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Chris Willow
Founder of SPP
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The Productized Service Success Formula

With so many productized service businesses using our software I think we have a pretty good idea of what makes some of them successful while others go out of business just a few months into their subscription.

It boils down to a combination of four things:

Productized Service Success = Your Market + Your Services + Your Systems + Your People

Let’s look at each one of those in order of importance.

1. Your market

If you’re just starting out with no personal brand, no reputation and no audience, this is the MOST IMPORTANT part of a productized services business. Or any business for that matter.

Because if you think you’re just going to launch a great service and customers will magically find you and buy from you, you’re going to have a bad time.

So decide who’s in your target market and how you’re going to reach them BEFORE you even think about creating a service offering.

Pro tip: if your definition of target audience has the word “anyone” in it, it’s probably not specific enough.

Also, it’s not just WHO you’re targeting but also HOW you’re going to reach them. Whether it’s SEO, content marketing, social media, forums, cold calls, even paid advertising if you can make it work.

2. Your services

Most people start by coming up with a productized service idea they could sell. If you read the previous chapter, you know why that might not the best way to launch a successful business.

Because what often happens is you end up with a solution in search of a market instead of a something that’s made to address a specific need your audience has.

At this point, if you already have experience with regular client work, you probably know what kinds of projects most of your clients are looking for. Those are most likely the best candidates for your productized service offering.

Otherwise you’ll need to do some research. Either by speaking to people in your target market directly, or by looking at services they’re already buying.

The end goal is to have your services packaged as easy-to-buy products with set deliverables and a clear price.

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3. Your systems

Having established systems and processes is what really makes a productized service scalable. Meaning, your expenses do NOT go hand in hand with revenue, and the business actually becomes more profitable as it grows.

Systems include everything from general documentation to step-by-step processes for delivering certain services, to tools, software and the way you handle customer projects.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the perfect, most optimized setup for selling services when you’re just starting out. Because at that stage you don’t really know what’s going to work yet.

Start with the basics, figure out the best way to do things manually, then invest in systems.

4. Your people

Services business run on people, there’s no way around that.

However, the beauty of systems and documented procedures is that you don’t need to hire the most expensive top 5% industry experts to handle routine client work.

Also, you don’t need as many people to begin with, since projects are similar and typically require fewer back-and-forth emails with the client.


If you’re looking for a better way to sell and deliver productized services, check out Service Provider Pro. We made it for services business like yours.

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