About 5 years ago, there was a huge move toward the concept of “productizing” your services business.
In my space, website design, this became especially big. The point of productization was to go even further beyond the familiar concept of “niching down.” Most certainly, the business that serves everyone services no one in actuality.
Productizing meant taking a services-oriented business and selling it more like a product. There would be a defined scope, a similar client profile, clear and consistent pricing, etc. This is the antithesis of consulting, which is the ultimate unicorn gig.
At NorthMac Services, we are in the process of eliminating unicorns as we speak. Some of these moves are more public than others, but broadly speaking, we are making the following changes to our lineup of services:
- Most of our clients are in need of a membership or learning management site
- We are drilling down in each of our services to become more narrow (ex., “Email Marketing” becomes “Weekly Email Newsletter”)
- Our pricing is modular, and does not change or vary except with respect to the normal fluctuations of business
Here is a fact that most are afraid to admit: The more unique of a service you provide from client to client, the worse your service is.
It’s simple, really. The more routine and systematized your businesses processes, the more practice you get at delivering them. Imagine if a baseball pitcher had to devote equal time to becoming a great catcher and first basemen. Could he eventually get good at each position? Sure. I mean, he’s probably better than the average bear at them anyway.
But he could never become an Allstar at all three.
And that’s the point. If you’re going to build a services company that does great work long into the future, you have to eliminate unicorns.
Of course, there’s one more thing this process helps to do: Eliminate dependency, usually upon the owner. The more systemized and repeatable the process of delivering on your commitments, the easier it can be accomplished with a skilled and reliable team.
Leave the unicorns to bedtime stories, and eliminate them from your business.