7 Hacks to Help You Scale Your Service Business in Its First Year
- March 15, 2019
- By: Vonigo
This article about scaling your new service business is by Michael Deane, Editor at Qeedle, a small business magazine.
Starting a new service business can be tough. But, it’s even tougher if you’re doing it on your own.
It’s not your regular 8-hour job, but you knew that already. It can require working long hours, grinding, and a lot of stress.
And as the number of customers increases, it becomes even more complicated.
So, the question is, how do you grow and scale your business while still managing to carve out some time for yourself?
1. Hire the Right People
You can’t and shouldn’t do everything yourself.
It may seem impossible to find somebody who’ll take care of things as well as you do. But don’t let this kind of perfectionism drag you into the trap of biting off more than you can chew.
Instead of trying to be a one-person-band, you should think about hiring the best and most qualified people. Start by hiring for the easiest jobs to delegate and train people for. Meanwhile, keep high-value planning and sales work for yourself.
That’s the only way to foster growth and make sure that everything will be taken care of even when you’re not around. Here are some hiring tips that can help you build the right team.
2. Use Automation Tools
These days you can automate a lot of tedious, repetitive tasks, and focus on running and growing your business.
Here are a couple of processes that you can automate and make your entrepreneurial life at least a little easier:
- Scheduling appointments. For service companies, software that offers online booking can save a lot of administration time, and help to convert a lot of new customers that value convenience.
- Confirming appointments via email, invoicing, and payments can all be automated as well. Save your team’s time for more revenue-generating duties like sales and customer support.
- Centralize your communication with your field teams by having all of the pertinent info for your scheduled jobs, including driving directions, all in one place.
- Social media management. With tools like Buffer, you can schedule your social media posts in advance and make sure that your audience gets valuable content, without having to worry that you’ll forget to post updates.
- Task and project management. Tools like Asana or Basecamp help you keep track of all your and your team’s to-do lists, delegate tasks, and prevent bottlenecks.
3. Find a Reliable Accountant
Many small businesses operate on a tight budget with slim margins.
What’s even worse than not having enough money is spending it on unnecessary things.
Poor cash flow management is the number one reason why small businesses go under – 82% of them fail within the first 1-5 years.
Similarly, filing your taxes correctly and on time is another challenge which can result in unnecessary audits and legal troubles if not dealt with in a timely fashion.
A reliable and seasoned accountant can oversee your VAT and tax filing and cash flow, but you can also pick their brain when it comes to other business and financial decisions that you have to make. Should you lease or buy your equipment? When is the right time to expand your team or your market?
4. Promote Your Service Business on Social Media
No matter how small your business is, you still need to be active on at least one social media channel.
Social media marketing is still among the most effective and affordable ways of promoting your business and connecting with potential customers.
Nowadays people want to check out any business online before they decide to book with them. They run background checks on review sites and visit websites to learn more.
And if there’s no information about your business, they become suspicious about its credibility and trustworthiness.
Of course, you need to have decent and relevant content to share with your audience on social media and keep them engaged, so you can either find time to write about your experiences as an entrepreneur or outsource this task to a freelancer.
Pro Tip: Any social media account you have will also become a de facto customer support channel. If you can resource for it, consider using a tool like Facebook Messenger to handle incoming inquiries for a personal touch. Customers can get their questions answered quickly before jumping into your online booking engine to schedule a job.
5. Team Up With a Complementary Business
You can expand your reach and grow your audience by forming a strategic partnership with a complementary business.
It’s a win-win situation for both establishments, as it allows you to offer your respective audiences comprehensive experiences.
For example, if you’re running a cleaning company, you can offer an introductory rate to customers of a local moving company (and vice versa).
It also means that you can, in a way, double your marketing budget. By offering complementary services and getting exposure on each other’s email lists and/or websites, you can reach a much larger audience for very little extra effort.
6. Run a Giveaway
People love freebies.
Besides, by giving your audience something for free, you practically tap into the power of reciprocity principle. That’s a psychological mechanism which subconsciously urges your prospects to purchase something from you or send you referrals in return for the gift, discount, or merch you gave them.
For example, a cleaning company who offers a free hour of cleaning to their followers who reshare their social media post. They will gain exposure as well as potentially land some profitable new customers. Or consider physical goods as giveaways too: a free sponge with every window cleaning appointment? A floating cooler with your first booking of a pool cleaning?
7. Get Business Citations
Every new business has to spread the word about itself.
Besides social media channels and ads, you can also take advantage of local business citations.
A local citation is defined as every mention of a particular business. These mentions might include a business’ name, phone, and address either in local directories, other websites, or social media.
So, it’s a good idea to list your business in both online and offline business directories. Explore your local chamber of commerce, local papers, and magazines for link or listing opportunities.
This way you’ll give your SEO a boost. Search engines are more likely to show your business among the results for relevant searches.
Don’t NAP on the Details
It’s important to ensure the consistency of NAP – name, address, and phone. Google uses these details for geo-targeted searches and sending potential customers your way.
As you can see, these hacks are fairly simple and affordable. Yet they can be of critical importance for the survival and growth of your service business.
Want to learn more about how service business software with online booking, scheduling, invoicing and billing can transform your business? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo.
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