Jeff sent me a great post by Mark Suster on TechCrunch about what one should do with their crappy little services business. The article is great for anyone that works in any kind of services business.
Mark addresses many of the issues that we grapple with at AttorneySync on a daily basis. Perhaps none more perplexing than the issue of scaling service.
For me, the very nature of services run anti-scalability. The amount and quality of service that you can provide is directly related to the number and quality of service providers that you have. If you try to increase the number of people or businesses to whom you provide service, without increasing the number of service providers that are able to provide the same level of service, the quality of your service is guaranteed to suffer.
Service companies are people companies. The services that you can provide are only as good as the people that you hire to provide the services that you offer. People are not an easy thing to scale. Finding the right people can be very difficult. And once you find them, affording them is even more challenging.
Many services businesses managers try to scale their services companies through compartmentalization. The idea is that by breaking up the services into smaller specific tasks, divisions, or departments, you demand less in terms of skills from your service providers. In my opinion, the major issue with compartmentalization is fragmentation of the service. It is much more difficult to maintain continuity in the quality of services when they are compartmentalized. Ultimately, you need more people to manage and coordinate these compartments. This was the birth of the project manager who’s job is really just to help the members of the team stay focused, communicate, and work in concert.
For better or for worse, search marketing is much more service than it is product. Too many search marketing firms are trying to turn their services companies into product companies. This has created a glut of commodity-styled SEO companies that have lost sight of what effective search marketing is all about.