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.
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 🙂