If You Think a Signature Service Can Help You Scale, You Might Be Wrong. Here’s Why

Updated: Mar 17

What’s the biggest mistake that many service providers, consultants and agency owners make?

After realizing that offering more is not better, they put all their focus on creating a signature service.

Sounds counterintuitive, right?

A signature service seems like the perfect way to get out of the unfulfilling tasks (like writing proposals) that come along with doing what you do best.

But if all you do is offer a signature service without nailing your positioning, the frameworks you need to create results, your processes, and how you ladder up your services to create repeat customers, you’re missing a crucial piece of the pie.

Instead, focus on creating productized services — the type of services and packages that actually help you scale.

What is the difference between a signature service and a productized service?

If you’re not clear, it’s because productized services fly under the radar. Much of the advice about signature services only scratches the surface on creating scalable, service-based packages that are pinned to strategic business growth.

With that being said, here’s the difference:

A signature service starts and ends with deciding who you want to serve, what you want to offer and how you want to offer it. All too often service-based business owners stop short here.

A productized service is much more strategic.

We dive deeper into the vision for your business before we tap into “how” your productized service can help you get there. We consider how to position your offer, the pricing strategy that aligns to your positioning and the people you serve, and then create a process that can be customized efficiently to meet their needs. With this in place, we lean into how to strategically communicate the offer to your ideal client.

A productized service is a win-win for both you and your customer: your client gets a customized solution to reach their business objectives, and you have a unique system with the potential for thought leadership that allows you to get out of the day-to-day operations, and makes building a team and a profitable business attainable.

Of course, you can’t go from a newbie to a productized service overnight. Starting with a signature service helps you become known for something, but it won’t help you scale a business in a sustainable way.

In other words, if you want to go from a Freelancer to a Trusted Advisor, or from a Trusted Advisor to a small-but-mighty Agency, you can’t get by on a signature service.

That’s where productized services come in.

Productized services are developed with operational thinking. When you create a product out of your services, you solve real problems for customers using repeatable systems and processes that set you up as an expert and allow you to scale — fast.

This isn’t something you’ll come up with overnight. And to be frank, a business coach who requires you to do the brain-work alone and come up with your own ideas won’t get you there either.

Like I said, it requires operational thinking. Creating a productized service goes beyond what you are going to deliver to the customer. It pays close attention to how we can strategically pave a path for the business you actually want to build, not the business that some guru sells as an out-of-the-box solution.

Fundamentally, we consider the business at its fullest expression by taking your value proposition — the very thing that only you can do — and actually creating a system and process for it.

We want to protect your zone of genius (because it’s the moneymaker, after all) before we solve the challenge of laddering into other potential productized services in your business.

Creating a productized service: where to start

A productized service is a business strategy. Before you can build it, you need a clear understanding of these three questions:

  • What ideal client problems do you solve?

  • What outcome do you provide to their problems?

  • How do you provide the outcome?

Notice that I did not say, “Start by figuring out what niche you serve.” Too many small service-based business owners get stuck on this question.

When I start working with a new client, it’s not uncommon for them to say that they’ve taken numerous free (and paid) courses on figuring out their niche. They think it’s the most important step forward, only to feel increasingly frustrated when it doesn’t help them grow.

If that’s you, it’s time to stop grasping at straws. Starting with clarity on the problems you solve and the outcomes you provide makes the process of strategically building your productized services much more concrete and revenue-generating focused.

What makes a productized service the key to business success?

Productized services, as a business model, allow you to grow your agency with less stress. Not only do they solve problems for customers with repeatable systems and processes — they also allow you, the agency owner, to set yourself up as a thought leader and take back your time.

When you have a system that can be executed by someone else on your team, you can get out of day-to-day operations and focus on bigger picture goals for the business. It’s about more than serving your customers — it’s about creating continuous, profitable, sustainable growth while also being able to live your life.

That’s because a productized service provides a template for how your team will deliver your services to your customers. It doesn’t rely on any one person — it comes down to how streamlined your plan is and ensuring you have the right people to put it into action.

These are just a few of the benefits that come with a productized service strategy:

  • You’ll establish yourself as an industry expert

  • You’ll be able to get out of project management

  • You can build a team with more ease

  • Your unique value will become crystal clear

  • Selling your offer will feel more natural

  • Attracting the right clients will become much easier

  • Your clients will get faster, better results

  • You’ll save yourself (and your team) from burnout

By now, it should be clear why productized services are better than signature services — for your business, for your customers and for you.

And if you’re serious about building a service-based business that thrives even when you remove yourself from the equation, you don’t need a course, group coaching or a business coach who requires you to come up with all the answers yourself.

As a business consultant, I take the time to deeply understand what you want to achieve in your business and help you identify how to lean into your strengths to build a service-based agency with productized services. I do the brain-work with you so that you can finally get out of your own way.

If you want to build a service-based agency that gives you freedom, not one that keeps you consumed by its demands, productized services will help you get there.

Ready to take the next step in creating your productized services?

Download my business growth chart below for a roadmap on the next right step for a productized signature service.