How To Launch Your Service-Based Business?

Starting a service-based business?

Today I’ll walk you through the steps I’ve taken to launch my service-based business, and what you can learn more it whether you’re starting from scratch, or you are looking to make a change.

The steps you see below are the same steps I’ve followed to start my consulting services, and I think you’ll gain a tremendous amount of value from it as well.

I love this post by Justin Welsh who breaks down exactly how you can take your service business to $100k+ by following these steps.

It’s all about identifying your ICP (target audience: dentist, SaaS, women in tech) and identifying the challenges they are having.

Once you identify their challenges by interviewing them or joining groups and seeing the conversations they are having, you’ll be able to identify the common challenges they all face.

From there interview them and ask “if we created a product that could solve this problem, would you be open for a conversation?”

1. Finding Your ICP

The first step you should take before starting your service business is knowing who you want to target. An easy way to identify this is by writing down the industries you have experience in.

This could be a job, a passion, or just something you know a lot about that you can target.

The key here is to not overthink this. Create a simple chart weighing out the options and picking one.

Keep in mind that just because you pick a niche and it doesn’t work, this doesn’t mean you cannot pivot.

The key when finding your ICP is this whole idea behind ‘niching’.

Niching is a great place for new service consultants to start because it allows you to focus narrowly on one thing, be the best at that one thing, and as a result you become more competitive because you resonate specifically with that target audience.

Niching --> Sub-niching --> Micro-niching

  • Niching: Instagram Ads for Influencers
  • Sub-niching: Instagram Ads for Fitness Influencers
  • Micro-niching: Instagram Ads for Female Fitness Influencers

What I typically suggest is focusing on the ‘micro-niche’ and once you’ve capped out within your niche, you can always move up a category into ‘sub-niching’.

This is a pretty common strategy among a lot of businesses whether you are selling a service or a product.

  • Amazon Example: Focused on selling books online, and then expanded
  • Facebook Example: Focused on selling to college students, and then everyone
  • McDonalds: Focused on kids and grew up with them

As you can see, even the most largest companies have niched when starting out, because it just makes life so much easier.

If you are under this mentality that “if I niche, I’m going to miss out on other business”. This is the sacrifice you need to make in the short-term to reap the benefits in the long-term.

When a music artist creates music for his audience, whether it be country, rock or rap, they are not worried about attracting people who don’t resonate with their music.

They are focused on the few, not the many.

The more polarizing you become to a specific audience, the easier it is to understand, resonate with them, create content that they want, and the easier it is to systematize your business.

Below is 5 ways I’ve found that can help to get your mind thinking about how to start your niche brainstorm:

  1. Demographics
  2. Psychographics
  3. Interests
  4. Gender

2. Client Research

Once you’ve identified your niche, the next step is actually taking the time to understand if your niche has challenges you can solve.

There are 2 ways to go about this:

  • Develop a skill that you can excel at and that the market wants, and pick a niche that wants those services.
  • Focus on a niche you know a lot about or have a passion around, and build skills around this niche.

Either way, interviewing your clients is a crucial component to this step.

Here’s a pretty cool way to incentivize clients within your niche to be open to an interview. Now of course if you know people already in the industry that would be open to a conversation then that’s fine.

However many of us might not.

What I did starting out was reaching out to dentists via cold email and Facebook Ads offering $100 Amazing eGift card for 30-minutes of their time.

Anything less than $100 is usually not worth the effort, and so I would save up $500 just for gift cards.

3. Creating Interview Questions

This is probably one of the most crucial steps and where you should spend a lot of time thinking about, because the quality of your questions will lead to the quality of the answers you receive.

A great way to come up a large list of questions is by leveraging ChatGPT

By simply asking ChatGPT what questions you can ask your particular niche in regards to the service you are thinking of offering, OR the challenges they are facing can really help lay a foundation of questions you can ask.

Here’s an example of a few questions I’ve asked my niche which was targeting dentists for SEO/marketing services to learn more about their challenges and goals.

  1. If I were to share video or written content related to helping you improve your clinics sales & marketing, would this information be valuable to you?
  2. Which social media channels do you spend most of your time on? (Ex: Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram)
  3. How does your practice currently handle and manage your marketing and advertising efforts? 
  4. How do you currently gather patient feedback?
  5. What type of challenges do you face within your clinic? (e.g. client retention, profitability, talent acquisition) 
  6. Are there any external factors, such as changes in regulations or market conditions, that are or have impacted your practice?
  7. What is the ultimate goal for your clinic in the next few years?

Now I may not be the best at coming up with questions as it is a skill on its own, by try your best to come up with ‘open-ended’ questions. Which are questions that don’t give you a yes or no response, but actually get the interviewee to think deeply about.

4/ Creating Your Service

Now that you’ve interviewed 5 people within your niche (the more the better) think about whether the service you were thinking of offering, or a challenge they all have which you can productize.

Here are a few examples:

  • Bookkeeping and tax services for your Web 3.0 companies
  • Facebook & Instagram Ads for Online Chefs
  • Compliance services for financial firms
  • Helping fitness trainers build an audience on Instagram

5/ Creating Your Offer/Angle

Alex Hormozi says in his book $100M Offer “Create an offer so good people feel stupid saying no.”

Now of course its not that simple. You can’t just go around selling an amazing offer without some credibility first. However it makes sales-cycles so much smaller and easier to close.

You don’t have to worry about silly sales tactics and you can focus on an offer that is all upside for the client and zero down-side.

Here’s some examples I found online of compelling offers:

  • “I help fitness trainers help more clients without advertising online” – Vince Delmonte
  • “The only ghostwriting service that guarantees a minimum of 20,000 organic Twitter followers in 60 days or we work for free until we do + get you an extra 10,000 followers at no extra charge to you.” – Dakota Robertson
  • “After $300m in sales, I’m the only dude on Twitter that guarantees to increase your conversion rate or I will pay YOU.” – Dylan Ander

6/ Creating Value

Now that you’ve identified your niche, you’ve validated that there’s opportunity to help them and make money in exchange, you can start figuring out the content that resonates with them.

A part of your interview process in step 2 required you to ask questions. Think about the challenges or goals they explained which you can build a content piece on.

Create an Excel Spreadsheet and just list down as many ideas as you can by viewing other competitors and looking at their engagement, joining Facebook groups of your ICP to see what they talk about, and taking ideas from your interview questions.

7/ Picking A Channel

One of my favorite interview questions to ask is “Which social channels do you spend most of your time on online?”

This will help you identify which channel/s to double down on.

My suggestion is not to overwhelm yourself here and focus on 1-2 channels max when starting out.

When I asked this question when targeting dentists they confirmed that they had spent most of their time on Facebook & Instagram because that’s where other dentists were sharing ideas.

And so guess what I did? I focused on Facebook & Instagram.

8/ Funnel Strategy

Its one thing to create content, its another to create content that your niche cares about and can resonate with depending on where they are in the buying-cycle.

I’ve broken this down into 3 categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Each of these stages will bucket your users based on their buying-intent and how well they know your brand/product, and the content you need to promote in order to get them to buy.

Funnel Strategy Breakdown:

  • Awareness: Here is where people don’t know you and where you need to create the interest in having your niche know your brand, your product and the value you can offer.
  • Consideration: Here is where there is already interest for your product or service, and you simply need to capture the interest. These are channels like Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook Groups, etc.
  • Decision: Here is where your users are interested in buying from you. This is typically where you convert users on your website, phone/video call, e-commerce store, or anything you use to convert the user into a paying customer.

In the awareness stage here is where we are taking people who have no clue who we are, have no clue what we do, and may or may not even know that they have a problem which your product solves for.

A good example of this is ‘water floss’. A lot of users may search for a typical dental floss to clean their teeth, but you can capture existing demand by promoting your water flosser as a better alternative to their problem.

In marketing we call this “Damming the Demand”. and its truly effective especially in situations where your product/service is a new category the market is not aware of yet.

I’m going to start bottom to top (Decision -> Awareness) because you need to build a strong foundation.

This is where you want to take the Compelling Offer you’ve created before and add it to your landing page/website/social media page.

 

Decision

You can get away with converting users on a social media page, but I do suggest owning your own website as a form of “Owned Media”. Social media channels don’t last forever, and ensuring your users have a way to engage with you outside of social channels via newsletter/emails is a great step to take.

Consideration

Here is where there is demand for your product. Think about the psychology of someone who is looking to buy a product you are offering. 

What are the types of content or answers they want to hear that will allow them to make a final decision?

  • Case studies
  • Step-By-Step Guides
  • Video Testimonials
  • Product Demonstrations

 

Awareness

In the awareness channel this is where you want to promote your organic content. What I suggest here is promoting tips & tricks and value suggestions and advise based on work you’ve done that they will consider of value.

Whether it be a video on Instagram or a written post on Twitter, pick the channel your users are, and promote the type of content based on how your users want to digest that content.

One thing to keep in mind is to not be afraid to promote your organic post. Its becoming increasingly difficult as social channels become more saturated and as they become more popular they start to lower their organic reach to pressure users to advertise.

The organic reach for a lot of social channels is dwindling, and so don’t be afraid to advertise your organic content.

9/ Sales Closing

Now assuming you’ve booked an appointment with your prospect its time to identify how you can close your prospect using a simple tip.

The beauty of inbound leads is they already know who you are, they most likely already trust you especially if your content is relevant to their needs.

This means you have to do very little when closing the deal. Most of your conversation will entail taking a deeper dive into their specific needs and tailoring your solution to how you can solve it.

Note: Do NOT sell during your sales calls, focus on understanding their needs. 

 I like to go above an beyond and put together a customized presentation because this will allow them to get on a video call with you where you can build trust by turning on your web cam.

Summary

The main goal is to focus on understanding your audiences needs. There will always be money to be made so long as there’s problems to solve, and starting a service-based business is the easiest approach to take.

Low expenses, high margins, higher retention, and a lot of revenue potential.

Once you’ve identified your audiences needs now its all about creating content they care about.

Learn to engage with other audience members content as well to build a relationship. Comment insightful responses and ideas as this will entice them to view your profile and content as well.

Bonus Tip

  • Build a personal brand over a business brand. People trust people more than they trust businesses.

Launching a service-based business isn’t easy, but if you have the skillset and you position yourself in the market correctly, its one of the most rewarding businesses you can have.