Articles Tagged ‘Productize your service’

Built to Sell – Creating a Business That Thrives Without You

Monday, May 23rd, 2011


I had the pleasure to interview John Warrillow the author of Built to Sell, Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You. Now, as a business owner… the concept of allowing your business to run without you is an excellent proposition! It reminds me of the robot vacuum. What a great invention! The book is an excellent read and I recommend it to anyone who runs a small business.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get started?

I used to produce a nationally radio show called “Today’s Entrepreneur”. We interviewed a different entrepreneur every day of the year for three years. Based on the radio show, I wrote about what drives entrepreneurs in my first book and then started a couple of companies – one of which was a research business where we ended up interviewing 10,000 business owners a year on behalf of our subscribers who were big companies like HP, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Apple. That company was acquired in 2008 and now I write (columns for and BNET, latest book “Built to Sell”) about my experiences studying and being an entrepreneur.

How can people market more effectively? What techniques can they use?

I think a lot of service companies have a tough time marketing their service because service is something you have to experience to understand. I recommend service providers “productize” their service like Tide markets its laundry detergent:

Name it

Tide is the brand and is always written in the same font. Having a consistent name avoids the generic, commoditized category label of “laundry detergent.”

Package it

We use the “2 X Ultra” version of Tide, which is packaged in a unique bottle with two pour spouts. The depression knob spigot allows us to carefully measure out a dollop of Tide, whereas the twist cap provides quick flow. Service providers need to think about the packaging of what they sell at every customer touch point.

Write instructions for use

Tide gives customers instructions for best washing results. If you want your service to feel more like a product, include instructions for getting the most out of your service.

Provide words of caution

My Tide bottle tells me that the product “may irritate eyes” and is “harmful if swallowed.” Provide a caution label or a set of “terms and conditions” to explain things to avoid when using your service.

Barcode it

The barcode includes pricing information. Publishing a price and being consistent will make your service seem more like a product.

Copyright it

P&G includes a very small © symbol on its bottle to make it clear that the company is protecting its ideas.
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