When creating a service business plan, either start with a business plan template created specifically for a service business to save time and worry, or take great care to adjust the plan to be appropriate for a service rather than a product. These are a few elements of the plan that will require changes.TerminologyCertainly, a plan with focuses on “product”, “product design” and “product development” must have those terms adjusted. Within the marketing section, “place” is often discussed as one of the 4 Ps (product, promotion, price and place). In a service business plan, “place” should refer to both the location where the service will be delivered to customers (whether this is a physical location or a website) and the methods of delivery (such as sales by phone, over the internet, in person, etc).InventoryFor a pure service, there generally is no inventory. The “product” of service is created at the same time as it is consumed. For that reason, operations management terms like “inventory management” do not apply. Mentions in the balance sheet of inventory may need to be removed to show that you are focused on a business service and demonstrate that you are not using a “cookie cutter” financial model (even if you did start out with a model template).Exit StrategyWhen a pure service business is designed around the work of the entrepreneur (for example, a consulting or brokerage business), exit strategy as it normally exists in other plans becomes more challenging. This is because the exit strategy for many small businesses is a strategic sale of the company to a larger business that values its resources. However, if most of the key resources of the business are in the entrepreneur, larger businesses would rather hire the entrepreneur away than buy the business itself. In this case, the entrepreneur may profit to a certain extent, but value does not flow to investors to provide them a return for the capital they put in. Take this into account and either show other assets being developed in the company (i.e. proprietary systems) or consider a different type of exit.
You might not think your service can be sold online but here’s 3 reasons why you might be wrong!We’ve all seen how rapidly e-commerce has taken over but many service-based small business owners and entrepreneurs are still gun shy about taking their business to the next level online.Whether you sell a physical product or provide a service you could benefit from online sales.In this post we’ll look at the barriers presented by e-commerce for service providers and how many perceived obstacles are easily and affordably addressed by planning your approach like a pro (or with one) and using third party tools that make the whole process much easier.Want to use sponsored posts on Instagram to grow your business? Try our post: 3 Beginner Steps to Building Your Business on Instagram Using Sponsored Posts.Here’s 3 common barriers business owners face when contemplating adding e-commerce to their business tools:1. You Don’t Sell a ProductMany businesses sell a service that can’t draw a clear line between the user and the service.Whether it’s consulting, speaking, coaching, or any other industry where you are the product, the perception is that e-commerce isn’t something you should pursue.In reality you do sell something, but you’ll have to be an out-of-the-box thinker if you want to use e-commerce to build your business and your personal brand.Are you a consultant? Consultants tend to adapt to the project and use their experience to guide business owners or other service providers through a lengthy process that evolves as the problems are discovered.Sometimes there are consistent problems that are encountered and that’s where you will see your opportunities.If you see that company after company is hitting the same wall and you have helped previous clients get past it, then that solution can be a product you can sell.Get creative! Many successful apps started because someone like you saw an opportunity no one else was addressing and pounced.This can be said for other service industries as well. It’s not the only approach though; if you’re a coach or a speaker you’ve got potential for e-commerce as well.Speakers and coaches undervalue themselves habitually. Your value is clear to many other businesses who have hired you so understand that your personal brand makes a big impact.Take that knowledge and monetize!Write a book, have shirts and mugs printed, or look at any other way to turn your knowledge into tangible items. These could be promotional items or anything else you think of.You’ll then not only be making money through sales but building your brand at the same time.The big point here is not to limit yourself to your service and to recognize the potential of your knowledge. If you’re having issues with this, we have a great mentoring program that can help you discover the hidden potential for e-commerce your brand offers.2. You Don’t Have the TimeThis is the biggest reason most people don’t get into online sales.The setup, the maintenance, and the eventual product shipping all look like major time commitments.The new reality of e-commerce for small businesses is these things take very little time.The setup can be quick or take a long time and the barrier will actually be you. Being overly picky about design elements or quirky functionality always hold businesses back.Always put the emphasis on your business servicing the user.Really all you need to do is make sure your website can take and process an order and the information and products are presented clearly with as few steps as possible for the user to complete their purchase.Maintenance can vary and often it’s a good idea to start things yourself and then hire a third party or freelancer to handle the maintenance.Sometimes there isn’t much required other than logging in a few times a week, though once you see it all working you’ll likely be inclined to check all the time (in a good way).Shipping is as easy as applying an app to print shipping labels and then having the item picked up for delivery or taking the items to the post office.Look at your potential profit margins and see what selling could mean for your business. You might be surprised at how much revenue you’re missing out on!3. It’s Too ExpensiveThis is a major obstacle for many service-based businesses because they’ve seen how expensive it used to be to get into e-commerce, but it’s not anymore.We looked at the barriers such as making your service viable and how time can factor in. Both indicate loss of revenue for the existing business if you split your time and start up some e-commerce.In reality it’s unbelievably cheap to start selling online.Whether you choose Woocommerce https://woocommerce.com/ for your WordPress website, open a Shopify https://www.shopify.ca/ store, or opt for BigCommerce https://www.bigcommerce.ca/ you won’t have to break the bank to get up and running.With Woocommerce the expense is whatever your professional web developer costs. This system works with WordPress so if you’re already up and running with WordPress then you’re cost will either be your time in trying to set it up yourself or the cost of getting it done professionally.Shopify and Bigcommerce both make it much easier but they’ll also either need to be installed as a subdomain of your existing website or you’ll be setting up a whole new one.These two have near identical pricing starting at $30 per month and this includes your hosting. They take care of everything such as credit card processing and there is no shortage of apps to handle functionality not native to their platforms.Taking this approach will be time consuming though.If you hire a professional developer for any of these systems, make sure they really know the platforms beforehand because they differ greatly right down to the programming languages they’re built with.Of course, there are plenty of other options to consider such as 1ShoppingCart or even Infusionsoft and Magento, which are considered to be higher-end options for large-scaled shops.Ultimately, the short answer to the question is: no, it’s not too expensive. This is because the price range starts with FREE.The real cost is your time and the only risk is wasting it.If you do elect to explore e-commerce as an option, put a lot of time into the planning. Not just one day of grinding out ideas but weeks of spit balling and brain storming.Look around at what others in your industry have done and even more importantly what they’ve not done and plan everything out properly.Hiring a professional business mentor to guide you can be the best decision you ever made. You’ll be walked past the typical hiccups and hurdles and on your way to launching your e-commerce project much faster and with much less effort.More and more service-based businesses are seeing the potential of e-commerce so the quicker you jump into the ring the better. For many, the e-commerce even takes over as the primary revenue driver.
When you’re doing website writing, you usually have the intention of selling your business services through the site. This is one area where many websites fail to do their job. It is ironic because these sales are typically the primary objective of the site. Often, when it comes to writing page, business owners fail to do an adequate sales job. Here are a few mistakes that people generally make.1) They do not provide enough information so that a prospect can make a positive buying decision. For some reason, business owners are often reticent to give full details. This could be because the service they’re selling is new and they haven’t yet worked out all the details. Perhaps they are being “lazy” about writing, and taking the attitude that prospects “should” just call them to find out the information. Maybe they unrealistically expect the reader to buy even though inadequately informed. Be sure that you thoroughly describe every aspect of your services. This description should read like you’re taking them by the hand and giving them a personal tour. Don’t make them guess about anything. Answer every question – before they even know they have it. Respond to all possible objections. You want this page to be your “sales person” on the web.2) Don’t make the mistake of having this page be all about you. Be sure that the content is written from the viewpoint of the prospect. They are not interested in you except insofar as you can help them. Don’t be “invisible” on this page, but do make it all about them, their experience, their benefits, their results. If you make it all about you, that will not attract clients to your business nor impel them to buy.3) The writing is full of jargon, technical terms and vocabulary only understood by fellow practitioners. You must translate your language and terminology into terms that the average “lay” person understands. If you had to go to college or professional school to learn your business, you can bet your prospects won’t know what you mean. You have to “put yourself in their shoes”.4) Prospects have no idea of the timeline or sequence of events during the service. This causes all sorts of questions in their mind — and that will cause them to lose interest and back away from buying. It may seem silly to you, but it is a common behavior. Give them a sense of what happens when, what precedes what, and the sequence of events. Make them feel that the understand how your services work and that they are safe in going forward.5) The page does not talk about what they need to do to succeed. If there are certain expectations or contributions that they must meet or make, let them know this. Do it relatively gently, because you don’t want to scare them off, but do let them know their responsibilities. Being honest and forthright in this way leads to their trusting you and to your receiving contacts from truly qualified clients.6) The writing does not build the value of the program. It’s a dull recitation of features and benefits but does not come alive and compel the reader to action. Illustrate the value that they receive by describing how they can expect their life to change. “Pain the picture” of what things are like once they have your solution. Contrast the before and after. Demonstrate your expertise in delivering results by slipping in a couple of mentions of how many people you have helped get results. Mention the relevant background that demonstrates that they will get promised results. You can also show value by describing what they get for their money. Summarize this as a “reminder” near the bottom of the page, before your call to action or with it.When you are doing website writing, be sure that you do not make these mistakes. Make the page of your site that describes your services be your Internet salesperson. After all, that is the point of your website–to sell your business services.