Building a global service business from your home office

Any time, any place, anywhere.

It was once an advertising jingle for Martini, but these days it's a mantra for service businesses.

With a good computer and internet connection, it should be possible to service clients globally. But sometimes turning the vision into reality can be harder than you'd think.

So here are some simple cost effective tips to help you do business better, faster and everywhere.

Step 1: Understand your business and focus on your strengths

Compare your service business to a restaurant. The more dishes on the menu, the more complex the operations. More ingredients. More processes. More suppliers. More waste, since it's harder to predict quantities of any one dish.

The world’s best restaurants have a small 1 - 2 page menu, focusing on what they do well. In some high end eateries, you don't even get a choice - you have what they choose to serve!

Doing something similar in your organisation can make all the difference for your team. When logistics is easier and staff are expert in one area, everyone has more time to focus on the customer.

The art of simplicity - including big writing and lots of white space around important points - is especially valuable now. No one knows what's around the corner or when customers will next appear.

Step 2: Define your ideal customers

Narrowing your offering makes it simple for customers too - they either like or don't like your menu.

If you have a clearly defined service offering, you can also be more precise about how you interact with customers or potential customers. So you can focus on whether your services meet or exceed expectations, or how well your marketing communications resonate.

What do you do if no-one is buying? It doesn't matter whether you sell food, education, finance, accounting, coaching or advisory services, the answer is the same. You need to either:

· improve service quality, or

· reposition your ‘shop front’ and your messages.

For a global service business, your shop front is your website or your social media presence, but the principle is the same.

Step 3: Boost conversion by helping people do business with you

Converting customers is about making it easy for them to buy from you. You have to see your processes from their perspective, then proactively support them to overcome potential hurdles.

Think about restaurants again. Restaurants aimed at tourists (and local restaurants serving ‘foreign’ food) often have a photo of each dish on the menu. This simple, thoughtful gesture helps potential customers with the buying process.

Maybe your organisation requires lengthy application forms and a stack of supporting documents? If so, consider creating a checklist. It will help customers work through a time consuming and labour intensive process.

This can be especially valuable when doing business with new arrivals or foreigners. These people are an attractive market.

· They have an immediate need, but they aren’t familiar with the local providers. Urgent demand and less competition are perfect conditions for anyone wanting new business.

· It requires significant effort to switch a consumer from a competitor . New arrivals, on the other hand, have no existing relationship. Getting commitment can be simple and cost effective.

Looking at your business through the lens of helping a new consumer buy from you can help your local customers too. The whole experience of doing business with you becomes smoother.

A relatively small time investment can help you prepare for the digitally inclusive future of the service industry. You can equip yourself and your team to do business better and faster. You have the potential to boost conversion in your existing markets as well as expanding your customer base so that you become a truly global service business.

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