This Year, Work With More Clients In Less Time

This Year, Work With More Clients In Less Time

In the case of somebody who runs a successful bar and grill, if the scarce thing they offer is a great environment to drink whisky and beer and they’re spending a fortune making chicken sandwiches, they could probably spend less money making chicken sandwiches and still have the place be what they need it to be.

-Seth Godin

Many small professional service firms associate providing “custom services” with good client service. It seems like a win-win. Clients love high touch, personalized service and we love the feeling of control we get as service providers.

But doing a completely custom project for each and every client can be expensive, which leads to its own set of problems. Problems such as doing time consuming, expensive work at razor thin margins. Or pricing-out clients that you’d otherwise love to work with.

Standardizing Your Business the Right Way

One answer to this dilemma is standardization. Small business owners sometimes bristle at the word standardization. What I’m recommending here is not the kind of standardization that leads to inflexible, impersonal service. Rather, I suggest the kind of standardization that streamlines some aspects of your services so you can focus on the parts of your services that are most important to your clients.

For example, let’s say you own a web design business. Your clients love your company’s ability to create beautiful websites that perfectly capture their brands. But there’s a problem. Your clients are responsible for writing the content for their websites, but they often need direction about how to write copy and what to write. You know that your clients don’t have budget to hire a copywriter, so helping out with content is something that you and your employees have always built into your projects.

Unfortunately, content tasks are time consuming. Your employees might spend up to 25% to 50% of their time for a project on the copywriting alone. Their time would be much better spent designing, an area where they excel, rather than on tasks that drain their energy and time.

One way to address this issue is to standardize the copywriting part of your web design projects. Instead of having your employees coach your clients through the content creation process, you can create a worksheet that gives your clients all the information that they’d normally get in the one-on-one coaching sessions. The worksheet includes answers to all the typical questions that clients ask about content creation, along with all the tips, tricks and time lines that you would normally share in the in-person coaching sessions. This worksheet can address the majority of the copywriting challenges that your clients are likely to encounter, and allows you to focus on what your clients are really paying you to do: designing their website.

Balancing Customization & Standardization

You can probably name at least one service, if not more, which you can streamline and standardize, to better provide your core services. So how do you decide whether you could standardize parts of your services? A great place to start is to look at the projects that you’ve completed recently. Think about the different services that you included in those projects.

  • What parts of those projects did the clients really need from you?
  • What parts of those projects were less important to your clients (or not important at all)?

Your answers will help you figure out what parts of your services to customize and what parts to standardize.

Standardization: How You Can Save Time in 2015

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we never have enough time. This year, take a look at how you can standardize your services. You might just end up with more time and more clients.

This article was excerpted from The Time To Grow: 4 Paths To Simplifying & Growing Your Business. You can download the entire ebook here.



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