Top 5 Steps to Launch a Profitable Service Business
By: Shane Bender
Have you thought about starting your own business? Do you have a side business but want to be more profitable and go full time? Or have you launched a full-time business but it has not been successful?
Business owners, freelancers, and solopreneurs are growing. A Forbes article, says that business ownership will skyrocket in the next 10 years. An Intuit research report claims that that U.S. small business over the next decade will grow from 30 million in 2016 to over 42 million in 2026. Another study mentioned in a Fast Company article states that by 2020 that more than 40% of the Amercian workforce will be independent workers which include business owners, freelancers, contractors, and solopreneurs.
There are many reasons I recommend doing this. You can make more money, have a more flexible work schedule, do more of the work you love, and make a much larger impact in your area of expertise.
If this is you, I have been there. In the past 18 months, I have enjoyed the adventures of entrepreneurship and have launched a profitable business. I definitely have much more to learn and continually look for ways to develop, grow, and add value to others. Below are 5 steps that have worked and will help you be more successful.
1. Save a 6 Month Emergency Fund
You should strive to go full time as quickly as possible. This is too risky if you have to borrow money or don’t have any savings. Anyone should have an emergency fund that lasts at least six months. If this will take you a couple years or seems impossible, I would recommend Dave Ramsey’s book “Total Money Makeover”. Sometimes selling a vehicle, downsizing, or possibly refinancing your house can help you get there quickly. If you have a goal to save this much to launch your business, the intense focus on this goal will help it happen faster.
2. Focus on Goals
Now once you have decided to go full time, you really don’t have much time to waste. You have six months. The good news is that once you get your first client, it will increase your runway before you run out of money. I personally used “The Freedom Journal” to help me launch my own business. I have written about this a few times. Check out “5 Reasons to Focus on Your #1 Goal for 100 Days“. This journal will help you set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. The journal and the focus will keep you on track. It does take discipline but so does starting a new business.
3. Network Plan
Now, I am assuming that your number one goal is probably that you need clients and revenue. So how do you do this? It is important to have a networking and prospecting plan. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce for events in the area. Luncheons are a great place to start. Network with everyone because you don’t know who they know. Check out meetup.com for events and meetings near you. Look into professional organizations for networking.
Also, be sure to use LinkedIn to help you network. You can join groups and meet people easily this way. I found scheduling lunches and coffees to be helpful. Plan on scheduling two or three a week. You can do more at first. There is something very special about a face to face meetings. It is much easier to find out who they know and build your network. Write a short email to invite them and explain why in would benefit them. Get their mobile number if you haven’t met them before. You never know if you are running late or the restaurant is packed.
4. Prospect Process
Now you will probably find that you will meet many people but it does not turn into new business that easily. You have to follow-up. I have had some clients close with just a couple meetings or phone calls and others that have taken over six months of just following up. Timing is very important. At first, I used Excel to keep track of everyone but that is not a good long term solution. Now, I use Vipor to keep track of contacts because it is affordable and works well with my iPhone and Mac. I also have heard good things about Zoho and Contactually.
There really is no lack of affordable software solutions to help you stay organized. You just need something that will help you categorize your contacts, help you keep notes about important conversations, and remind you to follow-up. You also need to block time on your calendar each week to work on business development.
5. Forecast Your Profits
I am especially excited about this. Although revenue is extremely important, so is managing your expenses, maximizing your cash flow, and growing your profits. Are you wondering how to do this? If so, you have come to the right place. There are many articles I have written on this topic. One recent blog post I wrote is called “Profit Matters“.
If you want to know more about this, I invite you to be a Founding Member of a course called “Forecast Your Profits“. Click the link to learn more. I will be sending out details of a free Webinar called “5 Steps to Take Control of Your Business Finances in 30 Days (Simplify, Focus, and Grow Profits).
You Want 5 More Steps?
When I first thought about writing this, I came up with 10 steps to launch a successful service business. I have created a free downloadable PDF that gives you these 5 listed above and 5 more. You can print this out to motivate and focus yourself on reaching your dreams. You never know the people you can impact for the good. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Find your calling and gain your independence.
Click below and I will email you a link for you to download.