’re making excuses.
Click here to find out more about how to succeed with a service business as part of the iSuccess Business Academy.