Taking Notes – How to Scale Up Your Service Business, SPI 129

Nov 11

Taking Notes – How to Scale Up Your Service Business, SPI 129

I take notes on almost everything I listen to. I always find a nugget of something to use within a podcast and that’s especially true of the Smart Passive Income podcast.

I recently listened to SPI 129, How to Scale Up Your Service Business with Josh Shipp, and took about four pages of notes that I’d like to share with you and my ideas on how it relates to our various businesses. There’s also one big idea that really made me think about my projects and my goals. This is especially helpful to me since I’m more of a renaissance soul / scanner type of person.

First of all, scaling a business is a mindset. Do you want to work for your business or have your business working for you? This all boils down to systems. What systems do you have in place, if any? How can they be changed? What are ways you can add value? The method and the system doesn’t matter. Love the people you serve, not the method of serving them.

This made me think about my systems. I have very loose systems in place. I have a to do list. I have a framework to build blog posts around and complete client work. But I don’t have any real time of system. I just know how to do a task and get it done.

Josh then shared the thought that many people try to shove life into a plan, but what we need to do in our business is to define the life we want and tailor our plan to meet that life.

I’ve done this type of exercise before. I’d written out my ideal work day and my ideal work week. But I’ve never planned out my work to fit that ideal before. I’ve always continued on with the to do lists that never get completed. But the truth is I want to have a three day work week. I want to have all of my blog posts, writing, client work, etc. done on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By the time we’re traveling in the RV full time, that’s what I want to be doing. So this thought has made me rethink my loose systems and my work flow. I’ve been trying to pay more attention to my time this week and I see where I don’t always value my time. So I need to decide what’s more important to me – getting the work done in three days so I can do other things on other days or having some time to goof off or follow a rabbit trail no matter what day it is?

The first thing Josh recommended is to streamline and maximize what’s already working. Have a good foundation before starting to get more customers or clients or implement new ideas. If current systems are sloppy, what happens if new clients come in tomorrow? Will they be served properly?

So I looked my systems I had in place. What’s working? I have a blogging calendar and my to do list. That’s working. I need to use the Pomodoro system more consistently and stay on track when I’m working. I also looked at the number of projects I had in the fire. That obviously wasn’t working. I’d let myself get off track with several of them and I needed to decide – do I drop them or pick them up again later?

More questions he asked:

What happens to your business if you’re gone for two weeks?

What would happen if I got 100 new customers?

Who does what and how do they do it?

What are each persons’ area of responsibility?

This made me think about some responsibility areas that I’ve taken over that I don’t really have to, at least not all the time. Of course it’s different in a business where I am the business. No one else can write my books, but someone else can write a blog post. I can use guest posts or curate content. I can have someone else create graphics for the blog, edit my writing and even format my books for Kindle. Josh suggested making a graph or a mind map showing what needs a human touch and what needs MY touch. There’s a difference, and the business owner doesn’t have to do it all. He suggested writing out a workflow and mapping out who does what.

The next thing Josh recommended is raising prices by 10%. When you raise your prices you change your mindset and you raise your game. In my businesses, I’ve looked at the prices I offer clients for services and raised them. Scott and I are also going through our eBay and Amazon inventory and deciding what prices need to be changed and what can be bundled together.

More questions:

Is your brand consistent? Be clear about your brand. Have clarity instead of cleverness.

Are you offering too many options for services? Can services be bundled together instead of separated?

Could you offer a subscription model of some type, something that allows consistent income month after month?

How can you move outside of people that know me and reach people who don’t know me?

Do you have a client email list?

Find out information from current clients to find out what types of services they need and what they may be interested in. Ask them questions like:

  • What do you need recurring help with? (This gives you ideas for recurring income.)
  • What challenges are in your life? (This will give you ideas for other products and services to offer.)
  • What product or service do you wish we offered? (Same idea as above.)
  • How would you describe us to someone you care about? (We can be unclear about what we do and who we are but when others describe the business it helps us understand what’s important. This also points to a clear brand articulation.)

After getting back information from current customers, build out a draft of ONE concept to test. This is important. Just pick ONE. You may have more than one idea from the information received back, but starting with ONE makes it simpler to start. The idea behind this isn’t to make more money, not right now. The idea behind this test is to see what you’ll learn about your business.

Now it’s time to roll out the idea. Start with ten clients involved. Keep it small. See what happens and if it needs to be tweaked. Document the results. Use the words your clients share with you and their stories to market and sell the product in the future. Use the results to also fine tune the project. Continue to fine tune the project until it’s running smoothly in your workflow and systems.

And there’s the BIG idea that I got from this –

Set a dollar amount for this venture and DON’T MOVE FORWARD until that goal has been reached.

Don’t start another project. Don’t implement another idea. Keep tweaking THIS ONE thing until the goal has been reached or until it’s obvious that it’s not working out. You’ll know when that is. But give it time to work out and make adjustments.

This was really big for me because I tend to jump around so much from one project to another. This idea has helped me to finetune my desired work schedule and choose my priorities.

Once the goal has been reached, then add another idea and use the same plan until it’s reached the goal and everything is running smoothly.

I urge you to listen to this episode of the SPI podcast and take your own notes. What answers do you come up with? Can you have a better workflow and a better schedule?

My goal is to implement a four day work week right now and move into a three day workweek once I get better systems in place.

Have you listened to the podcast? What do you think? et me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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