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Turn Your Service Into A Product

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For business owners, the anxiety of not enough time or money tends to be the result of having built a service business rather than a product business. 

NOTE: I’m not suggesting that your accountant give up being an accountant and start selling kitchen utensils or that your chiro stop selling chiropractic services and just flog spikey roller balls online (I’m mashing my foot onto one as I type).

Quite the opposite.

Let’s start with a definition of PRODUCT. 

Product: A structured offering designed to deliver a predetermined outcome/result for a specific niche at a set price.

STRUCTURED

Back to my definition. Notice I said ‘structured’, not ‘tangible’. An iPhone is a tangible product, but you can also build a productised service. It’s still a service, (like chiropractic) it’s just structured and packaged properly – ideally in such a way that the founder isn’t required to deliver it.

The problem with offering general ‘consulting services’ or creating ‘customised briefs’ for every new client is this approach injects a high degree of variability into your business model.

Variability is bad. It makes it difficult/impossible to create standardised systems and processes for both sales and delivery. This multiplies inefficiencies that often trap the skilled founder as the only one capable of delivering amongst such chaos. #hell

PREDETERMINED OUTCOME / RESULT

Charging by the hour is a rookie move. People don’t value your time; they value results.

Would you rather pay your lawyer in 6 minute increments for an unspecified period of time in the hope of eventually achieving an undefined outcome? OR would you prefer to pay a set fee for a guaranteed result? Give your customers what they want. 

The lazy lawyer/consultant/anyone will argue that there’s too much variability in their clients’ needs, so they can’t price based on a specific outcome.

THEY’VE GOT IT BACKWARDS.

It’s not their clients that have too much variability in their needs, it’s themselves who are offering services that are too general.

Generalisation means you compete against more businesses, which from a pricing perspective is a race to the bottom. It also creates variability in your model that traps you in your business.

So doing any of this stuff is pretty much #batshitcrazy

NICHE

Recently I went on a rant about niching. One of the additional benefits of targeting a defined market segment is that it allows you (the founder) to create specialised, structured offerings that are designed to deliver specific, pre-determined results for that unique clique of customers.

Not only does this make it easier to attract those people willing to pay a premium for a specialised (differentiated) offering, but it makes it much easier to start building out the systems needed to free you from the do delivery process.

  • Malin Randeniye

    Hi and thanks for a great article. I read the Key pearson of influence book a while ago and I return back to it again and again. Right now I’m really giving this “productising my business” a lot of thoughts. I work with food entertainment in massmedia, I do a foodmagazine, cookbooks, radio shows on a national basis in Sweden, my costumers are some of the biggest distributors of massmedia in the country. However my servises takes up a lot of time and as you described it ties me to the business. I have a handful recipe makers and photographeurs that I work with for the magazine but it’s hard to find a great structure to work within. New content has to be made constantly as new magazines and radio shows and such is coming out. People in my industry tend to go to other products when they need to scale their business. They have kitchen tools with their brand on and so on. And as that is a way to go, I hope there might be a way to stay in my industry. Launching a kitchen tool series feels like going over the river for water . I love my business and my industry and I would like to spend all my time in it. I just don’t know how I could productise my business. Do you have any examples of people in the entertainment industry that have done this in a successful way or maybe any ideas for what a service based product would look like for me?
    Once again thank for all the great work you guys put out!