Every service-based business revolves around one thing: Deliverables!
Whether you’re delivering creative services, technical services, marketing services, or anything in between. Whether your services are one-time or recurring. Whether they’re high-ticket, low-ticket, or mid-market…
If you can’t deliver your service with a predictable and efficient process, it will be nearly impossible to scale your service business.
Most agencies, consultancies, and service companies never take time to focus on their deliverables processes. They just do things haphazardly, in a different way on every new project. This might get the job done once, but it’ll be a continuous slog to run those projects again and again, at scale.
That’s why it is imperative that you take that time away from the day-to-day client work to focus on how your company does that work. The process by which you and your team execute planning, creating, and delivering the things that your clients pay you for!
This guide is here to help you do just that. It’s a guide to crafting a better process for those service deliverables.
The goal? To make your process run more predictably. To that, the steps in your process must become standardized. Hence the term, standard operating procedures.
It’s more exciting than it sounds… Especially once your business is capable of running and growing on its own, thanks to your processes!
In this Service Deliverables Process Guide, you’ll find:
- Access to our service deliverables process template kit for ProcessKit
- The key phases in a service deliverable process
- The people who touch every part of your workflow (who you may or may not need to hire)
- How to adapt your process for delivering services to the unique ways your business operates
- Next steps to actually implementing a service deliverable process that can scale.
Here we go!
Get your service deliverable process template kit
Our service deliverables process template kit for ProcessKit includes a strategic step-by-step process, plus our pre-configured custom project type for executing each project from start to finish, and a set of custom fields to use when executing on those service deliverables.
Not yet a ProcessKit user? That’s OK. You can start your free trial today and add order to how your service operates by using this process template kit.
Key phases in every service deliverable project
Clearly, your service will have it’s own unique requirements, methodologies, and timelines, as it should!
But when it comes to working on your business’ processes, it helps to optimize the areas that you know will always be necessary. Here are a few key steps, or phases, that you should be focused on:
Kicking off a service project
By the time your client has gone through you new customer onboarding process (you do have one of those, don’t you?), you should be well-positioned to kick off their first deliverable smoothly.
Ideally, the team who onboarded the client will hand over any and all notes and specifications about what the service project should entail. In all likelihood, that onboarding team is the same group of people (or just you!), so that makes it even easier.
Still—It is important to have a central place where those details for each client and their deliverables are stored, so that everyone on your team is on the same page. These details should also dictate how the process that your team follows will unfold. ProcessKit is designed for this exact purpose, enabling your processes to adapt automatically given different criteria for every new project.
Executing the work & tracking progress
The work of executing a deliverable will break into a series of tasks, often handled by different members of your team. You’ll want these to follow a consistent, standard process every time.
That means using the same methods, tools, timeframes, and sometimes leveraging templates or frameworks. It doesn’t mean the final deliverable needs to be cookie-cutter. Your process can include steps where unique, creative, or customized work takes place. But that work should follow it’s own standard process!
While the work is being done, it’s imperative that two things happen simultaneously:
- Your client needs to be in the loop at all times on where their deliverable is at, and when they can expect it to be done.
- Your team, especially those in management, need to have visibility into where each project is at in its lifecycle.
Your client should receive regular status update messages, informing them of things like what’s been done, what’s coming up next, and whether there is anything needed from them (or any blockers they can help clear up).
At times in your production process, you may need to gather assets from the client, or get their feedback or approval on some aspect of the work. This too, should follow a standard process so that everyone’s expectations can be managed effectively (are you noticing a trend here?).
Internally, everyone on your team needs to have a clear view into where each service deliverable is at. This is important on a number of different levels:
- Anyone should be able to see where a specific deliverable for a specific client is at, and whether it is still on schedule or not.
- Managers need to know which team members are overloaded with work and which ones have availability to take on more work.
- Seeing progress across all projects helps the company plan and project key metrics like revenue, capacity, growth and more.
Whichever tools your team is using to manage those repeatable projects in your service business, it’s important that it supports these objectives. ProcessKit provides views into all of those levels of progress, and it also has a robust Zapier integration so that it can sync up with any other software you might be using.
The final deliverable
Everyone finished their work? Not quite… Before sending it off to the client, it’ll need to pass your internal quality assurance checks.
Your QA should follow its own process, and it’s best if it’s handled by someone other than the people who worked on the deliverable itself. That way, it’s a fresh set of eyes who might be able to catch mistakes that someone who’s closer to the work can easily miss.
Your quality assurance check should have it’s own documented checklist, along with notes, so that anyone can go back and audit whether a project passed QA or not before being sent to the client.
Finally, once the deliverable is ready, you can send it to the client. It helps if this follows a standard template with spaces to swap in the unique links to access the work—especially if you’re delivering many pieces of work each week.
Who does what and when?
As a solo consultant, you’ll likely wear all of the hats. But as your company grows, it helps to hire specialists to fill out specific roles in your service deliverable process.
Here’s what those roles might look like:
- A project manager to oversee milestones and communicate both with the client and team members to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Creative or technical experts. These are the people doing the bulk of the creative, strategic, and analytical work required to deliver the service.
- Assistants. Every deliverable entails a bit of mundane, repetitive, legwork-type of work. This is best left to an assistant so that the creative team doesn’t get bogged down.
Making your service process work _your_ way
As we established earlier, your service is unique and there are a lot of factors that will impact how you custom tailor your process for you deliver it.
With that in mind, here are a few questions you can consider as you work on your business and improve its processes:
How much variation from project to project is there? If there is a high degree of variation, you can create different processes for the most common scenarios. If there’s only some variability, then perhaps you can build in “if this, then that” rules into a single process. Either way, it’s a good opportunity to think strategically about how might tweak your business’s offering so that the service becomes more standardized over time.
Which types of skillsets are required? Most services require a special talent or skillset. You’ll want to ensure that the key creative and strategic people who run your process possess those unique skills. Note: That doesn’t mean the process must rely solely on you! There are plenty of talented people out there who have the same (or better) level of skills as you do!
Is the service recurring or one-time? If it is a recurring service, which has deliverables, say, every month, then the timing of deliverables is critical. You’ll want to ensure clients get their delivers on time, every week or month, and not fall behind schedule. One-time services should carefully adhere to timelines as well, so that you don’t see much project drag.
Next steps to implementing a more scalable process for your service deliverables
Time to put this into action. Your service needs a process. Your clients and your team will thank you.
Start by using our service deliverables process template kit for ProcessKit. This free kit for ProcessKit users has all of the parts you’ll need to actually implement a more scalable process for your service, including:
- Our step-by-step process template (fully editable, easy to customize or use as-is)
- Dynamic date rules built into every process step
- A custom project type which be used for a specific type of service deliverable
- A set of custom fields that make your projects even more tailored to how your business works.
Not on ProcessKit yet? No problem. Start your free trial so you can improve your process now (starting with your service deliverable process!).