What You Need to Run Your Service Business

By VICKY BROWN

So, what exactly is ‘operations’.  You hear the word all the time, but what does it really mean, and what does it mean to you and your business.  Well, operations or business operations loosely means all the activities you do in your business on a daily or regular basis that keeps the business going and earning profits.  So, in a word, the engine.

In this week’s episode we’re going to look at some areas you have to consider to make sure your operations are running smoothly.  Oh, by the way – it’s a big topic, so we’ll finish up in next week’s episode.

So, when you are just getting up and running you’re going to need the proper equipment.  Now these days that’s a lot easier than it was years ago.  Today, if you have a good laptop, you’re 75% of the way there.  But there are other things to consider.

Sure, you have hardware – but what about software.  What applications will you need.  Well you’ll need something to keep you on track – now depending on how you prefer to organize your to do list, that may be something as simple as your eMail and google calendar.  Or you might think about some sort of project management application.

I know the term project management sounds really big and a bit complicated, but it’s really just an application that gives you visibility into the tasks you have to do every day – your to do list.

Now the big advantage of an application doing this is that you can slice and dice the information any way you want to.  If looking at a calendar is your thing, you can do that – but if your brain works better when you can see everything on a list, then you can set the application to show you everything in a list format.  You can also have smaller tasks inside, or associated with other tasks – that way you can have all the items for a whole project altogether.

You may not think you need project management – but in running a business, you absolutely do.

One of my favorites is Asana.  In fact, I did a whole episode on how I use Asana in my business.

But, Asana isn’t the only good project management application out there.  There’s Trello, ClickUp, and even Smartsheet, Bitrix24 and ZoHo.  All of these applications either have a free tier or trial, so take a look and see what works for you.

…If’ you try to customize everything you provide to your client, it will cost you money.

Last week, we talked about getting an accounting system too – so don’t forget that.  Again, there are lots of them out there – Quickbooks, Honeybook, Freshbooks – oh, there’s a avalanche of books.  Again, try out the trials, and get recommendations from your accountant or bookkeeper.

And, if you have employees you’ll also need to think about payroll, and some sort of application that houses their information and manages their time off.  Those are called Human Resources Information Systems or an HRIS, and very often come coupled with a payroll system.  There are the big national payroll players (I won’t even mention them here), but you should also consider some of the more recent players like BambooHR.  In fact, that’s what we use internally and for our clients.  So, as you can imagine, I can’t say enough good things about it.

That actually brings me to client facing applications.  Depending on the service you provide, you’ll probably need some specialized applications for service delivery.  For instance, if you’re a social media manager, you’ll need some post scheduling software like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Loomly.  Remember, when you are providing a service, think about standardizing how you do it.  If’ you try to customize everything you provide to your client, if you have a different process each time, it will take you a lot longer and involve a lot more resources to get the thing done.  And that means you either have to charge for that extra effort, or you’re going to lose money.  So, have a core way you service your clients, and then you can customize the look and feel if you need to – and that means having a standard set of software that you use.

Don’t waste another minute trying to figure out how to get your business going and what should come next.

Grab your Free 3-Step Leader’s Journey Business Builder course, and get freedom and peace of mind, knowing you are on the right, proven track.

One other quick note – when you’re looking at business software and applications, be sure to look closely at security.  Nothing is worse than finding out your account as been compromised, or that your data is missing or being held hostage.  Well, there is one thing that’s worse – finding out there was a breach and now your client’s information has been compromised.  So, think security over pricing.  And, depending on the services you offer – you might think about checking with your insurance broker on getting cyber insurance.

And finally, where will you work.  What, you didn’t think about that because you just assumed it would be your dining room table?  Well, that may be – but consider your needs and what might work best for you.  Will a dedicated room in your home be the best option – it generally is when we’re just getting started, because – well, candidly, because of the cost.  There isn’t one.

But also consider if, and how long, that might be your best option.  Eventually you might find some sort of co-working space gives you access to equipment that can help you get through the day.

Take a look at the Do I Need Office Space episode.  It’ll help you think about and explore the various options out there.

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