According to the latest statistics, the vast majority of small businesses offer services. This includes accounting firms, dental clinics, law firms, engineering firms, and so many others. In essence, these businesses sell time, rather than a tangible product. The problem is, time is a limited source and there is only so much you can do within a day. How then can you grow and scale your business if you have reached the limit of hiring additional expensive labor or can no longer outsource some aspects of the service you offer? We share some suggestions on how to monetize your knowledge and in the process grow your business and its product range.
All service companies, such as law firms, rely on the expertise of their owners or employees. People who need your services contact you and you offer your services, for a fee. So, what happens if someone cannot afford your fee or they would like to learn how to fish (instead of being given a fish)?
Rather than take the lazy (or arrogant?) approach of discounting such potential clients as being outside your target market, consider putting together a training package for them so that you can get paid to “teach them how to fish.” They may become less dependent on you in the long term as they master what you have taught them, but you would have earned money that may have slipped through your fingers if you hadn’t created the training program/package.
Offer a DIY service/product
Still building on the concept of people who are interested in your offerings but may not afford your price, we come to the DIY service/product.
For example, if you are an interior designer and charge $5,000 to remodel people’s homes, some clients who prefer the hands-on approach may admire what you do but wish to do it for themselves.
Instead of sending away such people, why not write a how-to eBook or shoot instructional videos which those people can pay for? The customer can then use the guidance you provide to remodel their home’s interior without necessarily having to hire you. It is a win-win for you and the customer, and the bonus for you is that you will have created a dragnet to capture income which would have previously slipped right through your fingers.
Remember, creating the DIY product pays over and over as it becomes a source of passive income. You will therefore be a step closer to being a business owner as opposed to being a business operator (who is, in essence, owned by the business).
Create an offering you can execute TOGETHER with the client
Some potential clients may not have reached a level where they need training to become independent or they may not be inclined to do things themselves. These include firms which are just reaching the growth phase or those that have just hired inexperienced professionals.
For such entities or individuals, you can tailor a product/service which involves your business performing certain aspects of the work while some components are handled by your client. For example, a lawyer can develop templates (draft purchase agreements, for example) and the client can customize the terms of those templates in order to suit the specific circumstances of each client they deal with.
Another example of this collaborative undertaking is when an HR firm designs the job descriptions for positions that their client is hiring for. The client can then advertise the positions and interview candidates to fill those roles. You get paid for what you have done and the client saves some money (while gaining valuable experience) by taking on some of the work.
You would have lost this money if you had been rigid and insisted that you have to handle the entire recruitment process for your client.
Design a service/product that you execute on behalf of the client
We all agree that not every prospective client will have the competence or interest in getting their hands dirty while performing certain functions their business requires. For example, not many small business owners have an interest in tackling the complexities associated with doing bookkeeping or filing tax returns.
This presents you with a great opportunity to package your services in a way that takes care of the client’s business so they don’t have to be bothered by it. As an accountant, for example, you can market a service in which you do bookkeeping on a monthly basis for your clients. This model can be replicated in virtually every service-based industry, and steady income can be earned in this way.
You clients will delay the costlier option of hiring in-house accounting help, and you will have predictable monthly income by helping out.
Map out the needs of your customer’s clients and address some of them
This approach requires you to do some serious homework as it entails identifying the needs of the target market of your clients, and then offering to address some of those needs. You need to work out how to share the income earned this way with your client who provided access to their customers that bought your services.
For example, if you offer marketing services to a law firm, you can offer to do content marketing for the clients of that law firm. The income earned from offering such services can then be split according to a formula you agree upon. If the law firm trusts you enough to buy your services, they are likely to help their clients by recommending a reputable service provider like you since the success of their clients means that the law firm will have more business to conduct with its clients. The commission you offer the law firm will be icing on the cake for them.
As you can see, there are almost infinite ways through which you can monetize the knowledge you currently have and in the process, grow the product offerings of your service-based small business. The suggestions above can be applied in every service industry, and the list is by no means exhaustive. Get creative and come up with your own versions of the options above! Is there another way to monetize your knowledge that we have left out? Share your experience in the comments below!
To Your Success,