By Jon Wellman
Growth is a primary goal for every business, but scalability is far more complex for service-based businesses than it is for product-based ones.
Selling time means selling highly-skilled labour, and if every new sale means another X hours of work for a team already operating at capacity, sustainable growth is going to be difficult.
This is where digitisation of service offerings comes in.
Productised services offer your clients the same solution, but through automation of labour-intensive tasks and simple processes, free up hours of your valuable time that you can use on the next project.
Let’s explore how you can digitise and productise your service offering to drive efficiency, boost profits and grow your business without compromising the quality of service (or the ‘human touch’) that your clients expect.
The finite nature of time is a blocker for any business that sells it.
Hours of highly-skilled effort are often the sole revenue stream for professional services firms, and this has always meant that selling more hours was the only way to grow.
Also chipping into your available hours are your new team members, each requiring training in order to provide the same quality of service that you do.
If you don’t train them (and even if you do), your clients will often return to you when they need an answer, even if you’re no longer their point of contact.
More employees, more salaries to pay, but no additional revenue and no less strain on your time. It’s this barrier that has often left service-based businesses in the lurch when it comes to scalability. But scaling up is possible: you just need to be creative about it.
So, what is the solution for service-based businesses wishing to scale up?
To truly unlock your ability to scale, you will need to sever the tie between sales and labour. Automating parts of your process, from data collection to analysis and client presentation, will allow the number of sales to grow without forcing the number of service hours required up, too.
You’ll want to digitise most of your processes to create a future-proof productised service; a hands-off, end-to-end solution that carries clients seamlessly through your business.
Productised services are digitally enhanced service offerings, involving both highly-skilled human hours and automated processes and digitised tasks. Digitising your services in this way allows you to develop something that works once, then implement it so that customers can complete processes without any human involvement.
Digitising certain time-consuming processes, such as getting client details or using spreadsheets to enter financial data or for complex calculations, can also help you get much more data and greater visibility into your clients, your business and how clients interact with your services.
This is why thousands of service-based businesses are using productised services to grow their businesses: increased efficiency, greater profits, better insight, and no additional work for you or your team.
To get started, we recommend starting with a specific part of your service process that you can digitalise easily.
For example, you could:
We’ve created a guide to digitising services for professional services businesses struggling to scale up. If you want to know how to make your business more efficient and scalable – and get actionable insights to help you put your plan into action – then this guide is for you.
Jon Wellman on 16 July 2020
I'm a director at Vokke Software in Melbourne. We build custom web software for companies to help them digitalise their organisations, achieve their strategic goals, and disrupt their industries. I'm passionate about working with smart people on interesting problems, particularly in technology and business.