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Normally, services firms face hardship in their business growth issues. Because people do not believe services are valuable. And hence they are hesitant to pay for them. Again, it is invisible and cannot be felt like a product does. This calls for careful consideration and attention to business growth issues of a services business.
How to first define the value of your service?
Defining the value of your service is the key in business growth issues. Make the prospects understand how best your services can enable them to do business effectively and efficiently. This is the first business growth issue to tackle.
Your business is to assist them in solving their problems as a service provider. That means you use your expertise and workforce and spend your time, energy, and efforts to meet client needs. A placement services provider, for example, searches for suitable personnel for a client to hire for his business functions. As a result, the value of your company is based on your people and their knowledge of how to meet client needs. Not only that, the additional value of a placement services provider is that he saves time and effort for his client in searching for suitable candidates. Further value is that it allows the client to focus on his core business activities. These services are not visible, but their net result benefits the client.
Other service firms also provide similar values for providing their services to their client firms. These are mostly business-to-business services. Of course, there are exceptions like courier services, chartered accountant firms, law firms, etc., which provide services to both businesses to business and business to consumers and vice versa.
You, as the boss, are the anchor salesperson for your services business
Nobody knows better than you how to run your services business. The major chunk of the growing business depends on your approaches, practices you follow, and the relationships you build with your customers.
If you do not take a lead role in prospecting customers, chances are that your services business can slowly fade away. Because you cannot hundred percent depend on your employees. They may be with you today and tomorrow they are gone elsewhere, where there are greener pastures for them. No staff stays with you permanently in your business. That is why need to have your hundred percent involvement in your business development.
You can maintain the current status of your business by monitoring and motivating your team. But if you want to grow your business, you need to build more new prospects while maintaining existing clients.
You know how to position your company better than anyone else in the company.
As an owner or business partner, the onus is on you to develop your business. You have alone got a natural authority and decision-making power. Your approach is more important. First, decide how much business you want and can handle.
You can delegate sometimes business development functions to your executives. What they can do is generate leads, and qualify such leads, but it is you as an anchor of your business to close those deals. Then, as an owner or business partner, you need to maintain one-to-one relations with your clients. If you delegate this function also, chances are that the client will go away with your delegated staff wherever he goes.
Learn how and where to draw the line
You need not do everything yourself, of course. You need to understand where and when to draw the line. Let us understand this with an example.
Let us continue with our earlier example of placement services. After starting this services business, you have taken initial staff and a manager or two to perform some business functions.
Now is the time to start the business. First, you gave all the necessary facilities to your staff for performing their duties. You need to track daily your various business activities, including lead generation. Your manager may bring some leads. He has spoken to a few companies and found from them their requirements for human resources. After taking all the details, he visits the companies to interact with respective HR in charge/ CEO/owner of that company that matters for giving the business.
This is the stage where your entry into the picture is important. Apart from your manager, make it a point to meet all those whom your manager met that gave work or are willing to give work for your execution. Here, your approach is more important to the client rather than your manager’s approach. From this point onwards, you have to develop one-to-one relationships with decision makers of your client company to successfully execute the work given by them.
Placement service is a fiercely competitive field. Other placement service providers may have also approached this client. So you have to ensure that you get that contract, not your competitor. You can delegate the spadework to be done by your manager to lead to the closure of that deal. But you have to close the deal by convincing the decision makers of the client company.
One contract may not be enough to run your business. You have to ensure that you get most placement services contracts from this client in the future as well. So maintaining one-to-one relationships is your main business development task. After getting the contract, your staff searches for suitable candidates and places them with the client for his interviews and appointments. You have to closely check the entire process till the client recruits the candidate. This procedure repeats every time.
Similarly, you have to grow your placement services business by getting more clients. Here, strategies, procedures, contacts, or relations matter.
Instead of reacting, be assertive.
Any services business has to go through the business cycle mentioned in the above example. The only change is the context and nature of the services business you undertook. It may be any business; you have a threat to your revenue stream, customer complaints, lack of an efficient workforce, employee resignations, competition, etc.
You react to such situations. It is natural. Yet, your role within your services firm needs to shift from reactive to assertive or proactive. You create your destiny when you begin to be proactive. Business development is all about being proactive about your future business.
Keep business development a regular part of your daily routine.
Keep business development a regular part of your daily routine. Do not shift priority for your developmental activities because you are too busy. Keep some time daily for strategies, and wish your clients, and all those who matter for your business. Meet your customers as often as you can, even if at that period your client has no business to offer you. Update yourself with market developments in your services business field. Be consistent in your approaches.
Growing your business is teamwork. Assess your team to find talent that can take challenging assignments. If you have many clients, assign a group of clients to one each in your team, and make them responsible to maintain business with them even if they cannot grow it further. Take feedback on each of your clients from your team, preferably daily, to find if there are any gaps. Give short-term and long-term targets to your team members to help grow your business.
Review and review
It’s always a numbers game. Review your revenues and expenses, and business opportunities, leads every fortnight, initially and thereafter every month. You decide what that initial period could be. Growth is essential for success of your business, and it takes considerable time and effort.