Your business is like a soufflé. Without the right foundation, the right tools, the right actions taken at the right time and the right ingredients, it’ll fall flat. And no one likes a flat soufflé.
I’ve learned the key to a thriving, multiple six-figure service-based business is building on a solid foundation. Taking a thoughtful and methodical approach from the start will help you avoid countless headaches, tears … and a lot wasted money.
Getting to the Heart of Things
I put together a list of questions for you to use as you build a solid foundation for your business. Your answers will help you get to the heart of what you do, for whom you do it and why that matters.
Write out your answers.
Then, take time to digest what you wrote.
Step away for a day or two.
Go back to review and make edits.
When you’re in love with what you’ve written, you’ll be well on your way to a compelling elevator pitch for your business.
Later, you can test out your elevator pitch on the people around you, noting their reactions. If it falls flat, you may not have defined a strong enough customer need yet. Ask lots of people lots of questions about their needs in the area your business covers and what kind of service they’d pay for without a second thought.
Start With You
- Why work for yourself, starting a new business, rather than being someone else’s employee?
- What skills are you bringing to the table and how do they serve your client?
- What skills do you need to learn to raise the bar of the service you provide?
- Are you comfortable taking on all of the responsibilities for every aspect of your business? And are you ready to take the blame for every problem that may arise?
- Why solve the particular problem that your service-based business will address?
- What are your core values and how will they be visible in the daily operations of your business?
Define Your Business
- What problem do you solve?
- What do you do differently or better than your competitors?
- Describe your services.
- Okay, so someone wants to book you to do what you do. Detail the process of working with you. Include:
- How and when payment happens
- Do they get a confirmation email or call from you once payment is complete?
- How and when does scheduling happen? And how last minute or far in advance can a client book you?
- Do you send a reminder before the service happens?
- When do you gather info about the work they require?
- How long will it take to complete the service? (Include travel and cleanup time, if applicable.)
- Is there any follow up with the client?
- How will you collect reviews and feedback about your service?
- How will you prompt your client to book you again?
- What do you need to charge in order to account for your time (prep through wrap-up), your materials, your expertise, taxes, travel expenses (if applicable) and profit?
- What are your hours?
- What’s your business name? (Don’t panic about this! Your client doesn’t really care what you call yourself. What matters more than your business’ name is the quality of work you do.)
Know Your Customers
- Who are your customers? (i.e. Who wouldn’t think twice about paying someone to solve the problem that you solve?)
- Why should they pay you instead of just solving the problem themselves?
- What do they do?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their income?
- Where do they spend time online and; what to they do there? For example, are they on Facebook sharing links to videos? On Pinterest browsing for ideas? On Instagram looking for inspiration or entertainment? (These answers will come into play later with your marketing strategy.)
Here’s the Recap:
- With the right foundation, your business can flourish. Take the time to answer the questions in this article about your own skills and disposition, the problem your business solves, the logistics of how you solve it and the customers you serve.
Being clear-eyed about your business makes decisions about next-steps easy. And without the stress that confusion brings, you can enjoy the journey more.