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Should Your IT Business Expand Its Services?

Should Your IT Business Expand Its Services?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017/Categories: business-development-and-sales

Small IT business owners struggling with how to increase revenue may require a combination of different approaches, including:

  • Attending networking events.
  • Asking for referrals.
  • Increasing marketing efforts.

Another common method is adding new services. We talked to several IT business owners to learn how they identified new service offerings and whether expanding helped or hurt their business.  

Offer Complementary Services

When starting out, you may have one or two core offerings. But as time goes on, your customers want similar services that you could easily provide.

"One of the simplest offerings we've added is recurring website maintenance," says Sarah Giffrow, owner and creative director of . "Clients are often too busy to maintain and update their website after we've finished creating it, or they might even feel intimidated by installing software updates or changing content. Offering maintenance packages brings in recurring revenue and also lets us support our clients whenever they need help."

Adam Binder, founder of , also found success in offering maintenance packages.

"Our most recent addition to our suite of marketing services was tech support and maintenance plans, which fit in perfectly with our existing web design and SEO services," says Binder. "Twelve months later, tech support and site maintenance account for seven percent of our total revenue. Expanding our services has increased the value of our business, as well as created more recurring client accounts."

Pro tip: As you expand the services you offer, your insurance needs may grow. For example, if you add a service that requires you to drive to clients' offices, you might want to purchase a Commercial Auto Insurance policy. If the extra work requires you to hire employees, you might need to purchase Workers' Compensation Insurance.

Solve Customer Pain Points

Sometimes customer needs won't be obvious. When that happens, Larissa Pickens, creative director and owner, , suggests you take a look at where your workflow stalls and see if a service will solve that issue.

"My design agency had a perpetual problem," says Pickens. "We'd discuss the website / brochure / display with the client, everyone was excited to get started, the client would say they just need a day or two to write up the copy, and we'd wait and wait. We finally had the bright idea to start offering copywriting services and it's been a big win for everyone. Even clients who initially turn it down often change their mind when they realize they don't really want to spend their weekend glued to their computer."

Pro tip: If copywriting isn't your strong suit, considering hiring a subcontractor to tackle writing tasks. Just make sure they have insurance. Read "Technology Contractor Insurance Checklist: 3 Essential Policies" to learn more.

Know that Bigger Isn't Always Better

Offering new services can boost revenue, but it's not the right fit for every business. Some IT business owners actually increased their bottom line by dropping services, not adding more.

"We grew Gunner Technology by shrinking the services we offered," says Cody Swann, CEO of . "Gunner Technology was a full-service digital agency, offering web design, social marketing, tech consulting, software development, and SEO. However, we realized that by offering so many services, we couldn't be seen as the best in any of them. Because of this, we lost out on many jobs where only one or two [services] were required. Not only did we pare our services back to only tech consulting and software development, but we also limited our software development to JavaScript development on AWS. In two years, our revenue grew by more than five times."

Pro tip: Offering fewer services can also help if you want to be seen as a specialist rather than a jack-of-all-trades.

"While it is crucial to update your services to keep up with the needs of your clientele base and the ever-evolving trends in your industry, it's important to improve upon what you already excel at rather than trying to be everything for everyone," says Binder.

For more tips on expanding your services, read "5 Ways to Diversify Revenue as a Tech Entrepreneur."

About the Contributors

Keyword-cruncher, customer-collector, and web designer extraordinaire, Adam Binder is the founder of Creative Click Media (@creativeclicknj). If he’s not in front of the computer marketing your business, he's playing with his son, Miles. Tweet him at @AdamBinder_.

 

 

Sarah Giffrow (@SarahGiffrow) is the creative director and benevolent overlord of Upswept Creative (@UpsweptCreative), a small-but-fierce branding and website studio that creates honestly good design for independent businesses. She has been designing for the web since 2004, and loves working with an engaging variety of businesses and nonprofits.

 

 

Larissa Pickens is the founder and creative director of Float Design (@FloatDesignCo), a creative agency specializing in beauty and prestige brands. She earned her MFA from Parsons School of Design and has since worked with a range of clients, from startups and individuals, to well-known names such as Calvin Klein, Estée Lauder, and Conde Nast. She loves seeing the power of good creative to elevate a brand.

 

Cody Swann is an entrepreneur, developer, strategist, and former journalist born and raised in South Florida. After a seven-year career at ESPN, Cody founded Gunner Technology (@gunnertech), a nation leader in software development, which builds custom solutions for the public and private sectors as well as entrepreneurs.

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