If you’re thinking about starting a service business, you have a lot of options. It can be hard to narrow down what to do for yours.
You want to start a business that offers something unique and draws people to you. We’ll help you work with your service business ideas to choose the one best suited to you and who you want to serve.
What Is a Service Business?
A service business is a company created to sell a service rather than a physical product. In other words, you perform a task according to your skills for a customer or client.
These can include many different services, like:
- Information technology
- House cleaning
- Accounting and other financial services
- Health and wellness services
- Legal services
- Content and copywriting
- Website creation and development
Because of the wide range of possible service businesses, each one operates differently, and there’s no universal business model for all of them.
The Basics of Developing Service Business Ideas
Creating a service business is about more than coming up with the idea. Let’s look at how you can make your service business ideas a reality.
Generating Service Business Ideas
When you first decide you want to create a service business, you’ll need to come up with the right idea. Within every different type of service industry, there are many options.
No business can fulfill every part of a broad service or industry. For example, IT professionals can’t service every type of technology. Some offer web development services, while others work specifically in the health IT field.
As you think of service business ideas, consider your skills. Knowing your specific talents will help you narrow down your service niche.
When generating ideas, don’t be afraid to write down any that come to mind. There’s no risk when it comes to ideas, and you may think of something you wouldn’t have considered without allowing yourself creative freedom at this point in the process.
Understand Industry Needs
When generating ideas, consider what your industry needs.
Many service industries are saturated with people offering similar services. You want yours to be unique enough to stand out among the competition.
This is where you should consider your target audience’s pain points. Know what services are in demand.
You’ll want to research service demand in your area, even if you intend to expand later.
For example, if you want to start a landscaping company, you’ll need to know the types of services that people in your area need for their homes or businesses. Based on that information, you can then start looking at whether they are services you can and want to provide long-term.
Consider whether your ideas are sustainable in your industry. If not, go back to the drawing board and consider something else.
Get Feedback on Your Idea
No matter what, you’ll miss something when coming up with service business ideas. That’s why you need to bounce your ideas off others to get feedback.
You can ask potential customers, people who have used similar services before, and people who already work in your desired industry.
These people will have valuable insight into how you can create the best possible business. They can also tell you whether they think your business is a good idea.
At this point, be open to criticism. You can’t please everyone, but it’s worth considering when someone brings up a flaw in your idea.
Think about ways you can solve the problems they bring to your attention.
Find a Mentor in Your Industry
You may want to connect with someone who can help you grow your business and give you information and feedback as you go. You’re essentially looking for a mentor who knows about building a business like yours.
It doesn’t have to be someone who runs a business in your industry. They could be an industry expert, a former teacher, a parent, or anyone who has the type of knowledge you need to improve your business.
You want someone who supports you and your vision. They should also be able to help you network and get your ideas out into the world.
They also need to be able to give you detailed feedback.
Create Your Business Plan
Every company needs a business plan. In it, you should include everything you intend to do with your business. That includes creating a five- or even ten-year plan.
In your business plan, write out your business’s financials, concept, strategy, and anything you’ll need to get your business running. You should also include:
- Equipment costs
- Marketing budget
- Employee wages
- Plans for growth over time
Accounting for all this in advance means you lower the risk of unpleasant surprises.
A business plan prepares you better for the future so that you can make better decisions. It gives you a plan to refer to as you start your business and offers a solid foundation.
Network in Your Industry
Networking lets you meet others in your industry and helps you learn and keep up with industry trends. As a result, you provide greater benefits to your customers.
Networking takes many forms.
You can do it in person by meeting others in your area, going to trade shows and meet-ups, and joining industry groups.
You can also participate in webinars, online groups, and social media to connect with other business owners locally and internationally.
By networking, you can improve your service. It also gets you comfortable talking about what you do and selling your services.
Put Together a Solid Team
You might plan to run your business as a sole proprietor. However, many service businesses have teams that provide their specific services.
You want to put together a team that understands your business goals and helps you work toward them. Know how to reach the people you want on your team. As the job market changes, you should also change to adapt to it.
That means revamping your interview and candidate search process. Know how to use these processes to grow your business and attract candidates who share your business values.
Having a solid team means having people who can do the work and learn when necessary. They help you offer better services and bring new ideas to the table that help you grow your business. You can also delegate certain tasks to your team, giving you more time to devote to other tasks.
As a business owner, you’ll need to spend time in the office on marketing. When you have a trusted team, you can leave the service tasks to them while taking care of the admin, marketing, budgeting, and other responsibilities.
Market Your Business
Marketing is critical to getting clients, both new and returning. It gets the word out about your business and helps you stay top of mind with customers and clients. Without it, you’ll have a hard time growing your business.
Marketing takes many forms. You can market online through your website, by using ads and social media, email campaigns, and in-person by talking about your business to more people. Even in the internet age, word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to market your business.
When marketing your business, keep things consistent across platforms. That means keeping your tone, values, services, and design the same.
Customers like consistency. It shows them you’re organized and know how to catch your audience’s attention and fulfill the promises you make through your marketing.
3 Tools to Improve Service Business Ideas
These tools can help as you come up with service business ideas and work to implement them.
LivePlan helps you in the early stages of planning your business, especially when writing up a business plan. It gives you sample business plans, so you know what to include in your own, plus templates to work from.
It has instructions on business planning and asks you all the big questions you’ll need to start a service business. It simplifies the complicated parts of business planning, including your financials and budgeting. It can even help you get funding with a detailed business plan and forecasts.
With LivePlan’s more advanced features, you can see key performance indicators, create milestones for your business, see financial forecast scenarios, and more. It also gives you industry benchmark data to prepare and keep up with the top performers in your industry.
LivePlan has two packages:
- Standard: $15 per month, billed annually
- Premium: $30 per month, billed annually
If you’re willing to spend a little extra time learning the platform, LivePlan can give you the tools you need to build your business from its foundation.
GoSmallBiz guides you through creating a business entity, drafting bylaws, building a website, and making a business plan. The platform gives you access to experts to help you grow your business once you get it off the ground. It also ensures that you stay in compliance with business laws in your area.
GoSmallBiz gives you a place to grow your business through marketing, including through email campaigns. With it, you can boost your Google ranking and track your performance online.
GoSmallBiz has several packages that you can bundle to benefit your business as you see fit. Their three most popular include:
- Grow: $39 per month
- Guide: $49 per month
- Go: $199 per month
Enloop mainly helps with writing up a business plan and financial forecasting. It can even help you generate text for your business plan based on the information you put into the platform.
You can then view your financial forecast to see where you need more funds and improve different areas of your business. You can even compare those forecasts to your competitors. You can see all your business data in colored charts that help you create better plans that serve your business growth.
Enloop comes in three packages:
- Detailed: $19.95 per month
- Performance: $39.95 per month
Enloop offers a free seven-day trial for you to try out its features.
4 Tricks for Starting a Service Business
There are some things you can do to upgrade your service business right away. We have a few suggestions.
Improve Customer Service
Improving customer service shows that you’re serious about giving customers the best service. It encourages customers to talk about your business and recommend you to others.
Get feedback from your customers and be open to making changes that benefit them.
Sometimes, improving customer service means implementing better scheduling, engaging positively with customers, or responding promptly to questions and feedback. Doing so will give your service business a boost.
Network Locally and Beyond
While you’re still going over service business ideas, you should start networking. It can give you a better idea of your industry and help you start your business off on the right foot.
Networking goes beyond events related to your industry, too. Consider any social space a potential venue for networking. You never know who will need your services or who can help you build your business.
Look for people in your industry online and engage with them early on. Whether that means giving advice and posting in groups or engaging with other people’s posts within the industry, social media can help you get recognized.
Invest in Marketing
Your business will need to start marketing even before its launch. Marketing helps you get customers early on and lets people know about you before you’re ready.
You’ll need to keep marketing as long as you want to keep running your business. That requires some trial and error, and the investment should include both time and money. Find which platforms your customers use and market there.
While marketing is a long game, you can make immediate changes to benefit you in the future. Learn what type of ads catch your audience’s attention and use business planning software to see which ones have the best results.
Research the Competition
Researching your competition can yield fast results if you do it right. You should be aware of what your competitors are doing with their businesses so that you can improve yours accordingly.
You’ll see what your business lacks as well as what it does better than your competitors. As a result, you can boost your weak spots and fill in the holes in your business before they cause you problems.
You can also get ideas for what other services to offer. You may also see what your competitors do wrong so that you can capitalize on doing it better. Many of these fixes take minimal time and can be as simple as better customer service, faster service, or boosting a unique or specialized service.
What to Do Next
Once you’ve started your business, you’ll need more than a business plan. You should have a solid idea of what your customers need and how to provide it. That means understanding and adapting your marketing, providing great content, and focusing on the benefits to your customers as much as to your own business.
While social media is an important part of marketing, you’ll also need to make sure you create a website. Your website has static content about your business and gives you a professional online presence.
You’ll need people on your team who can offer things you can’t. You should connect with mentors for your professional success. You’ll also want to know how to market and work with someone you can trust to capture the tone of your business and put it out into the world long-term.