So 2020 hit and you decided to go out on your own and create your own service-based business. Congrats! A lot of new entrepreneurs came out of the pandemic and while you’ve had some success, after 2 years you probably are facing a unique problem – how to scale your service-based business.
Scaling a Business Where You Trade Time for Money
One of the most common problems I think most service-based entrepreneurs face is how to effectively grow their businesses when they’re basically trading time for money.
I mean, there’s only so many hours in the day, so only so much work you can take on.
I’ll be 100% honest – I’ve had this same problem.
You can add to your team, but that means hiring, payroll, and so many other things that can cause stress.
(I love my team. That isn’t an issue, but it is a factor why many people hesitate to start there.)
Plus, even when you hire you’ll still hit a cap of how much work you can do.
How can you then actually scale a service-based business to actually be profitable, too?
Scale by Working Smarter, Not Harder
You’ve got to save time where you can.
I’ve learned this lesson too many times to count.
Often I get stubborn in the “one way” I’ve been doing something and I can’t think of another way to do it.
But when you can automate processes within your own business, you’re able to save valuable time.
Think of repetitive – especially administrative – tasks that you don’t enjoy anyway.
Make those easier and save valuable hours in your day so you can focus on growing your business.
The great thing? There are tons of automations available that can make this a whole lot easier for you.
5 Time Saving Automation Ideas
Invest in a CRM
Are you like me and think that you can remember everything?
I’ll brag for a sec – I’ve got a great memory. For a long time, I was able to remember and know exactly what was going on in my business.
But let’s be real. The more clients you have the hardest this gets. And it’s also impossible for someone else to come in and help you because newsflash: they’re not in your head, too.
Make all of your client and prospect communication a whole lot simpler by utilizing a Customer Relationship Management tool.
A CRM will help you keep track of where your prospects are in the sales process and can make communication easier during a project. Send monthly updates, run your billing, and even have them sign their contracts all in one spot.
Make Payments Easy
For the love: don’t make it difficult for people to pay you.
Honestly, as a customer one of my least-favorite things is having to get out the checkbook, write a check, and stick it in the mail.
I’d far rather make a payment online.
99% sure your customers are the same.
Make paying you super simple by using an online payment system. This is where you can research CRMs clearly because you probably want one that can also allow you to send invoices.
If you have monthly packages, it’s even easier to set up recurring, automatic payments so you and your customers don’t have to worry about it every month.
You can also use something like Quickbooks Online that allows you to send invoices and have customers pay by card or bank account.
Whatever you do – just make it easy for you and your customers. Nothing’s worse than having to take hours to bill everyone every month.
Automate Your Calendar
You know that game of “Hey, can you do a call at this time? Oh, how about this other time? What about this time?”
That game is even worse when you’re playing it through a string of emails. Or you’re just playing phone tag trying to find a time when the other person is available.
I have a business line, but I spend so much of my time on other scheduled calls that I know my clients won’t always be able to reach me if they call. I also know that my clients are just as busy and aren’t going to always be available, either.
So how do we match up our calendars?
I use a simple calendar scheduling tool!
Mine runs through my Honeybook (which feeds right into my payments and CRM…see how great one tool can be?), but you can use options like Calendly or Acuity. They all connect to your main Google calendar and allow your prospects and customers to find a time that works for them without all the back and forth.
This one thing in my business has probably saved me at least a week of time over the last 2 and a half years.
Keep Track of Your Team’s To-Dos
Remember how I said I had everything in my head for my projects?
Well, this is where it bit me in the ass first.
As a service-based business, you probably get a lot of tasks through either email or over catch-up phone calls.
The problem with this?
If you don’t WRITE IT DOWN you just might forget to do it.
There are a lot of other project management tools out there and ClickUp is just the best one I’ve ever worked with.
Not only do you have a huge variety of views so you can see your To Dos in the way that makes the most sense for you and your brain, but it’s super easy to break up larger projects and milestones into smaller projects.
ClickUp makes sure I don’t drop any balls and it makes it incredibly easy to communicate tasks to my team.
Plus it just feels really good to mark a task complete.
Make Your Website Do Some Work
All of the above things use third-party tools to save you time, but did you know that your website itself can actually provide some pretty powerful automations in your business?
For one, you can add your call scheduling tool right on a page to allow people to book a call with you immediately. (You can see how I do that on my Start page)
If you have a contact form, you can use Gravity Forms to not only collect and send the form on to you, but also to provide an automated “We got your message” response to your customer. There are tons of integrations that can feed those messages into just about any CRM or project management tool to make your life easier, too.
And of course, you can use your website to build your email marketing list by offering a freebie in exchange for an email.
Building a new website should do a lot to save you time and money if your web developer asks the right questions.
Scaling a Service Business is About Time
Your goal for your business is to grow it, right? At least in some sort of way.
The only way to grow your business is to make it scalable.
The best way to make a service-based business scalable? Save time where you can.
There are a lot of other things we could dig into about packaging your services as products, having the right team, etc, but the first step is always to ensure that you’re spending time on the right things.
Your focus should be on those items that are going to move the needle forward. Not the repetitive tasks that make you hate being an entrepreneur in the first place.
Grab a CRM and some of the above tools and let’s make your life easier!