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How To Scale Up Your Service Business

Author: Mark Capaldini - Apr 2016

It can be tough to grow a service business. Clients are typically buying your expertise, and if all you have to sell is time, the size of your business will always be limited by the number of hours in your day. So… increase the value of your company by training others to deliver your expertise. That doesn’t dilute your expertise – it leverages your expertise.

One way to scale up your service business is to launch a training division to teach others what you know. That’s what Nancy Duarte did when she found herself run ragged trying to grow Duarte, a Mountain View, California-based design studio.

Duarte’s specialty was creating high-impact presentations, but the work was tough to scale. She found herself spinning various plates and hoping none of them would fall to the ground. Finally she realized she was exhausted and no longer enjoying her job. She still loved the business but hated the constant demands on her time and energy.

In an effort to pull herself out of individual projects, she sat down and documented her methodology and from there created an internal training course so her employees could learn the Duarte way of creating presentations.

Once she had taught her own staff to handle the development of the presentations, she turned her philosophy and her approach into a book that was published in 2008 under the title Slide:ology – The art and science of creating great presentations. (Her most recent book, Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences, was published in 2010).

Having created a platform with the books, Nancy launched her training division, which offers corporate on-site workshops—her facilitators go to large companies to teach the employees how to make better presentations.

Due in large part to the training division, Duarte has scaled up her service business to the point where she now employs 82 people.

As business owners, we all know we should be documenting our systems for others to follow, but somehow writing our owner’s manual always takes a backseat to serving the next customer or fighting the next fire. We need to stop thinking of writing down our process as an internal chore. Instead we need to leverage our expertise. One way is to launch a training service. That way, the job of documenting our systems goes from a boring task to an asset that generates revenue.

When you create an asset that generates an additional revenue stream, you increase the value of your business. And you liberate yourself from the “chargeable hours” trap.


Mark is an experienced RFB Business Advisor, EOS Implementer, and Certified Value Builder Coach. Connect with him and other RFB® Business Development Advisors here, or on LinkedIn.

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