Service4: Launch a service-based business in 4 steps
Our guides are informational resources that tell you how to do something. This guide includes tools to show you how to do something. Our tools are interactive, some include templates that you can use as a starting point and were created for you to use to complete specific steps in starting or growing your business. Most are in the form of Google Slides, so feel free to copy them to your Google Drive for an editable version of any tool.
Before using this guide, make sure you have validated your idea through some pre-sales. If you haven’t done so, complete our Launch4 guide. Launch4 will help you cover the basics like finalizing your business idea, confirming there is a market and making your first sales or presales to make sure you’ll make a profit - it will lay the foundation for success in your next steps.
Customers don’t just buy a service, they buy an experience. Services don’t even exist until we buy them. There has to be a level of trust or even a “leap of faith” from the customer before they will buy a service. The Service4 guide will help you go from making your first sales to further refine and improve your service-based business to make more money in 4 steps.
Design your service
A service business delivers a product that is primarily composed of personal labor and expertise to deliver the desired work. A service includes the value you deliver to the customer and price for each service provided. You’ll need to create a service menu including names, detailed descriptions of what is included and the price your customers have to pay. Complete the following activities to design or update the services you plan to sell.
Activity 1.1 - Learn how to properly design your service
The article provided will teach you how to “create” your service including a detailed description for the value you’ll deliver the customer and identifying the tools and supplies you will need.
Activity 1.2 - Learn how to price your service(s)
The article provided will teach you how to calculate your baseline hourly rate and to choose a pricing model like time-based, flat-rate, tier-based and variable based pricing.
Develop your brand
As a service based business, building a brand that people recognize is a fundamental element for success. First you have to remember your customers will experience your brand at every touchpoint and that you constantly have to sell yourself. If your brand is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your services. From the visual elements like the logo on your business cards, marketing materials, and even the tools and equipment you use to the way that emails are answered, you’re telling your customer about the kind of business that you are. What do you want customers to think and feel when they see your logo? What do you want your customers to say about the quality of services you’re selling? What do you want customers to say about you as the service-provider? Complete the following activities to create brand that will help your business stand out!
Activity 2.1 - Learn how to create a mission and vision statement for your business
As a service-based business, it is vital to have a powerful mission and vision to help guide you and to show your customers what you’re all about, especially as you grow your reach and customer base.
For example, as a personal trainer, your mission might be read, “I strive to hanging people’s lives around the world by helping them adopt healthier eating habits and fit lifestyle so they look and feel their best.” Your vision statement might read, “A healthier world… One person at a time. “
Activity 2.2 - Learn how to create a tagline and a logo for your business
Create a name, logo and tagline for your business. Ideally, you want to create a tagline that becomes so well known that expresses the value/results your customers will get. You’ll also need to create a logo. Your logo will eventually evoke certain feelings and thoughts in your clientele.
For example, as a personal trainer, your tagline might be read, “Make your future self today.”
Activity 2.3 - Learn how to create a website and build an online presence
Customers will inevitably search the internet for your business before they choose to hire you to check the credibility first. Make sure you build an online presence including a website for your business and create appropriate social media profiles. Your website will be the center of your digital marketing wheel and all the other channels, like your social media sites, will act as spokes to make the wheel turn properly.
Don’t forget to create a company email address (for free!) so that you can present a professional image.
Activity 2.4 - Complete the “Personal Branding Template”
In a service-based business, you are essentially selling yourself along with the quality of services you provide, the tools you use, and the overall experience. You need to understand that although you should create a separate online business presence, your personal sites will also be directly linked to your business. Remember that once it’s online, it’s basically available for the world to see.
Need a little help, some feedback, or input from a successful and experienced business owner? Create an account with us! We’ll help you connect with a business mentor or advisor.
Prepare to sell
At this point, you’ve done a lot of the hard work. You’ve designed your service(s), your brand and create your online presence - now, it’s time to prepare to sell. You’ll need to refine where you’ll find your customers and let them know you’re open for business and make it easy for people to find you by listing a full “menu” of services on your website and including an easy way to book.
Consider creating a profile with our partner Thumbtack, they let you get started for free and through our partnership you’ll even get free credits! Other great platforms where you can list and promote your business website are Freelancer, Craigslist, Postmates, Fiverr, and Upwork.
Activity 3.1 - Learn about digital marketing to promote your services
As a service based business, you should focus your efforts on Digital Marketing - promoting and selling services by leveraging online marketing tactics. Think of ways you can get direct access to potential customers, like using social media ads and defining your audience including age, languages, demographics and location.
Activity 3.2 - Complete the “Marketing Messaging Template”
Your marketing plan is a plan of action designed to promote and sell a service, reach customers, and build brand awareness and loyalty. We suggest you pick 3 ways to sell through digital marketing - your goal is to strategically position yourself in front of your main customers.
Activity 3.3 - Learn more on ecommerce, how to sell online
As a service-based business, you’ll need a hyper-focused plan to sell online. Check out our end-to-end guide on ecommerce and get some tips, tricks and tools to sell online.
Launch and start selling
Plan your grand opening. Grand openings are important because they help attract new customers, generate buzz, gain media attention and create goodwill with neighboring businesses. As a service based business, we recommend that you have a launch/grand opening event where you can showcase the services you’re selling. During the event, you’ll get exposure in the area where you’ll be working and gain credibility among consumers.
As soon as you launch, you’ll be more than ready to start selling! We recommend that you start with your friends/family and ask them to promote your products through online through their social media sites. This will help build credibility for your business and reassure other customers that your business is legit.
Based on customer feedback, continue to improve the services sold, add on new services based on demand and consider hiring a team that can fill “gaps” in your expertise or knowledge! Remember to pay close attention to what your customers want and be willing to change, add, and grow. Keep listening, learning, and adapting!
Activity 4.1 - Plan your grand opening/launch
As a service-based business, you may of may not have a business location - even if you don’t, you should still consider renting a venue and having a launch event. During the event, you’ll have an opportunity to take ample pictures and even give out a limited number of “services” in exchange for thorough reviews. This social proof will help build your credibility and speak to the types of results/value you can achieve for your customers.
Activity 4.2- Start selling services
You probably already know this, but people buy from those they know, like, and trust. The article provided will help you think through some of the key steps to selling services like deciding how much you will/can sell, choosing a payment model and identifying what technologies, if any, you’ll need to actually process customer payments.
Activity 4.3- Learn how to provide your service(s) and a great overall experience to customers
The article provided will give you general guidelines to help you design your own process for how you will provide your services to customers. Some things you’ll need to decide are whether you need to have an initial consult with your potential customer and a detailed customer experience plan - including how you’ll keep in touch with your customer after your services are provided.
Activity 4.4 - Continue to improve your service(s) regularly
Make it a habit to regularly get customer reviews. Make improvements on your business based on customer feedback and use tools and technology to create an exceptional experience to motivate them to come back or refer you.