Business services are those activities that benefit businesses without producing or delivering physical goods. They are vital to larger companies that must keep up with work demands, as well as to smaller ones that want to improve their production, safety and costs.
There is a significant untapped growth potential in this sector. The EU’s Internal Market legislation and policy actions aim at stimulating competitiveness in this industry through removing obstacles that prevent it from fully exploiting its potential.
The industry includes professional and technical services, such as accounting, legal, and health care, and other business-related services, such as IT. It accounts for 11% of EU GDP and employs a substantial portion of the country’s population.
Unlike product-based companies, service firms must deliver a service that meets customers’ expectations and creates a favorable brand image. In the process, they also must build a profitable business that remains sustainable.
A successful service business must focus on four elements of the product-service design continuum: Experience, Value, Integratedness and Innovation. These elements form the core of any successful service strategy, and they represent a critical opportunity for entrepreneurs.
First, managers must understand how customers define and use the term “service.” They can’t simply assume that a product’s “value” is determined by what it does for the customer; they need to recognize and evaluate what makes a good “service” — the combination of qualities and characteristics that enables it to stand out from competitors’ offerings.
Next, they must understand that service design is an iterative process that must be based on an ongoing assessment of what customers find appealing about your offering. This may involve a series of interviews or surveys with customers to identify what they find most valuable and how they expect you to deliver it.
Third, service designers must determine how to make their services easier for customers to use. For example, if you offer customer support over the phone, you can make it faster and less complicated for your customers to communicate with you by providing an automated interface.
Fourth, service designers must ensure that the quality of the service is consistent across all channels, and that the service is delivered in a timely manner. This may mean that you must develop a system to alert customers of the status of their orders and to schedule them accordingly.
Fifth, service designers must consider how they will integrate all these components into a cohesive whole. This requires an understanding of the interconnections between different elements of the service, such as how to coordinate sales and marketing, operations and logistics, and finance and human resources.
The design of a service is one of the most challenging aspects of the service-business management cycle, but it’s not impossible to accomplish. Many businesses have a solid understanding of how they can combine these four elements to deliver a high-quality and attractive offering.
If you’re looking to start a business, the first step is to come up with a good idea in an area where you have expertise and training. Then, you’ll need to determine the right business structure and how you will finance your operations.