It can be hard to grow a service business. Customers are buying your expertise, and if all you have to sell is your time, the size of your business will always be limited by the number of hours in your day.
There are several ways you can scale your service business. One way is to ‘productize’ your service offerings. You offer a relatively short menu of standardized service offerings, the sales and provision of which can done by your staff. This way your business can become less dependent on you, the business owner.
Consider launching a training division to teach others what you know. There are two ways you can do this, you can train internal staff or you can train external service providers to which you license or sell certain methodology.
Nancy Duarte chose both training options, but not at the same time. She found herself run ragged trying to grow Duarte, a Mountain View, California-based design studio.
Duarte’s specialty was creating high-impact corporate presentations, but the work was hard to grow. She found herself handling various tasks and hoping nothing would fall through the cracks. She realized she was tired and no longer enjoying her job. She still loved her work but disliked the constant demands on her time.
In order to remove herself from individual projects, she sat down and documented her processes and from there created an internal training course so her employees could learn her way of creating presentations.
Once she had taught her own staff to master the creation of the presentations, she turned her approach into a 2008 book under the title Slide:ology – The art and science of creating great presentations. Having created a platform with the books, she launched her training division, which offers corporate on-site workshop. Her facilitators go to companies to instruct their employees how to make better presentations. In large part to this training division, Duarte has grown her service business to the point where she now employs 82 people.
As business owners, we all know we should be documenting our policies, processes and procedures for others to follow, but somehow writing our owner’s manual always takes a backseat to serving the next customer. Perhaps we need to think of writing down our processes as material for generating new lines of business and not as an internal chore.