One of the most popular small business startups is a professional services business. Professional Service Firms are commercial enterprises run by persons who have specialized knowledge in particular areas of interest, such as law, advertising, engineering, marketing and accounting, among others. Basically, they can be any organization or profession that offers customized, knowledge-based services to clients. Some professional services require holding professional licenses such as architects, accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers.
In Nigeria, a considerable number of professionals lack basic business management skills. Practical business skills are hardly taught in our learning or training institutions. Ideally, a graduate of any discipline should be able to start up his own practice or business in his field of study if equipped with the requisite skills at the University. It takes more than relevant competence to succeed as a professional. One has to be business smart! Having entrepreneurial spirit is a must-have for any professional, in private practice, as the world of work is a different ball game from the classroom.
Types of Business Strategy
Managing any business so that it can operate efficiently and grow reliably is no walk in the park. It takes courage, skill, determination and a rock-solid business plan that includes a viable growth strategy. A business strategy is a roadmap for growing your firm. It describes the industries you will serve, your target market, the services you will offer and how you will position and develop your brand. Get the growth strategy right and everything else is easier. A good strategy will replace random and opportunistic business development with a reliable and systematic approach to growth. Get it wrong or incomplete and your firm may flounder. Here are a few tips to help position your professional firm for growth.
- Strategic Planning: You must clearly define your strategy or direction and take the necessary steps in following same through. At the planning stage, ask yourself what unique attribute or expertise you will compete on (your competitive advantage), Will your firm represent innovation? Low-cost service? Rapid response? The answers to these questions will help position your brand in the marketplace as the best option for your target audience.
- Develop a Business Profile: Professional services are built on the knowledge and skills of the proprietors. A strong profile in the area of your expertise will go a long way when it comes to bringing in customers. Profile-boosters include a degree from a prestigious institution, membership of relevant professional associations, professional credentials that indicate a high level of accomplishment and knowledge, and work experience with a firm or firms well respected in your profession. The stronger your credentials, the more doors that will be open to you as you begin to market your business.
- Service Specialization: This is very important for your firm’s growth strategy. Professional services solve clients’ problems through expertise. Firms that specialize in particular practice areas have a better advantage. Specialization allows you to delve deeper into the complexities of a service than most non-specialists. As a result, you can implement that service more quickly and tackle unexpected challenges with confidence and better options.
- Solid Legal Structure: To achieve your career objectives, your professional service must have a solid foundation. For instance, if you require permit or license prior to business operation, don’t fail to obtain same. Also, you must register your business and obtain Tax Identification Number (TIN) in compliance with the law. Carrying out your services in total compliance with the law will not only prevent unnecessary impediments to smooth business operations but will also save cost that would have been expended in paying fines or defending a law suit. It always pays to be on the right side of the law.
- Strategic Networking: Professional services are all about relationships. Networking is one of the best ways for a professional services business to attract clients, so make meeting and greeting a top priority. Join your local small business association and become active in civic groups in your community. When you make promising contacts, be prepared to concisely and clearly describe your services, your expertise, and what sets your business apart, and have a list of references available so potential customers can easily check your background and credentials.
- Establish Business Partnerships: Look for opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses. For example, if you are an accountant, you could seek out a law firm that specializes in business law. Offer to refer your clients to them when they need legal services if they will return the favor and refer small businesses needing accounting services to you.
- Good Client Relationship: Maintaining good relationship with your clients, it’s key to your firm’s growth. Their satisfaction, at all times, should be your goal because they are the reason you are a professional. For instance, a medical doctor is in practice to serve his patients. So, engage your clients interactively. Find out ways to serve them better. Their feedbacks could be a business booster. Also, clients are the best referees you can get. There is no better way to grow your business than through positive word of mouth. Always treat your clients satisfactorily.
One of the appeals of starting a professional services business is that it generally requires little capital; its product is your expertise. Therefore, you must strive for continuous professional development. They foregoing strategies with the appropriate marketing strategy can put your professional business on the road to greatness.
This article is provided for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. If you have any enquiries about this article or require further information, please contact the writer – email@example.com.