A Project-Services Business Has the Opposite DNA of a Product-SaaS Business

The DNA of a tech services business is almost the opposite of the DNA of a successful software product business. Here are the 3 biggest things tech services entrepreneurs need to understand to create a successful software product business.

  1.  Services businesses are about saying YES, and scalable product businesses are mostly about saying NO.Custom consulting businesses are about people finding deep problems together, agreeing on complex solutions, and doing the work. Do you have a big problem there? Yes, we can do that. We can also do that and that, if you pay us. YES!Software products don’t solve problems with people. They’re hard-coded products that solve specific problems in pre-determined ways, over and over. If you code different features for every customer who asks, or customize your pitch every time, you’re not going to scale. You’re stuck.I know you could code anything, but what specific problem will your product solve that won’t change for every customer? Great products are amazingly useful, but they are extremely focused.

    To achieve this focus, you must say No to most customer types, use cases, and product designs that you COULD build for.

    Focus requires saying No and narrowing in on the few things you say Yes to, which most service entrepreneurs are almost allergic to doing.

  2.  Most tech services businesses don’t declare much on their websites. They just want to meet with you, find your exact problem, and solve that. If we say too much on the website, we might scare some clients away. Right?Product businesses require a strong public declaration to describe their products and why they are useful. This will not change quickly, and nobody will be there to explain it to prospects in person, at least at first.Services entrepreneurs who launch a product usually underestimate by 10 TIMES the clarity, focus, and craftiness of the words required for someone to become interested in your product on your website.Ten service entrepreneurs in the last week told me how they are focusing on “SMBs.” They have made the hard choice to narrow their focus to 98.9% of all businesses in the world. Nice try. Keep going.

    I don’t know any small business owner who is searching Google or asking friends about “digital transformation software for SMBs.”

    They want an “inexpensive invoice management tool for regulated machine shop software businesses like us.” You must declare that as your laser focus at the top of your home page for that buyer to consider buying from you.

  3.  Services businesses are easier to start and easier to make a profit but are more difficult to scale.Product businesses are harder to start and unprofitable at first, but they can sometimes scale much bigger. Sometimes.Each are totally different games that need to be played differently.

The first rule of the game is to know which game you are playing.


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