Business services are the intangible, yet vital, activities that allow companies to function. Companies employ these services to free up their employees to focus on strategic-based internal goals. Businesses can also outsource these activities to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
These activities include IT support, HR services, legal advice, accounting help, and more. While many of these services are offered by independent providers, some are offered in-house, including payroll processing and employee benefits administration. Other in-house services include customer service, accounting, marketing and research. In addition to providing services in-house, companies may also contract with external service providers for certain activities, particularly those that require specialized certifications, permits, insurance or authorization.
For example, a company might outsource its IT services to an IT support firm that can respond immediately to problems and prevent costly downtime for the business. The company might also contract with a logistics firm to handle shipping and delivery of materials for business projects or to customers. This helps the company free up its own employees to focus on more important strategic initiatives and reduce costs by eliminating the need for the company to invest in equipment and hire additional staff.
The services that are categorized as business services can be provided to either businesses (B2B) or end consumers (B2C). A number of different kinds of business services exist, and they range from simple to complex. For example, a home-buying company might provide its customers with financing and mortgage advice, while an IT consulting firm might offer troubleshooting for hardware and software. Some of these services can even be delivered remotely, such as by an IT service provider who provides IT support to clients through a virtual interface.
A successful service business relies on a strong leader who can inspire, motivate and manage its team members. This leader must be able to balance the competitive autonomy of individual service models with the collective value of the overall business services system. Otherwise, revenue-generating line managers will tend to overrule shared service managers, undermining the performance of the entire system.
In addition to developing and delivering the right kind of business services, the leader must be able to develop and implement the proper organizational structure. This will include ensuring that the leadership team is sufficiently diverse to represent the full range of business services needed by the organization. It will also include building systems for accepting online bookings, quoting work, scheduling jobs, invoicing clients, and getting paid.
While there are some challenges to establishing and running a business service, the rewards can be significant. Unlike product companies, service businesses are more likely to thrive if they deliver the right type of experience to their target market. This can be done by focusing on four things: