How to Grow a Service-Based BusinessDec 18, 2023
Being a service-based business owner means you’re selling your skills and expertise in a particular field of interest. Most of my heart-centred, service-based clients fall into this category, which is what sparked me to write this post on how to grow a service-based business.
Once past the “start-up” phase in business, small business owners then face, the momentous hurdle known as the “growth phase”. This phase is drastically different to the start-up phase as there are now clients and money coming into the business. The business is running, learning from its mistakes and profits are starting to improve. Demands on the business owner are getting greater and the thought pops up, “How do I take this business even further?”.
When this happens, it’s important for you to start to see your role as the leader in the business. While you’ll still wear many hats, and even take out the bin, it’s your responsibility to have a vision for the business; to set goals and put a clear plan in place to make sure you get the ship moving forward.
So, in preparation for the growth you are going to explore, here are some tips to make your life along this amazing (and sometimes petrifying) road we call “business” a bit clearer:
1) YOUR NUMBER ONE GOAL IS TO ADD VALUE:
I know, I know! This seems so obvious! But through all the hustle and bustle in business, we can lose sight of this at some points. Print it off, save it as your screensaver, set it as a daily reminder or do whatever you need to do to not forget this fact. Your role as a service-based business owner is to add as much value into the lives of your clients as you possibly can.
Your clients are your gift. Treat them with careful thought and attention. Be aware of their worries and concerns, and find ways in which you can add even more value in your service to them. Remember to make them feel special and cared for and they will be coming back time and time again.
2) KNOW YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE:
As much as I say to add value to your service and care for your clients, you also must know who your clients are in order to do so. This is such an important step, as you shouldn’t be trying to add value and care to a client who doesn’t fall into this category, and may not appreciate what you are trying to do.
Understand who you are serving and what their needs are. As I like to say, “Not everyone is suited to working with everyone, and that’s ok!”.
This is why I offer free initial consultations for all new prospective clients. Above all, I see these meetings as an opportunity for me (and them) to meet, chat, learn and get to know each over to make sure we’ll work well together. It’s an opportunity to learn their characteristics and whether our working styles match. If I feel like they will, “Welcome, come aboard!”. If not, no harm done, and I’m more than happy to refer them onto someone else who may be better suited.
Knowing your ideal client is an important step in making sure you know how to add value to your specific clients’ experience with you. Don’t be afraid to turn clients away if they don’t fit this profile. This only tells the universe that they were not right for you and you are sticking by your values. This will allow you to attract more clients that are right for you and your business, and to build the business aligned to the values you stand for.
3) EMAIL AUTOMATION:
When starting out, so many people are afraid to brand their business appropriately. We feel like this may turn some people away and others might not like it. But guess what!? YOUR clients will like it. YOUR ideal clients will be the ones that will fall in love with you, your branding, your values, your service. These are the people that you want to attract, and attract more of. So why be scared to do this? The more personality and unique branding you can add to your business, the more your ideal clients will see it, fall in love with it and will want to work with you. Don’t try to attract everyone because this will attract no one. Try to attract “your people” because by doing this, you will attract the people that will fall in love with what you have to offer.
4) DON'T DE-VALUE WHAT YOU OFFER:
If you are adding as much value to your clients’ experience with you as you can, then know your worth and stick with it. You, your experience, your qualifications, your knowledge and your history are all worth money. Not only this, you deserve money. If you’re discounting your fees or compromising your service to win a new client, remember to take a step back and really ask yourself these questions:
a) Are they your ideal client?
b) Are they aligned to your values?
c) Will you get your worth from this deal?
If not, walk away.
5) ACCEPT PAYMENTS IN ADVANCE:
One of the biggest things I’m so glad I stuck to my guns about from the start is taking payments from all clients in advance. This may not be possible for all service-based business owners, but if you can implement this in your business, it’s a game changer!
You really get to know who wants to work with you, and who might be just along for a bit of a ride… if you know what I mean.
Following up invoices is one of the biggest time wasters in business I can think of, and by implementing this tactic, you’re basically eliminating this from your life. I know, right!
Also, money can be a bit of a sensitive topic for some people. I know I’ve been caught in the “I’ll just do this little bit for free, they’re nice people…” or “I’ll just give them a little discount, why not, I like working for them” spiral.
It’s hard to follow up on payments when you’re a kind-hearted person. On one hand you know you deserve the money, and on the other you think that they might not have received the email, or they might not have the money right now, or they might just be about to pay it and by you following up again, you’re just sending another annoying email. I get it, trust me, taking payments in advance will change your life.
6) KEEP MARKETING & BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS EVEN WHEN BUSY
It can seem like a bit of a waste of time when you’re run off your feet, busy as a bee with clients to keep on marketing. But this is crucial and the most important time to be doing this. Keeping on top of social media, blog posts, sales funnels, website updates and backlinks when times are busy prevents (or minimises) the slower periods from being too slow. All businesses go through periods throughout the year that are just not bringing in the cashflow we would like. Continuing to market and build relationships throughout the year allows for the opportunity to have a continual flow of clients. You will be so glad you continued this when the slow times do hit.
7) KNOW WHERE LEADS COME FROM:
Do you keep stats of your leads and where they come from? Have word of mouth referrals been working for you or have people been finding you from the backlink you put on that website directory a couple of months ago?
In order to grow your business, you need to know these stats. The only way to know these stats is to ask your clients. If there is a backlink out there sending 5 leads a week your way, you need to know about it to take advantage of it. If there is a client out there referring you to everyone she knows, you need to know about it to not only thank her, but to potentially ask her for a video testimonial.
Knowing your statistics allows you to understand more of the picture and think of ways in which you can use it to grow your business further.
8) IMPLEMENT YOUR AUTOMATED SALES FUNNEL:
Ok, you’ve heard of an automated sales funnel, right? Sales funnels are your key to unlocking your automatic lead generation potential. This integrates into everything I have mentioned above and starts building your clients “know, like and trust” factor with you well before you even meet them. This, in turn, saves you money and potentially even makes you a bit of passive income along the way.
So, there you have it, my 8 steps on how to grow a service-based business. The key to remember is consistency. Making sure you put processes like these in place, then following them up and nurturing them as your business grows. If you need any help with this along the way, remember we are always here to help you grow your business.