Financial growth chart

Service-based businesses have their own ways of operating, and therefore their own unique methods for growth and development. Entrepreneurs who run service companies need to understand these methods in order to succeed; however, since every business is different, it can be difficult to determine which method will work best for a certain type of company.

To find out which approach works best, we asked members of YEC Next the following question:

Q. What is the best way to help a service-based business grow and develop?

1. Follow the Lean Startup methodology

Take some notes from the Lean Startup method. Work closely with clients and build services that provide solutions to their problems. Be involved in all aspects of the business, from sales to marketing to call centers, to provide you with a micro and macro look so you can create optimal solutions. Constantly reevaluate. This method will help your company grow over other tactics—and quickly. —Ron LiebackContentMender

2. Exceed expectations with your service

Before you focus on growth, make sure the service you deliver is performing at a high level. You want it to be so good that clients will tell their friends. One happy client will lead to many more referrals; that referral source is critical in the early days. If you don’t have this down before you focus on growth, then you’re not maximizing your other growth initiatives. —Jim HuffmanGrowthHit

3. Build trust and credibility with social proof

Customers may have skepticism when using a service-based business. They want to know that a business is trustworthy and credible before signing up. The best way to ease skepticism is through social proof like a testimonial or a story by a client about how your service helped them. Since 85% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, social proof is a must for any business. —Matt BigachNexus Homebuyers

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4. Leverage email marketing

Attract potential customers with email marketing to introduce them to your service and direct them to your website. Well-timed emails keep customers informed about events, changes, and deals. ConvertKit, Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign are useful email marketing tools and very user-friendly. —Jessica BakerAligned Signs

5. Focus on good old word of mouth

As a service-based company myself, I see that current customers have the ability to bring in new customers faster than an ad campaign. I offer discounts or freebies to customers for every referral. Although it is pretty organic, the benefits continue without much effort. So if you focus on making current customers happy, it’s only natural that they will say good things about you. —Ajmal SaleemSuprex Learning

6. Clarify your message to get more customers

Without a clear message, people will be confused. When people are confused, then they don’t pay attention. When they don’t pay attention, they don’t hire you. Clearly define who your target audience is so you can speak to them in a way that resonates with them and explains how you will solve their problems. After you do that, you can efficiently invest in marketing to reach the right people and turn them into customers. —Todd Giannattasio, Tresnic Media

7. Always over deliver

If you want to stay a step ahead of the competition, do what the competition won’t do. Over deliver to your clients. Make it so that even if they wanted to switch to a competitor, they won’t find anyone who offers what you do. Go above and beyond with your customer service and put in that extra effort. You will be rewarded with loyal clients and referrals. —Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC

RELATED: Business Service Companies: Learn from Starbucks How to Treat Customers

Originally published at All Business

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