11 Ways to Generate Consistency & Predictability in a Service Business

In this video we're going to talk 
about how you create consistency   and predictability in a service-based 
business so let's get right into it   I've done two separate videos one is how 
to create consistency and productivity in   a product-based business and this is all about 
service-based businesses and they are different   and there are some overlaps over the two videos 
but this one is very much focused around services   and it's incredibly important that you create 
consistency and predictability in your business   in a service business because often you are 
looking at hiring people now whether that's a PAYE   sort of you know employee with all of the tax and 
issues and paperwork that goes with that or you're   hiring people on Fiverr.com or Freelancer.com 
wherever it is that you're getting people from   okay you need to understand that if you take 
that risk to shell out quite a lot of money   for somebody and the effort and the time required 
to find them and recruit them and keep them and   all those things then recruiting somebody could 
actually break your business as a micro business   your first hire can make or break you so it's very 
very important that we get predictability into our   business so you know I put this money on the table 
I hire this person and I'm not going to break   everything so the very first thing I want to talk 
about in terms of consistency and predictability   in your business is this idea of the mirror what 
you put out you get back and it is absolutely   crucial that as a business we are consistent 
we are predictable we behave the same way   in a service-based business we're customer-facing 
often and we have to have a consistent customer   experience throughout so the customer feels safe 
they don't feel like they're in some random toxic   in relationship where what blow hot and cold and 
all of that okay so they want consistency from   you and that will create predictability they will 
predict they will go to a meeting with you have   a great meeting you'll come back with some great 
work whatever it is and they believe that and that   becomes a belief and that creates the trust that 
you require as a brand now as a service brand it   is much harder to build trust because it is quite 
intangible and also it is much easier to lose it   because there is also people they'll put you on a 
pedestal like oh we found this great new supplier   and then when they find out that you're you know 
just normal they can often be disappointed so   managing expectations is done through consistency 
consistency of behavior consistency of speed of   delivery consistency in terms of getting back to 
the customer and agreeing to do things slightly   outside of boundaries all of those things reassure 
the customer that they are working with the right   business and so they stick around if they stick 
around and you know they're roughly spending x   per month you can have the predictability of 
that income but if you're unpredictable your   customers income will be unpredictable so first up 
in terms of what we can actually do to our service   is we need to build in repeat purchases and that's 
actually quite difficult with a service based   business often we're commissioned to do a report 
or build a website or do I don't know six sessions   of coaching or some kind of service for you know 
clean that flat whatever your service business is   and that could be anything so a service could be 
anything from you know doing somebody's nails to   building a website and it could be anything 
from here's 40 pounds to here's 4 000 pounds   so services is a very wide intangible game and it 
is different for each one but the key principle is   how on earth do I tell my customer get my customer 
to do something regularly so for example if you do   somebody's nails you could say look it's 40 pounds 
every time I do your nails whatever it is but if   you get them done every month or every two weeks 
I will do them at 30 pounds each so if you sign   up for a three month kind of thing and you come to 
me regularly I will give you in a discounted price   so you we did a thing where we many years ago 
the customer would say we'll buy a hundred hours   of your time when I was running a marketing 
agency do a graphic design digital agency   so well there will be a hundred hours of your time 
great let us know when you get to about 80 hours   you check the hours off as we buy them we trust 
you completely obviously we're gonna you know they   have somebody and a marketing manager who knows 
what they're doing and obviously if we did no work   and still build them they'd be they'd be slightly 
dubious so but they trusted us we trusted them   and once you get to about 80 hours literally just 
flag it and we'll raise a purchase order and you   buy another 100 hours but of course we want those 
hours at a discounted rate we're going to commit   to about 100 hours a month but some months we 
might plow through 400 hours and other months   we might plow through 50.

how to scale a service business

But we're going to buy 
these up front and then when we need you we'll   call on you so this is great because it means 
I have some kind of consistency the flip side   was we actually had a major sports brand and they 
would never ever ever tell us what was coming up   they were great to work with loved them completely 
but they just would never tell us what was coming   out and what money was involved and I was and you 
know I remember saying to them if you could just   give me some idea I could hire another person and 
I could literally dedicate them to your account   and you'd get much better service offers but 
they never did so by creating these mechanisms   of repeat money so and I'm talking in terms of 
repeat money from the directly from the service   not necessarily subscriptions and things 
like that which I'll come to in a minute   so you try and get the customer to engage with 
you and buy the core service at in some way that   it becomes predictable and the next few points are 
going to be some of those ways which can do that   so the first way that I like to talk to 
businesses about in terms of securing incredible   predictability and consistency in your business 
in your service based business is to get into   tenders now this is something which is not sexy 
it's not something that people talk about on   social media very often but I absolutely guarantee 
you there are tenders out there from anything from   five ten fifteen thousand pounds to a million 
pounds that small micro businesses are involved   with in some way and it might be that there's 
micro businesses are actually partnered with a   large business and they go in and different 
people will be agreed to deliver different   parts of a tender but actually you know there's 
some very tendering now in the UK especially   once it's over a certain amount I think is about 
15 20 000 pounds an organization that is involved   in the public sector housing association NHS 
etc would absolutely have to put out a tender   so there are websites that you can sign up to and 
you sign up to the website and you get notified of   different tenders that are valued to you and 
this means that you can apply for those jobs   and you win that work and normally 
if you're applying for the right ones   you say you win that work and you know that you 
have 60 000 pounds coming in every year year in   year out for the next two three four five years 
and you are committed to that and it gives you   massive predictability and consistency in your 
business you can scale up you can hire staff based   on it you can get all of your operations based 
around it once you've got that tender in play   you can move forward and it is an absolutely 
fantastic way to grow your business so once   we've looked at tenders the next thing is to look 
at subscriptions and I've kind of covered this in   some way but it is about getting your service 
customer to commit because they're buying your   time and one of the value things that you have 
with the customer is when you're delivering a   service customer is king is not always true 
customer can bloom in well weight right the   the family oh we bend over backwards for our 
customer do whatever they want blah blah blah no   we absolutely don't we try to we'll we'll 
put in as many systems processes and people   as we can in order to do that but at the end of 
the day if we're busy and they're not paying us   any money they can wait and when they do pay us 
money we schedule it in when it's scheduled in   so what a subscription type basis 
says is you have priority on our time   if you pay us x amount per month when you phone 
us we'll drop the ad-hoc project that we're   doing for some customer over there because you 
pay us as a subscription you pay us a retainer   we'll do your work and then I'll just have to 
wait now if that other customer also wants us   they'll have to pay us a retainer but 
then once we've got retainers in place   we know what money we've got coming in every month 
and we're going to hire more people so service is   very much about well hang on a second my your 
resources are actually limited there's not this   you can't just turn a lever like you can with 
a product based business or or hire you know   buy another warehouse or get another factory and 
all those things and those are difficult enough   right but finding the right people at the right 
time to do the right job for the right customer   could take three four five months so if the 
customer phones up and demands I want it now   do you have a retainer if not wait now that 
sounds counterintuitive to people oh I've   got to look after my customers yeah and they've 
got to look after you they're buying your time   and your time is absolutely crucial and one of 
the things I would say to you is I know more than   anybody what it is like to just give away your 
time for nothing again and again and again   and the more you give to the customers the 
more they'll take the less they'll respect   you as a service agency so in services your time 
is crucial and you do not give it away for anyone   and retainers are a great way to get that 
consistency and product and predictability   in your business and your customer will get better 
service from you the next level down from that is   some form of subscription and so I've got 
retainers up here retainers are important   that that's about the core service of the 
business and you're buying my time for that   but with a subscription what you're doing 
is you're buying the ad-hoc stuff on top and   what do I mean by that so the perfect example I 
would use from my experience is building websites   software for people you buy the website ten five 
three pounds three thousand pounds whatever it is   and then there is the hosting the email support 
any kind of bug fixes updates of the software   like WordPress or Joomla or Drupal or whatever it 
is so you have the core product and then you have   your support and hosting and all those things so 
one is a large amount let's just say for example   it's 5 000 pounds and then they might pay 40 80 
120 pounds a month ongoing for those services   that you as a business can pay a junior to do and 
automate some of a lot of those things they get   done and you start accruing an amount of money 
each month that you're getting and that gives you   predictability and consistency the you know I know 
a couple of agencies where they have absolutely   worked ridiculously hard for two or three 
years but their sole aim was to build up their   hosting and support and then the entire business 
expense salaries rent everything was covered in   the in in those monthly fees any project where 
they had on top was a beautiful bonus and at which   point they could then start developing their 
own software it gave them so much freedom it   was you know it was great to see so those kind 
of ongoing micro amounts 40 80 100 200 pounds   500 pounds a month in terms of support and little 
stuff subscription stuff is fantastic and I guess   if you're like a coach and all of those things 
then you're looking at subscription into a web   platform where people have access to additional 
resources training courses and stuff like that   like what we're trying to do and you might even 
create mastermind groups and all of those things   and higher levels of subscription but all of 
those things mean that like for me if I'm doing   some marketing consultancy that's a project well 
once we've done that would you like to come in   on our mastermind group would you like to have 
ongoing ad-hoc support would you like a retainer   all of those things those are the conversations 
you have beforehand to prime the customer that   that's what's kind of expected of you at the end 
you don't have to do it and if you don't it's not   a problem but you're going to get a huge amount 
more value out of it really if you do so obviously   subscriptions are a great way to create a bedrock 
of money which provides you with consistency and   predictability in your service business the next 
thing i'd like you to think about in terms of   this is to create what we call product ties 
your business your service business this is   really important it's a great way to create 
predictability because you're turning this into a   much more tangible thing so the example that 
we use we tend to use is maybe if you're a golf   coach and you then have a specific package around 
improving somebody's swing and you give it a name   and yeah even a little sub logo or something 
like that same if you're a personal trainer who   specializes in you know squats or something 
literally that niche like I will I will get   you from squatting half your body weight to 
one and a half times your body weight in three   months boom and it's a package and it's called 
squat tastic and it's I don't know 700 pounds   and it's a fixed price that's that's it I'm 
gonna I'm gonna commit to three months this   is what involves we'll meet on these days we'll do 
this we'll be at this gym at this time and you've   productized it you've turned into a very tangible 
structured thing which is this price and so then   what you can do is you can then start tweaking 
the parameters of your product and the price   and you have your marketing mix and you can 
actually do stuff to then say well actually   if I sell it at this price but with this discount 
and I do an easter special I should be able to   or January special if it's weight loss you know I 
should be able to sell at least 50 in January and   you know then I can just you know I can make 35 
000 pounds at the beginning of the year and I've   got everybody lined up for the year and I'm good 
to go for the first six months and that gives you   predictability so now we've covered quite a few 
things which are great for improving your service   and working around your service and setting 
up structures and contracts and subscriptions   and all those things with your customer to 
improve your predictability and consistency   in your business and and that knowledge allows 
you to then take risks and and hire new staff   and buy new servers or whatever you need to 
do in order to expand and grow your business   but the next thing is bit weird it's we start to 
filter into sort of how does your marketing then   help that structure and just with the product 
video that we've done as well we have to then   communicate somehow so with a product you really 
want to be continuously improving your product   it's a key part of reassuring the customer that 
you're on their side you're looking out for them   you're doing your best for them and it's exactly 
the same with a service you have to start telling   your customer we're really good at this this is 
why service business is going for awards and that   kind of thing because in reality nobody really 
knows like let's say they hired you as a handyman   or a nail technician or they might be able to then 
look at that and go oh my gosh you cut my hedge   it's rubbish you did my nails they're awful so 
but when you get into a much more complex thing   like a solicitor accountant a marketing agency 
something which is more intangible and naturally   the customer doesn't really know much about 
it and that's why they're hiring these people   they're spending quite a bit of money and all of 
a sudden they're like am I really getting a great   deal am I actually working with a great agency 
am I getting good consultancy and the answer is   a lot of the time they don't really know so it is 
really important that you reaffirm to the customer   at all times look how hard we work for you look 
how good we've done for you you know really really   hammering at home that they are in the right place 
they're with the right company they're getting   great service okay you must tell them now the flip 
side to this is if you're in your own little pool   the whole time then sometimes we start to 
doubt our own service so it's really important   that you take a step out of your own business and 
look at what other people in your marketplace are   doing and reassure yourself that you are actually 
delivering a great service you have got the latest   systems processes the best people whatever it is 
I'll give you an example for this in which was   good for me we got involved in a project about 10 
years ago now and we got involved with working for   a larger london agency fantastic agency I won't 
mention their name but they are a great agency   absolutely brilliant award-winning 
fantastic people and we I went up there   and you know I was pretty daunted we're a tiny 
little agency out in you know the shires and I was   just a little bit like I'm gonna get blown 
away I felt better out of my depth you know   impostor syndrome whatever you want to call it and 
actually I was beautifully amazingly wonderfully   pleased to realize that yeah I was working with 
some really top-notch clever guys but actually   most people in that agency were just good 
they were all right they were doing a good   job they were solid there was even a couple 
of people I was like I wouldn't hire them   right and I could take that back to my agency 
my little regional agency and I could be really   pleased with me and my team that we were actually 
delivering fantastic service to our customers   and it was really nice to know I would never have 
known if I hadn't got involved in that big project   sort of stepped out of my comfort zone and sort 
of worked with some people doing bigger stuff   so it's really important that not only do we 
remind our customer they're getting great service   we actually remind ourselves and of course if 
we're not delivering great service we really   need to then step up training learning systems 
processes all of those things so that's the next   thing which I think is really important to ensure 
that your customer keeps coming back to you your   own confidence and their confidence in you is in 
crucial for them to keep writing those checks and   paying for those monthly retainers or whatever 
they're doing so we're into the end of this video   and the next three things are all blended into 
one and the very first thing I want to talk about   in a service-based business especially although 
it still operates in a product-based business   it's this thing called account based 
marketing now accountability's marketing   has been this kind of thing which has really 
exploded in the last three four five years   in the UK probably around the world I've been 
bashing on about account based marketing for   a long time and they and pretty much ever since 
we started getting these really amazing digital   CRM so customer relationship management systems 
there's a plethora of them out there and there and   many of them are amazing you know the biggest ones 
are like Salesforce or Hubspot and stuff like that   but the great thing with the CRM is that 
if you set it up right you can manage your   customers at a micro granular level you can 
manage far more customers at a level which   they feel they are getting great service they 
feel special you knew their name you knew them   you know so you are working on a larger scale 
but making and more people feel special and a   CRM does that it's not just an address 
book or an old-fashioned 1980s rolodex   so the CRM enables you to then do something 
magical and that is called creating a tag taxonomy   I won't go into detail in this video we're gonna 
do a whole separate range of videos on this but   for me it is the future of marketing and it's been 
around for ages just lots of people can't do it   won't do it and don't do it but tag taxonomy 
basically means you create structures of tax   around what people have done conversations they've 
had events they've come to products they've built   and you enter that into your crm and that 
enables you to look after them so much better   it enables you to create a customer profile at 
an insanely more detailed level and as a result   you can then trigger autoresponders sales 
calls event invites whatever to those customers   and it embellishes on your ability to make to 
look after them to invite them into your golden   house of enchantment and look after them like 
special guests so a crm a customer relationship   management tool set up correctly we're not 
going to go into the detail on it but they   the use of this at a level where you then generate 
a tag taxonomy that creates this wonderful   profile that you can then communicate with 
your customers and invite them to things   on a much more granular level is absolutely 
crucial in the modern 21st century 2021 22   to help in a service business now the next 
thing from that is that with all of that data   when did they talk to somebody when did they click 
that link in an email and then see that Facebook   advert and then call the company or I'll tell you 
sales you know when did all of these things happen   what was the flow how much did they spend why 
did they spend it what are the so we can then   start measuring so the very last thing is 
measure measure measure we create key performance   indicators and we start to create predictability 
from the numbers and we can start to say in   our marketing we'll look you know if we spend a 
thousand pounds there we got these kind of results   because there's never direct cause and effect in 
marketing that's a myth right but we've got these   kind of results so the water is trickling down 
the mountain and we're coming to the river we're   going to come into the house of golden house of 
enchantment and we can start predicting the flow   we can see where the main water is flowing now 
obviously something's going off here some of us   but we get this predictability we start measuring 
things in the crm we start creating data we start   creating reports out of that then we can start 
creating additional budgetary nuances and then   we can start creating predictability around 
well if we spend this marketing in this way in   with these channels with this advertising with 
this message to these people then we should get   that and we start creating predictability in 
our marketing we should get predictability in   our sales and if we've got predictability in our 
sales we have predictability in our money if your   predictability in our money we have predictability 
in our profit and with excess profit we can then   use that to take more risks grow the business and 
move forward so I really hope this video has been   useful for you 'm sorry it's been a long video 
but I hope I've delivered a huge amount of value   and I'm really hoping that you could subscribe 
to the channel like the video share it with as   many people as possible you think might help you 
know help other people other micro businesses   and please look out for the next 
video thank you for watching take care

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