Six Proven Strategies to Propel Your IT Service Business Growth
August 5, 2023
Just as a soaring eagle navigates vast skies, unrestricted by borders or boundaries, your IT service business can break free from local constraints and spread its wings globally. Take, for example, the journey of "TechWings Inc.," a visionary IT service company that originated as a small start-up in a bustling urban neighbourhood.
Earlier, TechWings provided exceptional IT solutions to local businesses, steadily gaining recognition for its proficiency and customer-centric approach. However, the ambitious founder, Alex, had grander aspirations – he envisioned TechWings as a global leader in the IT service industry.
This domain is constantly evolving, and you need effective growth strategies to secure your position in the market. If Amazon and Microsoft are targeting year-on-year growth, it is natural to strive to propel your business forward, too. But how can you do that?
Let’s explore five essential approaches that holistically helped TechWings flourish and would apply to your IT service firm in today's competitive landscape.
Building a Strong Online Presence (Digital Marketer’s Approach)
Without a strong online presence, IT service businesses will neither reach a wider audience nor attract potential clients. The simplest ways to maximise your reach include the following.
- Website Optimisation: Ensure your website is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and optimised for search engines. A well-structured website encourages visitors to explore your services. Investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) goes a long way.
- Thought Leadership Content: Maintain a blog section where you regularly publish informative and valuable content related to your expertise. The more helpful you are to the reader, the higher their regard and trust in you. Share industry insights, trends, and practical tips to position your business as a thought leader.
- Harnessing Social Media: Go beyond Facebook and Instagram. Utilise other social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc, to distribute your content. Share your blog posts, client success stories, and updates in Slack and Discord groups to build brand awareness and foster a community.
As per Hubspot, 60% of marketers say that inbound (SEO, blog content, etc.) is their highest quality source of leads. Seek guidance from marketing experts and leverage their expertise to craft compelling digital marketing strategies that align with your business objectives.
Build Focus and Expertise (Founder's Approach)
Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, focus on becoming a master of one or two domains within the IT service industry. It’s time to go beyond a niche - carve yourself a super-niche.
Instead of being a development company, try becoming a development engine for VR games. Similarly, you can narrow down to being a cybersecurity consultant only for fintech startups participating in the regulatory sandbox.
Adopt the “T” approach, where you specialise deeply in specific services while broadly understanding related areas. Although this sounds counter-intuitive, establishing a niche enables you to–
- Offer Unparalleled Quality: By concentrating on a niche, you can deliver exceptional services, gaining a reputation for excellence that attracts more clients.
- Differentiate Your Business: Specialisation sets you apart from competitors, making it easier for potential clients to recognise your unique value proposition.
This focus helps you build a moat that increases the barrier to entry in your business category - a much-needed competitive advantage.
Leveraging Technology for Business Efficiency (Tech or Product Person POV)
Knowing that incorporating the right tools can significantly improve your IT service business's efficiency and productivity, they often ignore their internal tech stack the most. Consider the following strategies.
- Automating Processes: From project management to client updates to testing and feedback, there are enough SaaS products/automation tools to streamline repetitive tasks, freeing up your team's time for more strategic endeavours.
- Cloud-Based Solutions: From a simple Google Doc to complex web apps, cloud-based solutions save a lot of time by simplifying internal communication through collaboration. Embrace cloud-based services to enhance scalability, data security, and cooperation among team members and clients.
- AI and Analytics: Zoho Books (and similar tools) automate your accounting reports. On the marketing side, generative AI tools can help ease the bandwidth. Almost every ERP tool gives you custom analytics. Leverage AI and such analytics to understand what’s going wrong, make data-driven decisions, and make your business more efficient.
Creating a Customer-Centric Culture (HR's POV)
Customers are your business’s heart, the ‘why’. They are the reference point for all decisions. To foster loyalty and advocacy, train your team to develop a customer-centric culture which includes the following.
- Listen to Feedback: Employees will probably listen to bosses more than customers; change that. Implement systems to gather and analyse customer feedback, and then continuously urge team members to improve their services based on customer needs.
- Training for Customer Service Excellence: Amazon has become a gold standard in customer service because they provide comprehensive training to their team and empower the tele-support team to make important decisions. Instead of ‘I’ll have to speak to my manager about this,’ their customer service team issues refunds, changes order status, etc.
- Mission-Vision Document: While creating a mission-vision document about exceptional service is great, knowledge is a leaky bucket. To ensure all employees align with these core values, remind them at least twice a month. Publicly recognise people who uphold and practice these values.
Do remember: culture is repeated behaviour. The more you practice customer-centricity, the more strongly it becomes a part of your culture.
Expanding Services and Capabilities (Sales Head POV)
There are two ways to increase business: sell to newer clients or sell more to existing clients. Diversifying your service offerings helps in both. Upselling opens new revenue streams from existing clients, while new offerings also mean venturing into newer markets.
But before launching new features, products, or services, consider the following steps:
- Market Research: David Ogilvy, the man behind growing many brands, once remarked, “...people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” Trust data just as much as you would trust your gut. Start by identifying emerging trends to uncover potential service opportunities.
- Calculated Risk-Taking: While it is impossible to be 100% accurate, do your best to assess the risks associated with new offerings. Do you have a plan to build, integrate and market it? Build a team to manage this. Most importantly, ensure that it aligns with your expertise.
Balancing calculated risk with market potential can lead to growth and success.
Developing Strategic Partnerships (Distribution Head POV)
As a business owner, you understand the importance of sales. But your sales team goes beyond your ‘on-payroll’ sales team. Strategic partnerships can fuel your IT service export business's growth by broadening your reach and accessing new resources.
Consider insurance companies. They not only have their branches with salespersons but also have an online portal to buy policies. Going beyond this, they enter into partnerships with corporate agents, banks, brokers, and influential individuals to sell products. You can do the same and go beyond.
- Target Complementary Businesses: Coffee roasters can promote cup manufacturers, UI agencies promote web developers, and data storage companies cross-sell cybersecurity solutions. It adds value to businesses and their customers. Look for partners whose services complement your own, and grow together.
- Collaborate on Projects: This starts with the simple things: a front-end and a back-end expert working together on a web project. Such synergies are often dubbed ‘2 +2 = 5’ because when you take on projects together, your combined capabilities add much greater value for the client.
- Networking and Relationship Building: Attend industry events and conferences to network with potential partners, establishing connections that can lead to meaningful collaborations.
Bonus Tip: Invest in Employee Training and Development
An army is only as strong as its weakest soldier. You must nurture a skilled and motivated workforce. Their effectiveness is important not just to your business and customers but also to their personal growth. Invest in your employees' growth through two fronts.
- Developing hard skills through certifications and Training: What should they learn about the domain? Which weak spots should they practice on more? Which certificate will make them feel good about themselves? Support employees in obtaining relevant certifications and training to enhance their expertise and stay updated with industry developments.
- Nurture soft skills through leadership programs: Develop leadership programs to groom future leaders, teaching them how to deal with people, where to back off, and the mental models to build. These collectively create effective management and happier employees.
Your IT service company may position itself for long-term success in a dynamic and competitive industry by implementing five core ideas and investing in personnel training. A customer-centred strategy, technical innovation, and strategic alliances will further strengthen your company's expansion and revenue generation capacity. Remember that success in the always-changing IT service sector depends on ongoing adaptation and improvement.