We’re passionate about service businesses so we put our heads together to share our top five tips for running a successful small service business. In short it’s all about striking the perfect balance between delivering great service to your clients and being a savvy business owner. Great work skills + Great business skills = Superpowered Service Business So how do you strike that balance?

1. Design to delight… As a small business owner, being able to access great design is a great way to level the playing field against more established competition. Good design engages customers, sells a vision as well as a service and sets the tone for you and your business. Whether it’s service design or your visual presence through branding, invest in good design and let it allow you to punch above your own weight.

2. Keep a handle on your business’s key metrics… The success of your business depends on the quality of the decisions you make, and the quality of those decisions depends on the information you have at hand. Having an overview of customer buying cycles, staff performance and patterns of busy or not so busy periods will allow you to make the right call when it comes to business planning. Identify the key information you need and design a way to monitor it on a daily or weekly basis. There are some great tools to help with this. If your business relies on appointments to deliver services, Appointedd can keep you on top of your business processes and can automatically feed information to your FreeAgent account so you can report it to HMRC automatically.

3. Cultivate customer champions… Embrace your evangelists and empower them to promote your business. Nothing promotes like passion. So when you you find a customer that loves what you do, do everything you can to help them share that love. It might be a referral rewards scheme or even just gathering testimonials or reviews. Once you have a customer champion, get to the root of what they love about your business or service. Not only will you learn a lot about your USPs, you’ll also understand how best your customer champion can influence others and what incentive will compel them to do so. Then all you have to do is ask them to spread the word…

4. Automate tasks to free you up to do the things you love… Sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet, we’ve all been there on those late nights, bogged down by admin and asking yourself: ‘Is this really why I set up my own business?’. It’s vital to take a step back and look at where the time drains are and what can free you up to deliver a great service and spend quality time with your customers. Online booking and marketing campaign automation is at the heart of what we at Appointedd do, but even if you don’t sell appointments, there are a host of automation tools that can manage all sorts of actions. Your social media can be scheduled using Buffer or Tweetdeck, and lots of automated ‘recipes’ can be created using IFTTT or Zapier.

5. Be good to yourself… Working in the service industry you know how big an impact a little bit of me time can make. Make sure to recharge and reward yourself. It will remind you why you do what you do in the first place and will help you to perform at your very best when delivering your service. Why not get in touch with other business owners to see whether they are interested in bartering to swap services? You could end up with a lovely relaxing massage and even a new client! Appointedd is dedicated to empowering service superstars. Armed with our straightforward online booking software, businesses such as photographers, salon owners, physiotherapists, personal trainers and consultants are able to take bookings online, reduce admin, manage customer relationships and grow their business. Image of Appointedd CEO Leah Hutcheon © Chris Watt This blog post first appeared on the fab Small Business Heroes website.

P.S. Like to learn how online booking tools can help grow your business? Enjoy 14 days FREE:

Published on 13 April 2015