One of the biggest drawbacks of running a service based business is that you only get paid for billable hours. After spending hours looking for clients and doing preliminary work, you only get paid for what you do. Whether you bill at R20, R50 or R200 an hour, your income is limited to the amount of hours you work. If you are smart, you can find a way to turn your services into products and make more money without having to work 80 hours a week.
If you offer a set of services that you feel you aren’t getting paid enough for but can’t justify raising your hourly rate, productizing may be your best option. You can offer your services as a package, with clear objectives and promises attached. The package could include a combination of several services you provide to make it look more appealing.
This is a strategy that many web-designers use. They offer a package that may include a specified number of pages, logo design, domain name registration and SEO marketing. Customers read these packages and feel like they are getting a great deal. But from your perspective, you may be making R75 an hour instead of R25. Your hourly rate will increase even further as you become more efficient.
The key to productizing services is to learn to work efficiently. Here are some tips:
- Create a template. Make sure that your service can be easily duplicated. If you can automate the process, you will be able to produce your services much more quickly.
- Make sure that your staff are well-trained. The faster they work, the more orders they can fulfil.
- Look for new tools to improve efficiency. Always be up to date on the tools of the trade. New technology can make a process a lot faster. This is especially true for high-tech companies and web developers. New software and CMS packages can let you do work in a few hours that used to take days.
- Be disciplined. Your process will never work if you keep straying from it. Make sure that you are disciplined about completing your process, while at the same time always refining it.
- Build a team. If you find other people who can produce the quality of work you expect, you can delegate to them and expand productivity. Having additional employees will also give you credibility and let people know that you can provide the support they need.
The trick is to develop a system that will make your business more efficient and package it in a way that lets customers see that they are still getting a great deal. When you begin productizing your services, you will almost certainly be making a lot more money than you were before and you’ll never look back.