Scaling a service business is always going to be limited by manpower. By definition, a service requires a person to spend time “serving” a client.
An example of a service business could be…
- digital marketing agencies
- web design
- any business in which a person services a customer by spending his or her time serving them
By contrast, a product-based business is infinitely scalable. With a product, (especially a digital product) 1 person can support sales to hundreds, thousands, or even a million people.
Product-based business models make possible the opportunity for exponential growth. Any service business will require you to hire more people in order to serve more clients.
But what if you could productize a service business? What if you could manufacture your services in a way that allows you to sell them at scale?
How is this possible? What steps would you need to take?
This article will give you three examples of how you can productize your service business. Let’s get started.
Sell Your Knowledge
There are countless examples of brilliant and skilled people who work themselves to the bone by charging by the hour.
What if you could take your knowledge and package it into a workshop? Instead of doing the work, what if you taught someone else how to do the work?
This tactic is common for digital businesses such as marketing agencies or web design firms. There are currently thousands of courses on social media marketing.
I feel there are wide-open markets in thousands of other service-based industries that haven’t transitioned online.
For instance, my wife spent the weekend building an above ground vegetable garden this weekend. Neither of us has built a garden before, so she spent hours watching YouTube videos and reading books. After about a week of research, she finally felt comfortable enough to buy the supplies and put the garden together.
I believe it would have been way easier for us to spend $39 on a step by step course that could have taught us the entire process from the beginning.
Why can’t a landscaper sell digital products to teach people about lawn care? Why can’t a farmer sell products to teach people how to grow their own crops?
As it stands, landscape businesses are difficult to scale. If a landscaper wants to grow, all they can do is find more jobs and hire more employees.
This can be stressful. With growth comes more taxes, HR, insurance, employee management, PTO and accounting.
Whereas one landscaper could create a product and sell it to millions of people who would be willing to pay for the education.
I know it’s true because Jules and I would have been a buyer.
Also, here’s the garden. Jules planted spinach and broccoli.
Create a Product Template and Build a System
This method allows for services to remain services while giving them the capability to support many more customers without becoming top-heavy with additional expenses.
The concept is simple.
You can productize a service by creating a manufacturing process around a finite amount of services.
This model is the opposite of custom. This is cookie-cutter. The idea is to create one thing and then build an assembly line that offers customizations.
There are two examples that come to mind.
Example 1 – Chipotle
Chipotle sells one thing. They serve their customers with Mexican food.
Every time you go to Chipotle, the product is exactly the same. However, the genius of Chipotle was that they built their model around an assembly line that allows them to scale.
A typical Chipotle store can serve thousands of customers with a small number of employees.
As a customer, you are buying a system. You are not buying experience. You know exactly what to expect. Chipotles everywhere follow the same process.
Chipotle is not a service business, it’s a product business that looks like a service.
Example 2 – Audience Opps (Brian Catel)
Brian is a great example because he is one of the originators of the concept of productizing a service business.
Brian built an agency and eventually became burned out. After some trial and error, he created Audience Opps. With Audience Opps, he has built a content marketing service business that sells content products.
You can not buy custom-tailored content. You need to buy one of the packages that Audience Opps provides.
Anything you buy from him fits into his productized system which allows his business to operate with efficiency and profitability. In addition, he can still create an amazing product because he has become masterful at one thing.
Brian has created a 1 man empire around the idea of productizing a service. He even created educational products to help other service businesses do the same.
You can see his full company portfolio on his website.
Build the Platform for the Service
This concept is my favorite way to productize a service business.
This system requires more upfront costs but has the potential to be extremely lucrative. If you do it right, you can build a machine of high revenues and valuable services.
I call this “platforming a service.” To do this, you must build a service model that scales by leveraging technology for the management. One person can serve 10x the amount of customers with the help of a centralized tech system.
One of the best examples of this is JourneyPure. JourneyPure is an addiction treatment center that I am heavily involved in.
Addiction treatment is a service. It requires lots of labor, hard costs, management, and employees. It’s an invaluable service and I believe JourneyPure is the nationwide leader in this industry.
One of the things I am most proud of and excited about is the JourneyPure coaching app.
One of the difficulties of addiction treatment is continuing to provide resources and support after a patient leaves treatment. To solve this problem, JourneyPure has built a coaching app that uses technology to manage aftercare recovery coaching services.
With technology, we have the ability to treat thousands of patients with effectiveness in a way that was not possible before.
Before the coaching app, recovery coaches had to rely on labor-intensive resources such as in-person meetings and handwritten case files. With the app, JourneyPure can centralize its manpower and extend it’s coaching resources to patients all over the country.
This is such an important service for people in recovery from addiction. The amount of people we can help by leveraging technology is a real game-changer.
The success rates of JourneyPure’s treatment services are miles above the industry standard. A big reason for this is because of the coaching services we can provide with the JourneyPure Coaching App.
This model can be duplicated in dozens of other industries.
If someone has the guts to build the technology, this model can productize service businesses in countless industries.
- Personal training
- Business coaching
- Life coaches
- Test course prep
Any business that requires one on one coaching can be productized by building an application that leverages the technology and decreases management time.
Learning how to productize a service business can be a life-changing decision. Best of all, it can allow you to better serve your customers and clients. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Productizing can be difficult and there are disadvantages to it. For instance, when you productize, you lose the ability to customize.
But in my view, the benefits greatly outweigh the cons.
Leave a comment and let me know how you can productize your service business. I would love to help in any way I can.