One of the joys of running a professional service business is knowing that your unique perspective, insight, intuition and creativity is part of what makes your company unique.
The more you deliver your services, you start to see patterns and processes emerge that consistently solve key problems your customers face.
If you want to run an efficient and profitable professional services company, you may want to consider productizing your services.
Productized Service: A Definition
I define productizing your services as:
“Documenting and sequencing a typical service engagement in a way that either another person or a technology system can deliver it at a set price.”
For example, if you are an accountant and regularly set up Quickbooks for your clients, you could create a do-it-yourself guide so your clients could set the software up themselves, at a fraction of your cost and time.
If you are a coach that helps job seekers re-do their LinkedIn profiles, you could set up a fill-in template with prompts that helps them create the first draft.
In each of these cases, you are using both process and technology to do the parts of your service that don’t require you teaching it or doing it every time. This frees you up to weigh in on the parts that do require your human perspective — like working with your clients through blocks or emotions, analyzing voice and story and seeing higher-level patterns.
In some cases, you can work yourself out of the picture entirely, with do-it-yourself guides that can scale endlessly.
How do you Productize Your Service?
If you are interested in following the path of productized services, I recommend you do two things:
- Thing 1: Start small
- Thing 2: Productize one service at a time
With those things in mind, here are the steps:
Step 1: Document
You may be so close to the way that you coach or design a flyer or give financial advice that you don’t realize all that is involved.
If you are comfortable writing, you can imagine someone is in front of you asking “If you were working with a new client, what is the first thing you would do? Then the next? Then the next?”
If writing is hard, try talking it out on video or audio, then having it transcribed.
Step 2: Create models, processes and frameworks
Once your process or method is laid out, now you want to group tasks into stages or steps. One tool for doing this is Scope, Block and Tackle.
Most models work best with 3-5 phases or steps so that they don’t become overwhelming.
At each phase or step, group the tasks your customer needs to complete, and match it with templates or tools you use in your work. You may find that you need to create these templates or tools, if you have had them in your head while delivering the service.
Step 3: Architect customer journey
Once your model or process for delivering a service is clear, then map out all the steps your potential client needs to take to connect with you to talk about working together, to select the right service, to get onboarded, to do the work itself, then to complete the work and get their desired outcome.
Step 4: Automate, automate, automate
Once you see the entire customer journey, use automation like Customer Relationship Management tools (CRM), project management or document management tools like Notion and financial tools that automate payment.
Automate any tasks that do not have to be done by a human, and simplify steps
Step 5: Package, price and deliver
Once your whole customer journey has been automated and your productized service is organized, select the package and pricing model that will make it easy to understand, purchase and implement.
I often hire a graphic designer or copywriter at this stage to give it a polished look.
It will take some time to transform your human-guidance-heavy service into a productized service, but when you do, you will find that you can serve more clients, more consistently for more money.
Totally DIY productized services can scale to meet the needs of your market that is far beyond what you or your expanded team could do.