At the heart of every successful service-based business are well-defined Signature Services These, in short, are the packaged solutions or services that help customers solve a problem and generate revenue for your business. They’re the reason clients came and then kept on coming.
That’s why, in my work as a business systems strategist, we have a process called the Signature Services Spotlight. By focusing on the core activities and pillars that create excellence, provide efficiency, and facilitate team execution and engagement you can build systems and processes that will support a business that you love, instead of falling into the trap of bigger is better.
What’s the Signature Services Spotlight?
As an agency, your Signature Services is a unique calling card. That calling card is more than a singular service; rather, it’s the special way your agency does something that makes it stand out. In other words, your calling card is a unique identifying mark.
You may think your signature service is content marketing or digital marketing. But it’s not what but how you do it. It’'s the flair that you have and you may not even realize is there.
Every boutique agency has a calling card, and it differs from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, even if those entrepreneurs provide the same services. The Signature Services Spotlight helps you get clear on the calling card and bake it into your service offerings so that you can create the systems and processes that will support that calling card. If you do this well, you can automate your business, grow it faster, and actually be able to step away from the business without fear that it will fall apart.
This is how you kick off building that vision by shining a spotlight on Signature Services:
The four steps of the Signature Services Spotlight
Here’s an overview of the Signature Services Spotlight and why it will help you develop better processes
#1: Define the client
The key question: Who is your ideal client and what problem does your signature service solve?
Let’s imagine I’m working with a website developer who works in the health and wellness field. We discover that this developer creates two different types of websites: simple informational ones and more complex customized ones. Unsurprisingly, these two types of websites are linked to two different types of customers.
The website developer has a number of small business clients (e.g., a nutritional coach) who need smaller websites that basically function like online brochures. But this developer also builds sites for larger companies (e.g., supplements retailers) with more sophisticated needs like e-commerce.
Therefore, the developer client has two signature services, basic and customized websites. One serves health and wellness solopreneurs and the other typically serves health and wellness retailers.
The Basic Websites signature service solves the problems of brand awareness and consumer education for health and wellness solopreneurs.
The Customized Websites signature service solves the problem of competing against e-commerce juggernauts like Amazon.
With this understanding, you have one system to address Website Development but you have two processes to address the different scopes of work.
#2: Define the outcomes
The key question: What does your signature solution allow your client to be, do, and have?
So, our website developer knows she has two types of clients.
In solving these clients’ problems, she’s trying to secure specific outcomes for them. I like to talk about these outcomes in terms of be, do, and have.
For example, when it comes to our website developer’s first type of client—the solopreneur—her basic website is allowing the client to:
Be known and taken seriously by her best clients
Do more nutritional consulting, by booking more appointments
Have higher status in her field and more money in her bank account
In terms of the second type of client—the online retailer—her customized website is allowing the client to:
Be a trusted vendor of health and wellness solutions
Do more sales, despite brisk e-tailer competition
Have better customer retention and healthier margins for investing in ongoing business development
Remember, at this stage, you have two different processes to address the two different types of clients in your business. By defining your outcomes you then work to identify the templates and the guidelines in each of those processes to secure those outcomes and provide the value.
#3: Define the activities
The key question: What do you actually have to do to deliver the outcomes you defined, above?
Our website developer has four milestones for servicing both of these types of clients: plan, design, build and launch.
Your milestones are anchors in your system and help you and your team stay on track. If you're not tracking milestones, you’re just tracking tasks and that may not necessarily be the right path for the project.
#4: Define the steps
The key question: What steps do you need to take to do the outcome-delivering activities you defined, above?
At this stage, I help my client get a detailed breakdown of the essential activities and to focus on her calling card. We plot out each step, understanding the total picture of how she does what she does.
We see where the efficiency leaks tend to be. We see where outsourcing particular steps start to make sense. We see where she gets caught up in activities that don’t really support the outcomes she needs to deliver to clients. We explore tools that can take some of the work off my developer client’s plate.
The unbroken chain
Ultimately, our goal is to create workflows so that we have well-defined, well-designed systems and processes that connect directly to delivering value-rich packages to your ideal clients.
In the end, we have an unbroken chain that starts with the customer’s needs and ends with the things my client does to meet those needs.
In a lot of businesses, this through-line from customer needs to daily activities tends to be meandering rather than tight, circuitous rather than surgical.
And what does all of that meandering do? It burns up excess fuel, making that journey to gaining a loyal customer more expensive and tiring. That’s why the freedom to pursue other priorities in your life and your business all at the same time feel out of reach.
It’s not. I promise. Reach out some time and we could put the spotlight on your business.