The business services sector provides a wide range of non-financial services to businesses. Some of the most common are advertising, marketing, consulting, travel and facilities services, waste handling, staffing, shipping, administration and security services.
The industry is growing rapidly, mainly as companies expand abroad and enter new markets. The EU has introduced legislation to encourage this growth by making it easier to provide services across borders.
There are several key features that make the business services sector distinct from other sectors of the economy. The first is the focus on customer service.
Unlike product-oriented businesses, service-oriented enterprises often have an ambiguous or abstract way of describing their work. For example, it might be difficult to explain to a potential customer what a management consulting firm does. The business also typically requires a large staff and an in-depth understanding of the client’s problems and goals.
It is a good idea to write down the specifics of the services you plan to offer your customers and what you intend to charge for those services. This will help you avoid a lot of distractions and keep your focus on the business itself.
Many service-oriented businesses are slanted toward meeting the needs of one of two market categories: individual consumers or other businesses/organizations. For example, a pet grooming establishment will not waste its advertising dollars trying to reach other businesses; its primary clients are individual consumers simply because of the nature of the services it offers.
This is because the customer’s satisfaction with the service provider is important to the company’s reputation, and the reputation of a business is directly related to its profits. A business that is unable to meet the needs of its clients or customers may find it hard to survive.
A service-oriented business must therefore focus on providing the type of quality and value that customers want. In order to do this, managers must undergo a fundamental shift in perspective. They must rethink their approach to strategic management, which they have traditionally done through the lens of a product-based picture.
The most important thing that managers must do to manage a service business is to design it well. Just as with product-based businesses, a service business can’t last long if its offering is fatally flawed.
In this chapter, we’ll discuss a framework for managing a service business that focuses on six questions. These questions are based on the traditional tools of business strategy, but they are specifically tailored to service businesses.
Those questions include:
Do you have a strong market position?
A service business is a business that provides a product or service that can be purchased by the customer at a predetermined price. The price of the product can be set by the company, but the pricing of the service can be determined by the customer or to some degree by competition.
Do you have a clear and comprehensive business plan?
A business plan is an essential tool for any type of business, but it is especially critical for a service-oriented enterprise. It provides a guide for the future of the business, and it helps you stay on track with your goals.