The idea of working for oneself circles the brain for more reasons than potential earnings, supposed freedom, and pure thrill – it does so because at some point we need to have our personal touch on business direction, and feel the joy of creating businesses that make a difference. Truly, no one knows business potential like each and every one of us does.
Beyond mere potential though, are the elements that make businesses successful; two of which are marketing and product creation. Last month I wrote about the differences between product-based businesses and service-based businesses in my given industry – forestry. At the risk of creating an “easier said than done” situation, in this post we’ll explore some tips and steps for taking a service-oriented business, and marketing it as (or making it) a product.
#1: Market Your Services As A Product
My biggest fear in creating a consulting business based on carrying out a service – in my case a service to both business and ecosystems – is that it is seen as an extra or mere option. To quell such fear, offer the service as a product, meaning that it must have positive consequences both long- and short-term.
The best way to carry out this transfer is to research and outline the consequences of ignoring your service. Cite law, case studies, and true benefits of your service. Incorporate them into your mission statement, as it is very important that you believe in them yourself. Lastly, market the ways in which your services make businesses run smoother, attract investment, and foster confidence and development.
When your system has been in place long enough, you may want to approach regulation that would make your business a necessity. An example of a service built on necessity is Environmental Assessment consulting: when development requires assessment to continue, the service deliverable becomes a valuable product.
#2: Diversify Your Services
Diversify your services not just for name and fame – but do so for multiple, viable revenue streams. Importantly, spreading your butter too thin may be worse than building a crap business to start with.
Identify people and trends that relate to your idea, and build them into your business plan. Integral to this are people you can trust to build your business alongside you; those who work in a niche which you may not be very familiar with. You must be familiar enough to know how to market and identify opportunities, then trustful enough to pass the task on to your business partner.
…and #3: Better Than Trend-catching is…
In fact, MUCH better than trend catching is trend CREATION. As with my first point, if you can take a mere trend, and make it a requirement you would be golden.
It’s a tough world out there. Not only are we seeing real signs of economic stagnation, but even the top performing businesses are cutting costs everywhere. Nowhere is this more evident in Canada than in the business I have the pleasure of partaking in, the forest and timber industry. But, hidden within the fact that the industry and its funding sources are in the crapper is the fact that we are in a time open to innovation and change, a.k.a the best time to build business.
Be that change, make that innovation, and most importantly, use it to follow your dreams.
Helpful Links: Initial Steps, Management Help (more to browse within), and Canada E-business training.
Torbjørn Rive is the writer and owner of Variable Interest. Variable Interest is also a member of the Brazen Careerist blog network.