Home Business How to Best Start and Grow Your Service-Based Business

How to Best Start and Grow Your Service-Based Business

by Olufisayo
Service-Based Business

Here are three vital tips for starting and growing your small service-based business.

1.  Assess What You Can Offer and Address “Needs” Rather Than “Wants”

Sure, everyone knows you want to identify and focus on promoting your “core” offering if you are starting a service-based business. But what good is knowing what your core offering is, and getting the word out there about it, if you are merely addressing customers’ “wants” rather than “needs”?

People are more willing to pay, and pay more, for what they perceive they need rather than what they merely want. For example, locally, a busy excavation and cement company had the equipment, experience, and ability to install commercial and residential patios and the like, but decided to focus solely on installing and repairing in-ground septic systems. Why? It was purely a business call based on a needs vs wants analysis.

In this case the owner discovered that when push comes to shove, any business or individual with a faulty septic system will spend their available funds on remediating that rather than on beautifying the property with a new patio. When they cut the patio aspect out of their business, they actually were able to take on more septic business because they weren’t wasting time writing proposals for patio projects that potential customers wanted but didn’t need, then decided later they didn’t want at all.

In another example, Philadelphia appeals attorney Todd Mosser told us that when he created his law firm, he knew he was going to be practicing law but had to determine what specific area of practice made sense for him considering his personality and experience, and what area of practice made good business sense in that it offers a service people need rather than just want.

Criminal defense is clearly a “need” for those in that sort of trouble who need representation, but since he had appellate experience, he determined that not only would criminal appeals work best for him, but clients who need representation after having been convicted of a crime had an even stronger “need” than prior to conviction.

Identifying your niche and establishing your expertise and authority in that niche is essential. And when that niche service meets or solves customers’ needs rather than their wants, you will capture more, and better, business.

2.  Ensure Your Service Has an Effective Online Presence

A website is so much more than an online business card.  An effective website will not only put you in front of viewers who are looking for the service or services you offer, but will help convert viewers into customers by launching them on their buyer’s journey toward retaining you.

As a small business owner, you are probably looking to save money where you can and it is probably very tempting to sign up with one of the free website services online, and just make your own website from one of their easy-to-use templates.  Fine.  But what will that site do for you? Do you know?

Launching Potential Clients on Their Buyer’s Journey

An effective website will tell viewers immediately who you are, what you do, that you do what you do well, and that what you do solves their problem. That means using basic marketing principles to convey all of that to the viewer in the first moments of viewing your website. Everything “above the fold” (i.e., seen without scrolling down) matters. There must be a logo, a compelling and relevant image in the “hero section,” a call-to-action, and a way to get in touch.

According to Frank Olivo at Philadelphia web development firm Sagapixel, most websites fail miserably at this, causing searchers to make decisions on what firm to hire based on marketing principles rather than a firm’s reputation or authority. You’ve worked hard to create a high-quality service and establish your brand… make sure your website conveys that information to the viewer as soon as the viewer lands on your homepage.

Search Engine Optimization

Ok, your site immediately tells the viewer that he or she is in the right place – they have found what they “googled” or searched-for.  But how does Google know that your site addressed the searcher’s intent?

Google is told what a site is about, and decides whether to offer your site in the search results of a searcher, according to the Google bot’s rank of your site for that search term or topic. Rank, in turn,can be affected by search engine optimization (SEO). This is researching what keywords searchers who need your firm’s services use in their searches, and optimizing your firm’s site to appear when those keywords are searched for.

You could offer the most outstanding service on the planet, and have the most beautiful and effective website, but if no one finds you in their searches no one will know about you.  SEO is an essential part of online marketing.

3.  Be Sure to Capture Client Reviews

Online reviews, whether on your site, Google, or elsewhere, establish your authority and trustworthiness to potential clients. From restaurants to dentists, people are googling and making decisions based on peer review.

After you’ve completed a job for a customer, there should be some way to ask them how their experience was working with you. Then there should be some way to assess their response and if the response was positive, email them with a link or an embedded form (something easy to use) that they can use to leave you a positive review.

If this seems time-intensive to you, you are right – it is. And you need to spend your time making sure each customer is satisfied with your work, not chasing up reviews.  Luckily there are software and services you can use to not only collect reviews, but monitor your online reputation. Shop around – there will be some service you like that you can afford, that will capture all of the goodwill of your satisfied clients and turn that into positive online reviews, that then turn into more clients!

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