Building a service could be similar to building a product.
In a product based company, you build first your product and then you take it to the market to get customers for it who will pay for it. You invest first before you gain a single dime out of it.
Service is similar. You build your service first and then you take it to the market to get customers who will pay for your service. However, the outcome of building service is somewhat different than that of building a product. In a product, you and your team are investing your time, money and energy in actually building a third tangible thing/outcome, the product (example a software or a table). In service when you are building it you cannot actually see something coming out. What we are building is team itself. We are building skills, attitudes, workflows etc. and is a combination of multiple things (technology, people, strategy) so that when our service is being actually used it performs and functions well as expected
When you have built a product you sell it to a specific customer. If my product is a women’s shoes I am not going to sell it to a man (although it could be sold to men, but they are not the primary focus). Same way I cannot sell my service to anyone. I have to find my right customer to whom I can sell my service and they need it for their benefit.
Today something miraculous happened. Usually every morning I iron school uniform of my 5 year old kid while my wife prepares him for the school. Last week since last 2 instances I wasn’t ironing the clothes and my wife was doing it but she complained that the iron was not working and over the weekend we forgot about it. Today morning as I resumed my ironing duty again I realized the iron was dead cold. It is winter morning and I tried to plug the iron in some other plugs and tried twisting the cable, adjusting the heat controller on the iron, to try to see if somehow it gets started but only the the indicator turned ON, the iron was still not warming up and it’s heating plate was dead cold. I was rubbing my hands over it.
I went downstairs to find an old spare iron we had and I saw my father using it couple of times. I realized from my wife, that the spare iron was gone too and my father discarded it. She told me to buy a new iron later as when last time it was not working we got it repaired at some shop but the shop owner told that it won’t last long. So we thought that it is time to buy new one this time instead of getting it repaired. I went back upstairs into the room with no clue. As I came to the desk where I iron the clothes I saw the wrinkled washed school uniform of my son and I thought it was too much wrinkled and it wouldn’t look good at all if my son goes on to school with such a uniform. I was sad about it and really wanted to do something about it. The only option was to iron the clothes with a dead iron. It was not going to make the clothes straight and crisp but I thought may be I could make some wrinkles go away by pressing hard on it. It was a stupid idea I know and it was not going to work that way and that I would soon give up, but something in my heart told to me to do so. As if something was telling me just lay the clothes straight on the desk and iron it and I wished that somehow the iron starts. So did I laid my son’s shirt on the desk as I usually would do and started with the cold iron and I tried it for just few seconds or minutes and then took his trouser and laid it on the desk, matched the creases and straighten it up on the desk, and then there again put on the cold iron. My left hand moved after the places where my right hand moved the iron over and then suddenly at one place I felt the cloth was warm and in a second I heard the tick sound that usually happens when the Iron starts warming up. I was amazed of this sudden, strange, unexpected, exhilarating thing happening and I was astound how it could be. It confirmed to my inner voice leading and I felt like someone saying “didn’t I told you to do that?..”. I was so happy and hurried up to iron my son’s school uniform while it was hot. In the back of my mind I feared it would stop again, so I tried to do it as fast I could and completed the first round of ironing over the shirt. The iron was still hot so I could tell now that it was not something that worked for a second, but it has been fixed some how and I am going to finish the ironing as I would usually do with nothing left over. While I was doing so I was still wondering and amazed about how it happened and it was confirming my readings & learnings of the past that you need to have the faith for doing something even if it seems impossible. Many times I am afraid of starting/doing something because I lack something or it won’t work out and so many excuses but from today’s small instance God taught me that to start something you really just need a Faith in Him and Start, leave everything else upon Him who is much more Capable, Faithful and has far greater powers to bring things in the best possible way.
I told this experience to my wife and she was so happy and reminded me about Bible’s verse where Jesus talks about having a faith as small as a mustard seed.
It is really amazing how God uses tiny instances of our life to teach his truths and making us firm in Him and in believing Him. I was really down few days and was struggling in my faith and I prayed God to – help me overcome my unbelief!. God indeed heard that prayer taught me something so real and beautiful and which is going to stay with me life long.
I also learn’t that at times we just need to start even if it seems impossible. Without an action nothing is going to happen. God first calls us to take an action before he will do his work.
Thank you Lord!
Very interesting question and I know lot of people aspiring to be entrepreneur have this question. I found an interesting answer from the book. “Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup”
In the introductory chapter the author begins with the above question and according to him the answer is affirmative. To this he places an interesting point which I never thought about and as I always thought that it is something within you. I would quote him below
When we look at Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and all the other highly visible entrepreneurs, they seem to be different from us. They seem extraordinary. But each of their successes is a result of great products that made them successful, not some special gene. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must have great and innovative products. Products can be physical goods, but also services or the delivery of information. All the other factors that influence success are nothing without a product. And the process of making a great product can be taught. This book will teach you how to systematically improve your odds of making a great product.
Aulet, Bill (2013-07-31). Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup (Kindle Locations 454-459). Wiley. Kindle Edition.
After reading this I have got a different view point about entrepreneurship and I am looking forward to read this book about how to build great product and eventually become a great entrepreneur 🙂