Running a service business is by no means easy. The cut-throat competition and keeping pace with the ever changing technology are challenging enough, without plotting strategies to take the business to new levels. Here are six growth hacks for running a service business.
1. Institutions, not Individuals are Supreme
The importance of human talent can never be understated in today’s age where creativity is a key source of competitive advantage. However, at the same time, people are cyclical, and keep on moving, as opportunities come knocking. A truly successful enterprise lives up to the adage, “no one is indispensable,” and builds systems and processes that enable the enterprise to deliver excellence regardless of who is “behind the wheel.” Successful enterprises manage to entrench its culture and core values among the workforce, rather than fall into personality-centric trappings.
2. The Pyramid is not Sacrosanct
The classic service business operates on a pyramid model, with several junior people, lesser mid-level, and few senior people, epitomized as the minders, grinders, and finders respectively, in the mix. While this is a time-tested model, nothing is set in stone, and successful enterprises have no option but to evolve and change according to the dictates of the marketplace in which they operate. Today’s highly fluid businesses environment may necessitate a loose matrix ecosystem of specialists connected to a client strategist lead.
Also, highly successful CEOs lead from the front. They take an active role in pitching to new prospects, meeting new clients, open the door, and do everything. The benefits of such a hands-on approach are manifold, ranging from a first-hand understanding of what really sucks and requirements improvement to getting blunt, direct feedback from customers, and everything in between.
3. Manage the Growth
Successful businesses are never satisfied with the status-quo or the current levels of enquiries and sales opportunities. They adopt a culture of continuous improvement, constantly seeking to grow their business and instill a culture of performance. The best kind of growth is organic, as it does not involve culture clashes or earn-outs.
The talk of growth notwithstanding, all enterprises run into a crisis from time to time. Success depends on how well they manage the crisis. Smart enterprises embrace experimentation and innovation to drive growth, but at the same time, are prepared and ready to accept failure if the initiative does not click. For instance, when adopting change, the best option is to start small, with the change affecting only a small subset of selected customers, rather than risk untested change on everyone.
4. Master the Four Stages of the Customer
The four broad stages of a service business model are the acquisition of the customer, activation of the account, retention, and revenue collection. Often there is a fifth stage of referral, which makes the process cyclical, with one acquisition ultimately resulting in another one, repeating the cycle.
The obvious aim of the enterprise is to progress the maximum number of “users” from one stage to the next. The ways to do so are many, including analytics to find out which initiative clicks, and several change initiatives designed to try and “beat the control.”
Each customer is unique and has different needs. New customers especially have expectations that need to be met before they feel comfortable.
5. Get Innovative with Marketing and Promotions
Regardless of how unique or good the service offering, there is no shortcut to marketing and promotion. Identify the most effective strategies by gauging the sentiments of the target audience, deploy A/B tests to gauge the performance of ads, monitor click through rates and conversions of online ads, and more. However, conventional “push” marketing is no longer enough, no matter how efficient the delivery. In today’s age of cut-throat competition, businesses need to look into “pull” tactics, such as nurturing influencers who command massive influence over a target audience, and whose insight and experience potential customers trust.
6. Client Management Rises in Importance
The true power and worth of an enterprise is no longer the number of its workforce or the extent of its geographical footprint, but the size of the clients, and how long the largest clients have been running. Client management is now just as essential as geography management. Successful business tries to reduce churn by delighting customers, understanding very well it existing customers is worth up to 10 times more than their first purchase.
While specific strategies can and should vary depending on the circumstances, there is no workaround to orienting internal systems and processes to the customer. A good example in musical artists tending to release tracks toward the beginning of the week, when they are most likely to capture people’s attention. Fine tune all initiatives depending on the behavioral preference of target customers. Research, with help from big data analytics, is the tool for success.
In today’s age of the pampered customer, there is no alternative to putting the customer first in whatever the enterprise does. This is easier said than done and requires fine-tuned systems geared to catering to customer needs. Reach Out Suite is the perfect solution to develop seamless, customized, and tightly integrated systems and procedures, such as workflows, audits, and inspections. Sign up now, your first 3 users are free!
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