Entrepreneurship can be an emotional rollercoaster, am I right? In the early days particularly it’s not unusual to swing between wild excitement plus an inability to do anything but work on your business, and the utter conviction that the whole thing is pointless and will just never work.
The good news is, provided there is a market for what you’re offering, and you effectively market your business, it will work!
I know, those are two really BIG ‘ifs’, but they are also both quantifiable things you can learn.
Market research will tell you whether or not your business has a large enough audience who really want it, and there are many other fabulous entrepreneurs, small businesses, and coaches out there who specialise in teaching marketing tactics.
So you’ve totally got this.
All that being said a huge part of effectively marketing your business is:
- Clearly defining a profitable and effective niche
- Standing out from the competition (and if your niche is truly profitable, there will be competition!)
The good news is there is an incredibly effective ‘shortcut’ to killing both those birds with one very powerful stone.
Creating a signature service (or product, or offer) not only very clearly demonstrates your niche (and the expertise you have in that niche), it also affords you the opportunity to get ahead of your competition by carving out a niche within your niche.
A little spot of heaven in which you, and only you, operate.
You still have all the benefits of niche marketing, and the confidence of knowing that your niche is profitable (as evidenced by your competition) but you also have a very clear way to distinguish yourself from them, and set yourself above them.
What Is A Signature Service?
At its simplest level, a signature service is just you, working in your zone of genius, doing what you do best, but doing it in a way that is markedly different from anyone else.
That might be a big, huge difference, or it could be something quite small in a practical sense but big in terms of business ethos.
Here are a few examples:
- Offering a service that pretty much all your competitors offer, but delivering it in a completely innovative way that is better for your ideal client (more convenient, less expensive, more fun, etc.)
- Offering a service that pretty much all your competitors offer, but packaging it up with complementary products or services that they don’t include, allowing people to get an all-in-one solution to multiple (but related!) problems.
- Offering a service that pretty much all your competitors offer, but adding extra value to your service in the form of free training, free content, extra support, or one-on-one coaching/management.
- Offering a service that solves exactly the same problem as you competitors are solving but does so in a totally unique way that they haven’t thought of, or don’t know how to do.
- Developing a very clear methodology that achieves the same goal and solves the same problem as your competitors, but is more effective, or efficient, or in-depth, or simply easier for your ideal clients to visualise and understand, allowing them to connect with you more than others.
- Focusing on a specific ethos that is sorely lacking in your competition – for example, establishing yourself as the eco-friendly option in a sea of competitors who have no environmental stance, or whose methods actively harm the environment.
- Niching down further than your competitors and offering a service that it tailored to the specific needs, desires, and demographics of a subset of your audience. For example, I could do this by creating a financial service geared specifically towards working mums, or startups with founders who are exclusively millennials. What you’re offering is no different, but your marketing message and branding can be tailored to very clearly speak to their unique mindsets and needs.
- Offering a solution to a problem your competitors can’t solve or haven’t thought of yet, which is still firmly rooted in your niche and applies directly to your ideal client.
You’ll notice the common theme in all of these (bar the last one) is that you’re not actually creating a service that is doing anything different to your competitors, but rather ensuring that the way you do it is different.
If you can think of something 100% unique, great, but a lot of the time in business we find that if it isn’t already being done (at least in some form) it’s because there isn’t enough of a demand for it.
So while you may find a gap in the market to capitalise on, if you can’t, don’t worry about it – it’s not as easy to do as it sounds!
Why Your Signature Service Is Your Greatest Business Asset
The beauty of the signature service is that the ‘signature’ aspect of it is completely unique to you, allowing you to position yourself as an expert in your industry, a thought-leader in your niche, and a business that understands and cares about its clients on a deeper level because you’ve taken the time to create an approach or package that is – in some way – better for them than the ‘standard’ offers available elsewhere.
An effective signature service is far more than a way to stand out from the crowd. It’s incredibly effective at allowing you to do that, but on a more fundamental level it’s a solid business investment because it creates a powerful and infinitely leverageable brand asset.
When your business has strong brand assets its increases its value as well as its earning potential.
These assets are tangible and distinctive elements of your business that make you different and immediately recognisable.
The simplest example is a business logo, which is completely unique to a company, can be trademarked so that it literally can’t be used by anyone else, and creates consistency across your branding that makes you instantly recognisable.
Brand assets raise the profile of your business, establishing you as a brand name and functioning in exactly the same way the distinctive three stripes of Adidas. Those three stripes compel people to pay a lot more for a jacket that’s identical to one sold by competing brands in every way, except the other one only has two stripes. It’s what drives people to spend $1000 pair of shoes rather than the identical ‘knock off’ version available for $50 because one has shining red soles and the other doesn’t.
The Adidas stripes and red soles you only find on Louboutin shoes are brand assets, and they’re incredibly valuable.
So while a signature service is great for distinguishing yourself and powerful for your marketing, the true value of that distinctiveness is the creation of an asset that allows you to position yourself as the genuine article, which people will happily pay more for, while relegating your competitors to the realm of the ‘knock off’.
Your signature service is the ability to paint the soles of your business shoes Louboutin red, and charge people a premium for walking in them.
And that’s not an icky sales tactic, a trick, or a means of extorting people for money.
The majority of people, if given a choice between branded products and non-branded products, will go for the brand they recognise every time for two very simple reasons:
- Quality Assurance
Knowing who you’re dealing with and being confident in their expertise and success rate, in the value other people place on them, and the fact that their reputation would not exist were it not for an excellent quality service is incredibly valuable to people.
It gives them peace of mind, and that’s not something you can put a price on.
There is also an element of prestige and pride that goes with buying the top brand, it’s a statement about your status and personal worth.
The Importance Of A Profit First Attitude
Before I dive into the mechanics of creating a signature service for your business, it’s important to approach the whole thing with a Profit First mentality.
By that, I mean the whole function of developing a signature service is to boost your business.
Yes, it will help your branding.
Yes, it’s a long-term and powerful asset.
Yes, it is to some extent a marketing ‘gimmick’ that you need to invest time and resources in, just as you would invest in content marketing, or social media marketing, email marketing, or a direct mail campaign.
BUT, and this is a SUPER IMPORTANT BUT…
It should be a profitable venture right from the start, and when you’re designing it, you should always try to keep the ‘profit first’ mentality in mind. I’ve covered this extensively in my Beginner’s Guide to Profit First.
How To Create Your Own Signature Service
Before you get starting planning your signature offering, take a moment to check in with your money mindset and the success mentality you have working for you.
You’re going to be putting quite a bit of work into the development of this service and the last thing you need is to find your money mindset is working against you, or you’re actively sabotaging your own efforts.
Here’s a quick checklist that will help you stay on track:
- Develop a positive money mindset and consistently work on maintaining and improving your thoughts and feelings around money.
- Pay attention to your upper limits and the ways you may be inadvertently sabotaging your own success.
- Develop a positive money story that has a build-in happy ending.
- Work on overcoming your limiting money beliefs.
- Acknowledge the importance of your own self-worth and actively take steps to invest in it regularly.
- Remember, always put profit FIRST!
To help you develop the best possible signature offering I’ve put together a FREE Workbook – download it now and work through it as you read the rest of this article…
Get Crystal Clear On Your Niche And Ideal Client
A signature service is everything that’s good about niche marketing. In many ways it completely embodies the concept of targeting a specific niche in your business, and focusing on a very clearly defined ideal client – the type of person you most want to work with.
Before you go any further make sure you’re 100% clear on your business niche (whether it’s an existing one of you’re only just starting to focus on it), and get to know as much as you possible can about your ideal client.
All the information you gather about both will be instrumental in helping you design a signature offer that’s as powerful as possible.
Plan The Big Picture
When creating something as important as this it’s really important to make sure the new service you’re creating is fully aligned with your business goals.
Your signature service will be a hugely valuable vehicle for that growth and development, but you need to know the destination you’re aiming for!
Get Your Pricing Right
The price you put on your signature service will have a huge impact on its success and the benefits it brings to your business.
Don’t be caught in the trap of thinking you need to start out at a low price so people will buy. Low pricing isn’t always the best way to attract the people you want, and in the case of a signature offer it can work against you because the whole point is that it’s premium, it’s superior, it’s luxurious, it’s more effective, or it’s got a social or moral edge (consider how much more we pay for organic produce!).
People expect to pay more for all of these things and are quite happy to do so. In fact, they often don’t feel products and services can deliver such things if they have a low price tag attached to them.
The price you give your new service will shape perceptions of it, so choose carefully to ensure you’re creating the right perception with the price tag you attach!
Once you’re up and running and your signature offer gains momentum you can work on increasing your prices to ensure they remain in line with your skill level and the value you’re delivering.
One great way to figure out the price of your new service is to use a tiered pricing approach that allows you to capture people at different levels.
However you price your new service, don’t forget the amount of profit you earn is entirely up to you – you’re in control of the profitability of this service, and you can make it profitable right from the start with a little careful planning.
Focus On Client Care
Part of the reason signature services are such powerful brand assets is the implied quality the comes with them. The whole point is to get as visible as possible, which means you need to carefully manage the reputation of your signature offering.
The simplest way of doing this is, quite simply, to prioritise client care and focus on giving them the best possible journey with you and experience of your service. Not only will this naturally lead to the kind of sterling reputation for quality you’re looking to achieve, it is instrumental in increasing the lifetime value of your clients.
Go Bigger, Go Better, Go Innovative
Often the distinguishing feature the sets a signature offer apart is the fact it’s so much more than what other people provide, or that it’s far superior to the other options, or that it’s a completely innovative approach.
Now is the perfect time to rethink how you approach your business and the way in which you do what you do. Striver for bigger things, better methods, and innovative approaches.
Get The Support You Need
Launching a new service, or even a revamp of an existing service, often requires a lot more work. If you already have a team make sure they’re fully prepped to support you through the launch and delivery of your service, and also to support your clients.
If you don’t have an existing team, it’s a good idea to look at what you’re going to realistically have to do to get your signature service off the ground and up and running – is it time to hire a team? Can you outsource things outside your zone of genius so you can focus on what you do best?
Managing the growth and development of this new business venture is important, so make sure you have the support you need in place.
If you need support managing the financial side of your service (or your business as a whole) book a free curiosity call and we can talk about creating the strongest brand asset possible, a service that’s profitable right from the start. And if you’re struggling to envision your signature offering, don’t forget to download my FREE Signature Service Workbook…
Profit First can benefit the growth of your business from DAY ONE!
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