search
    search

      CEOs Discuss How to Build a Successful Service Business

      Rob Figliulo of SPR

      Rob Figliulo of SPR

      Give your workers productivity tools and software. For a service-based business, your people, their expertise and their talents are your “products.” But in order for them to do their job well, they need to be able to collaborate with their...

      Darlene Hawely of the Attract & Stand Out Podcast

      Darlene Hawely of the Attract & Stand Out Podcast

      The easiest way to create a strong connection with your dream clients and to grow your personal brand and business is to build a strong connection by sharing a story in everything that you do. Jerome Bruner recently said that...

      Brooke Markevicius of Allobee

      Brooke Markevicius of Allobee

      Delegate. Do this as soon as possible. You are not a superhuman, you cannot do it all and that is okay, you are not meant to. Delegate, empower, delegate, and repeat. In order for clients to be happy, you can’t...

      Chelle Neff of Urban Betty

      Chelle Neff of Urban Betty

      Owners should work on the business, not in business. In the first twelve years of owning my salon company, I was still doing hair. And it wasn’t by choice the last five years of that. I was burned out, exhausted,...

      Stephynie Malik of SMALIK Enterprises

      Stephynie Malik of SMALIK Enterprises

      Use Your Touchpoints to Inspire Hearts and Engage Minds. Every interaction you have with your team members or clients is an opportunity to inspire hearts and engage minds. Each meeting, feedback session, call, text, email, or hallway encounter is an...

      Wendy Barlin of About Profit

      Wendy Barlin of About Profit

      Focus on client profitability and not revenue. I spent the first few years in business working so hard to grow my revenue number. I used to think more clients and more revenue would naturally mean more profit for me to...

      Chris Roth of National Technical Institute

      Chris Roth of National Technical Institute

      Understand Your Competitive Advantage With so many similar service businesses in the market, you need to discover what makes your business unique. In my experience, most service-based business “borrow” their former employers set of advantages. Maybe it’s because you are...

      Lisa Reed of Garden of Flavor

      Lisa Reed of Garden of Flavor

      Develop a product or service that customers need or want — Juicers are often given as Christmas gifts and one of the most available products on Ebay after Christmas. Juicing is time consuming and messy, therefore customers enjoy the luxury...

      Coral Darby of Darby Communications

      Coral Darby of Darby Communications

      Always innovate — There’s not a whole lot that changes within the service sector, so if you can figure out a way to deliver to your clients a little differently, that’s a huge differentiator for your business and will keep...

      Rachel Ann Dine of Humanitas Counseling and Consulting

      Rachel Ann Dine of Humanitas Counseling and Consulting

      Provide excellent customer service. Create a policy within your organization of how soon you respond to client inquiries and stick to it. If you don’t currently have someone answering your phones and you’re still covering them, provide alternative ways customers...

      David Kiersznowski of DEMDACO

      David Kiersznowski of DEMDACO

      Start the idea of “service” at home; begin by serving your own employees. I once read that the primary job of a leader was to create the conditions for success to occur. This means serving and equipping your colleague to...

      Carl McManus of Comfort Keepers

      Carl McManus of Comfort Keepers

      Custom service is the future — At Comfort Keepers, we have always seen the value in providing individualized services and care plans. Today, consumers expect services and products that are catered to their needs. One-size-fits-all is a hard sell for...

      Ryan Ayotte of Ohza

      Ryan Ayotte of Ohza

      Make the transaction easy: It takes a ton of effort to get a customer in the door and ready to buy, so do what you can to make things seamless. Offer every payment option available, offer subscriptions or one click...

      Melissa Perkins of Sweet Daddy Designs

      Melissa Perkins of Sweet Daddy Designs

      Know what makes you unique. You’re probably in a very saturated market and in order to make a name for yourself, you’ll need to know what makes you different.

      Ali Payani of LookinLA

      Ali Payani of LookinLA

      Pivot every 3 months: you have to constantly design new strategies for your company and test them. My rule is that if the new strategy, plan or service that you proposed, worked in three months, continue that otherwise you have...

      Bimal Shah of Rajparth Achievers

      Bimal Shah of Rajparth Achievers

      Standing out from the rest: No service business can succeed if you are not clearly showing as to how you are standing out from the rest. If you are just another service provider, you become a commodity where the only...

      Rachel Apfel Glass of GLOSSLAB

      Rachel Apfel Glass of GLOSSLAB

      Create your own happiness. Connect with your customers and employees often. Practice gratitude.

      Phil Ahad of Toluna

      Phil Ahad of Toluna

      We are focused on continuing to democratize research and deliver consumer behavior and sentiment in real-time. In an uncertain world, knowledge is power — and critical to success. Things are changing so quickly that if you are unable to get...

      Mike Davis of 1–800-JUNKPRO

      Mike Davis of 1–800-JUNKPRO

      If you’re thinking about starting a business simply for the money — don’t. Be slow to hire and quick to fire — and treat the team members you keep like the gold they are. Listen to your customers and always,...

      Kate Wallace of Kate Wallace Writing + Story Strategies

      Kate Wallace of Kate Wallace Writing + Story Strategies

      Prioritize Existing Clients: You know that old expression, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? I’m not calling my clients birds, but there’s a lot of truth to it. Research has found that it’s many times...

      Jason Lohoff of Master Rooter

      Jason Lohoff of Master Rooter

      Have a reason to start your business. I want to make more money is not a reason. I personally saw other companies struggle in certain areas where I knew I would not make the same mistake, so I decided to...

      Dr. Margaret Rogers Van Coop

      Dr. Margaret Rogers Van Coop

      Depending on the type of business, one must first know self and ones weaknesses. Those weaknesses can be turned into strengths. So ideally, we must fail before we realize what success means. Most millionaires have walked that pathway. But at...

      Zach Boyette of Galactic Fed

      Zach Boyette of Galactic Fed

      Don’t be cheap when it comes to employee education and learning. We spend months on-boarding new hires to make sure they’re at the top of their game before throwing them in the deep end.

      Stewart Vernon of America’s Swimming Pool Company

      Stewart Vernon of America’s Swimming Pool Company

      When you first start, go beyond the scope of the job to “wow” the customer. In my early days of business, when we were slow and only had a few customers, we would pressure wash their pool decks for free....

      Erin Trafford of  DIY Passion Media

      Erin Trafford of DIY Passion Media

      Don’t get stuck on labels. Just because you can’t define what you do, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. I struggled for the longest time with what to call myself. Am I a business strategist? A content strategist? Again, start...

      Franceska McCaughan of The Hotel Florist

      Franceska McCaughan of The Hotel Florist

      Determine how you can add the most value to your industry. Often times we bench mark our success based on what our competition is doing. While competition is important (it shows that there is a demand for your product and...

      Valerie Bihet of VIBE

      Valerie Bihet of VIBE

      I want to inspire people to build their own business. I want to give back to the community with all that I have learned from starting and growing my own brand and company. If I had someone when I started...

      Stephan Fortier of GrapeStars

      Stephan Fortier of GrapeStars

      The most successful people I’ve met are not necessarily the biggest scholars or thinkers, but they are the biggest doers. They act first, and then readjust with more actions if need be. They don’t spend unnecessary time talking or thinking...

      Mitch Chailland of Canal HR

      Mitch Chailland of Canal HR

      Keep employee morale on the positive side. Your employees are the face of your company. When they feel good about your business, your customers will take note.

      Ryan Combe of Steel Coated Floors

      Ryan Combe of Steel Coated Floors

      If I had to narrow it down to one I would go with a phrase I tell myself almost every day… “It isn’t the failed ventures that will keep you up at night, it’s passing on the hits.” I tell...

      Pia Silva of Worstofall Design

      Pia Silva of Worstofall Design

      Everything is a learning opportunity, so don’t be afraid to try things. There is only so much you can learn from watching and reading, in the end, you won’t know which strategies will work for your business unless you try...

      Michael Welch of Blackcircles.com

      Michael Welch of Blackcircles.com

      Don’t let the stress cloud the enjoyment of building your business. It’s a cliché but for me, the most enjoyable phase is probably the most stressful one! So, take time to reflect and appreciate the progress you are making. The...

      Jonathan Murrell, CMO of The Escape Game

      Jonathan Murrell, CMO of The Escape Game

      Have empathy. It’s elementary but put yourself in the guests’ shoes and ask, “How would I want to be treated in this situation? How would I want to feel in this situation? What would I want someone to say to...

      Matthew Schechner of Essential Advisory Services

      Matthew Schechner of Essential Advisory Services

      Purpose is everything. It’s what gets you out of bed every morning. For us, it is about being able to cross spheres into zones where the industry isn’t headed yet and tearing down walls rather than building them up. You...

      Eric Langshur of AVIA

      Eric Langshur of AVIA

      We also believe in that old expression that culture eats strategy for lunch — every time! Accordingly, we make an out-sized investment in building culture and have myriad programs that drive it.

      Ed Kane of Big Night Nightlife

      Ed Kane of Big Night Nightlife

      Empower your employees — It is essential that every single employee feels a part of something greater. Something important. Something where they directly contribute to the success of the business.

      Drew Uher of HomeLight

      Drew Uher of HomeLight

      The single most important thing a new founder or CEO should know to create a successful business is that it’s all about team chemistry.

      Andrea Norfolk of Shoreline Destinations

      Andrea Norfolk of Shoreline Destinations

      Grow smartly — If the right infrastructure isn’t in place to handle growth, it will lead to poor customer service. As mentioned, I’ve been strategic in growing this agency only to a certain point. I don’t need 50 agents. I...

      Andre Gaccetta of G7 Entertainment Marketing

      Andre Gaccetta of G7 Entertainment Marketing

      The first step is to concisely define your value proposition and develop a way to effectively communicate it. From there you’ve got to define your business culture and stick to it. Once you’ve articulated your vision and defined your business...

      Dr. Shawn Dill and Dr. Lacey of The Specific Chiropractic Centers

      Dr. Shawn Dill and Dr. Lacey of The Specific Chiropractic Centers

      Know your destination. Most service-based businesses think they are in the business of serving. But that may not be the case. In fact, you won’t be in business very long if you are just serving to serve.

      Joey Pointer of Fleet Feet

      Joey Pointer of Fleet Feet

      It all starts with people. Many companies talk about being customer-obsessed. While I believe that is important, I believe that we should be employee obsessed. I have long believed that the customer comes second. How can we possibly ask our...

      Todd Conklin of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties

      Todd Conklin of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties

      Clarity: As a leader, you need complete clarity, in high definition, of what you are trying to accomplish. Without it, you will struggle to tell your story and, not only will no one follow you, but you will fall prey...

      Jay Reeder of VoiceNation

      Jay Reeder of VoiceNation

      Assembling the Right Team: Regardless of how good an idea is, if the right people aren’t in place to implement, it won’t matter. Focus on surrounding yourself with the best team possible and everything else will fall into place.

      Eric Einhorn of On Site Opera

      Eric Einhorn of On Site Opera

      Stay nimble and flexible. Each venue in which we perform requires a completely new approach to production and audience experience. If we were too rigid to adjust in the wake of the distressing camel calf (see above), On Site would...

      Andrew Alfano of Retro Fitness

      Andrew Alfano of Retro Fitness

      You need to surround yourself with a diverse slate of smart, talented leaders. Leaders who think differently than you and are willing to challenge and tell you the unvarnished truth. Your business will grow far faster if you surround yourself...

      Andre Filip of ELA

      Andre Filip of ELA

      Get your ego out of the way. Stay open and keep learning. You have to stay on the bleeding edge of what is current and adapt accordingly. You don’t always know it all, so don’t take it personally.

      George Arison of Shift

      George Arison of Shift

      Great talent still requires management — most great founders are terrible managers so get coaching on how to manage early.

      Fred Hubler of Retainer-based Academy

      Fred Hubler of Retainer-based Academy

      Take time out, especially when you don’t think you can. My best ideas were when I wasn’t in the office. It’s almost counterintuitive, but the year was the best year we’ve had, and I didn’t even come into the office...

      Colleen Werner of LulaFit

      Colleen Werner of LulaFit

      Don’t look for VC money to start or save you. Most of my pure technology-founder friends find it quite shocking that I waited 4.5 years to raise my first round of outside capital. I think when you’re building a product,...

      Allan Wright of Zephyr Adventures

      Allan Wright of Zephyr Adventures

      Stick to what you do best. We have expanded to new areas many times but most times we come right back to our core business.

      Lynn Heublein of SkinSpirit

      Lynn Heublein of SkinSpirit

      Happy staff is equal to happy clients. The services business is personal by nature — everyone loves being around people with lots of energy and positivity. It is so important to create a happy climate for your staff to thrive....

      Laura Radosh Butt of LBR Insight

      Laura Radosh Butt of LBR Insight

      Don’t grow for growth’s sake. Use consultants for the busy times until you can justify and warrant the cost of a new team member. Rushing to add to your team will only lead to frustration and a lack of passion....

      Vasco Borges of Beach Enclave Turks & Caicos

      Vasco Borges of Beach Enclave Turks & Caicos

      Team empowerment. If you hire the right talent and want them to make the decisions on the go, empowerment is key. It is a skill that, unfortunately, is not nurtured enough in hospitality. How many times have all of us...

      Matt Hulett of Rosetta Stone

      Matt Hulett of Rosetta Stone

      Take care of your employees first. If you take care of your team, then they will take care of your customers. Take care of your customers. Set a high bar for customer service, track it and reward your team for...

      Amanda Daering of Newance

      Amanda Daering of Newance

      Never stop mastering your craft. The key to building a successful services business is that your company must be a better option than the three other choices your potential clients have: doing nothing, completing the work themselves and other service...

      Alison Mountford of Ends+Stems

      Alison Mountford of Ends+Stems

      Talk to your customers first. I learned this early on from a friend and mentor. You aren’t your target market so don’t waste money building something you want until you know if people will pay you for your product.

      Joel Thomas of Stratos Jet Charters

      Joel Thomas of Stratos Jet Charters

      I truly believe that the best leaders are the ones who cast the clearest vision for their company. It takes clarity and repetition to make vision stick. At my company, we don’t just hand new hires a training manual with...

      George Birrell of Taxhub

      George Birrell of Taxhub

      You must create a culture of impeccable client service from the beginning. It is important to do this from the get-go because, once this is established, it is naturally spread to all new employees and becomes almost effortless. Creating high...

      Darrin Giglio of North American Investigations

      Darrin Giglio of North American Investigations

      Create Relationships: The more relationships you can build and network you grow, the more long-lasting your business will become. I have built a trusted network of Investigators, contacts and resources all over the world, which have immensely benefited my clients...

      Wade Brannon of Pigtails & Crewcuts

      Wade Brannon of Pigtails & Crewcuts

      It is imperative in a service organization to manage your customers’ expectations. In our business, we have wait times on busy days. We wish we didn’t but it is just a fact of life. Our customers tend to come in...

      Peter Nieves of WINFertility

      Peter Nieves of WINFertility

      I too often learn of people that do not have the funds or benefits to cover the costs of fertility, adoption or surrogacy. With so many people in need I would love to find ways to raise money to help...

      Freddie Laker of Chameleon Collective

      Freddie Laker of Chameleon Collective

      People First. Be maniacal in your approach to recruiting. Insist on being part of the hiring process for every hire. Being smart and knowledgeable should not be enough to get in the door, insist on finding people that will be...

      Eytan Bensoussan of NorthOne

      Eytan Bensoussan of NorthOne

      Show hunger for what you do. Never stop reading and learning about your passion. Nike is a great example of a company with an insane hunger to be the absolute best. Show your competition every time that you’re the best...

      Tim Spiegelglass of Spiegelglass Construction Company

      Tim Spiegelglass of Spiegelglass Construction Company

      Always take the high road. In a service-based business especially, you are your company. Do the right thing, even if it costs you in the short-term. We’ve seen the returns on this approach in the form of long-term relationships and...

      Jonathan Maxim of K&J Growth Hackers

      Jonathan Maxim of K&J Growth Hackers

      Your people are your profit engine. So you need to have backup and overflow team members in case you lose one to a competitor, or need to expand quick.

      Jeff Brunken of MGIS

      Jeff Brunken of MGIS

      Give back in ways that reinforce the value proposition. We provide disability income replacement insurance to healthcare professionals nationally. We recently introduced a coverage option for paying off student loan debt in the event of disability. Student loan debt is...

      Antonia Hock of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center

      Antonia Hock of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center

      Be Highly Differentiated or Perish: I see a lot of leaders who think that their business is special simply because they run them. In services, you must be ruthlessly honest about your position in the market. Are you offering a...

      Abby Sparks of Abby Sparks Jewelry

      Abby Sparks of Abby Sparks Jewelry

      You must make risk a good friend. You have got to be OK with discomfort and risk if you’re going to have your own business. Because there is no path, there is no “right” way; there is only what you...

      Zack Zalon of Super Hi-Fi

      Zack Zalon of Super Hi-Fi

      You can go wide, or you can go deep, but you can’t do both, so choose wisely. As a service business, you can choose to service a wide variety of industries, but you’ll have to offer a very narrow set...

      Nico Hodel of Start It Up NYC

      Nico Hodel of Start It Up NYC

      Under-promise and Over-deliver: Always provide additional perks and value outside of the contract you have in place with clients free of charge. As a service-based business, your clients should always be top-of-mind and any chance to provide additional value should...

      Kim Kaupe of The Superfan Company

      Kim Kaupe of The Superfan Company

      Sleep and Eat Well — Think of yourself as an athlete. If Tom Brady ate McDonalds and got little sleep do you think he’d be playing in the Super Bowl? Definitely not. Think of yourself that same way. You want...

      Justin Goodbread of FinanciallySimple.com

      Justin Goodbread of FinanciallySimple.com

      Hire your opposite. No matter where you are in the business cycle, starting out, or a veteran of self-employment, you are continually trying to build a paradigm of personalities to balance out your entire organization. Use a behavioral profile test,...

      Ryan McInnis of Picnic Tax

      Ryan McInnis of Picnic Tax

      Be humble. If you’re not humble, you’re not going to be able to listen and be receptive to what customers want. You have to know that you aren’t always going to have the answers, and you have to be constantly...

      Grant Aldrich of OnlineDegree

      Grant Aldrich of OnlineDegree

      Stay Authentic. Authenticity is magnetic. So much of growing a business is getting real support and backing from not only customers, but partners, clients, media, and other people in the industry. If you’re authentic, your mission will resonate and transmit...