When you’ve established yourself offering a service to your clients, the next step is to grow your business. You’ll want to continue marketing your existing service and bringing in new clients who are interested, but you’ll likely reach a point eventually where you need to offer a little more. Branching out to provide an additional service can be an easy way to increase your business.
Just how you should expand is a question for each individual business owner, because the logical next step for one company won’t work for the next. However, these approaches will help you identify some ideas for services that you may be able to offer.
1. Frame an Existing Service for a New Audience
You may have started out by offering your core service to a very specific set of potential clients. That’s great, particularly at first, because you can focus in on marketing efforts that will reach those specific people. In the long term, though, you may find that you’re having to work harder to reach new audiences that aren’t already familiar with your service.
A logical response is to start marketing your service to another audience. Just how difficult a proposition this type of expansion is depends on the niche you’ve been working in and where you want to expand to. If you’ve been focusing on one geographic area, expanding to another may be as simple as spending time in that area networking and working on improving your search engine rankings for service providers in that location. But if you’re moving between industries, it can be tougher: you may have to invest a fair bit of time into learning the jargon of that industry and into figuring out where you can market effectively to prospects.
2. Offer an Entry Level Version of Your Service
Depending on what you offer to do for your clients, you may find that some of the people you work with want an even more inclusive package, that takes care of the work that leads up to the point where you normally step in. You can take things to an even more basic level if need be. Some prospects may be looking for an exploratory or entry level version of your service to establish exactly what they need done in the first place.
Handling more basic work may not be the most exciting way to expand your business, but it may be exactly what your clients are looking for. Focus on the questions your clients may be asking and, if they’re at a more basic level, explore the process they follow before they come to you. You may find an opportunity to form an even longer relationship with your clients.
3. Offer an Advanced Level Version of Your Service
On the flip side of offering a basic option to your clients, you can offer a more advanced version of your service. A client who has some internal know-how to handle a project, for instance, may just want someone to provide the strategy or high-level planning to get that project rolling.
Such services often mean lower-paying projects, but they also usually mean that you’ll spend significantly less time working with a particular client. By offering a service that assumes your clients can handle more of the work internally, you may be able to fit a few projects into your schedule that wouldn’t have fit if you needed to handle every single step yourself.
4. Look at the Next Steps Your Clients Take
What does a client do after he pays you for the services you’ve provided? Does he have to take the work to someone else to handle the next step? Providing an all-inclusive package, where all the necessary steps are taken care of may prove very appealing to your clientele. Looking at the process each of your clients follows can require some serious research, but your clients may be willing to help with anything that will make their lives easier.
5. Consider Your Training Options
If you’re an expert providing a specific service, you may find that there are other people who want to learn from you. They can range from people who want to handle the sorts of projects you work on in-house to people who want to start their own businesses.
Teaching other people how to compete with you can be a tricky proposition: you want to make sure that you’re not going to lose out on client work that you want. But if you’re confident that your students will focus on niches or clients that you’re not interested in — or if you can maintain a competitive advantage while still providing training — it can make sense to teach your trade to others. It’s worth noting that training can be a difficult service to provide, because you’ll need to produce training materials and you may be targeting a client base that is quite different than who you’ve worked with before. However, it can also be very lucrative: teach a class full of students can mean that you’re collecting fees from a whole room full of people, rather than just one at a time.
Choosing Between Options
You may have come up with more than just one service you’d like to start offering. If that’s the case, you’ll have to decide which option to pursue first — developing multiple services at once is a tough proposition at the best of times. Certain of the options on the table are likely to require less effort than others. It makes sense to go after these pieces of low-hanging fruit first, because you can get up to speed, offering these services and earning money from them, faster than the alternatives.
If one of your options is something that your existing clients will clearly want, it may be an obvious starting point. If marketing your new service is just a question of sending an email around to the people you’ve already worked with (and made happy), then you’ll be up and running almost immediately. It’s hard to discount the benefits of that sort of approach.