7 Suggestions for Building a Successful Service Business

These suggestions aren’t hypothetical.  I started a service business with a few hundred dollars 36 years ago and have earned millions in the process of helping my clients grow. Here are 7 suggestions that I have for building a successful service business:

1. Understand “Positioning” – Read “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout and understand where your company fits in the marketplace.  Create a brand.  As a service practitioner for over 36 years, I’ve reinvented my brand several times to maintain our leadership position.


2. Perform consistently – It is critical in order to establish a solid reputation.  Read the “e-myth” by Michael Gerber (my former partner and mentor).  He cites McDonalds Corporation as a consistent and a great model. Their predictability makes customers very comfortable.


3. Believe your value proposition – Without truly believing in the services you provide, you can’t achieve success.  If you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader, then behave like one and recognize that your clients aren’t looking for low prices when they hire you; they’re seeking high value.   Low pricing can kill your business!


4. Time management is essential – You must really get a grip on time management.  Read “How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life,” by Alan Lakein.  Build an organization chart and plug yourself into each job description.  Then allocate times to each function and “job out” or hire others to fill the roles.


5. Keep a daily journal – This helps you “be honest with yourself” and recognize when you aren’t thinking clearly because you’re tired or feeling rejected.  This also helps you separate feelings from facts.  Every successful person I know has kept a diary at one point or another.  And remember, your clients don’t care if you’re tired, sick, or overextended.


6. Be creative – Read “The Courage to Create” by Rollo May.  It describes how we all have the potential for original thinking but are often afraid to take the risks associated with being creative.   It also explains the creative process and shows you how to nurture a creative environment.  I created a business model and writing formula that has allowed me to bring high level product publicity services to small businesses, many who have been hiring us consistently for over 36 years.


7. Learn to say NO –  Read “When I Say No, I feel Guilty” by Manuel J. Smith, Ph.D. You can’t be all things to all people.  Many of us in a service business get involved because we enjoy helping people.  However, there is a limit and there are times you need to “just say no.”  If the client or prospect doesn’t respect your position, that illustrates a lack of respect for your time and expertise.  Believe me, they charge for extra work; they say no.


©  2013  Steven M. Stroum  (All Rights Reserved)

Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned publicist, marketer, and entrepreneur who has been featured in INC Magazine, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Middlesex News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many business and civic groups, and been a guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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