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The Complete Guide to Service Business Ideas

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Starting a service business is one of the smartest decisions an entrepreneur can make. They’re flexible, consistent, and usually have a low startup cost. In this guide, we’ll cover the benefits of starting a service business, how to come up with a profitable idea, and how to make your business successful once it’s launched. 

Why Having a Strong Service Business Idea Is So Important

While it may seem that implementing and running your service business is complicated, the real challenge is coming up with a strong business service idea.

Being your own boss is attractive for many reasons–unlimited earning potential, setting your hours, and complete flexibility. However, this also means that you’ll have a lot of competition, which is why it’s not enough to just imitate other businesses around you. 

Anyone can start a service business, but not everyone will be successful. You need to stand out from the crowd and show potential customers that you’re different and doing something better than everyone else. This means coming up with an innovative business service idea that fills a gap in the market. 

A great example of this is Amazon, which is arguably the world’s most successful service business. Jeff Bezos read a report on the future of web commerce and decided that he could leverage the power of the internet to sell to “anyone, anywhere.” Meeting the needs of people who couldn’t easily access bookstores enabled him to eventually expand Amazon into the billion-dollar company we know today. 

Having a clear business idea is also very important for marketing. In a competitive market like service businesses, connecting with your target audience and branding yourself is the key to success. The more clearly defined your idea, and the more niche and valuable it is, the easier it will be to market yourself and grab people’s attention. 

Quick Tips For Coming Up With a Strong Business Service Idea 

Coming up with a new and profitable service business idea in a saturated market can be overwhelming. But there are a few ways to maximize your chances of coming up with a powerful idea that becomes successful. 

One of the best ways you can do this is by doing market research through keywords. A tool like SEMrush is really helpful for this because you’ll be able to see what people are searching for in any industry or niche. You’ll also be able to see what parts of similar businesses are doing well by analyzing the websites of your potential competitors. 

One of the best tools they offer is their brand monitoring tool, which allows you to track product and service mentions across competitor sites. You can use this to follow trends, learn your competitor’s strategies, and analyze your service once it’s launched. 

SEMrush offers you a free version, a paid trial, and a subscription package, so you can see the benefits for yourself before you commit to a long-term plan.  

Choose a Business Model 

The type of service business you choose will define how you implement, research, and run it. A service business can be a tangible business, like catering and party planning. Or it could be a digital service, like consulting and graphic design. 

There are a few things you’ll want to consider when choosing what type of service business you’re going to pursue:

  • What you enjoy doing 
  • What you are passionate about 
  • What you are experienced in 
  • What you are qualified in/for 
  • Whether you want to work alone or on a team 
  • If it is profitable 
  • How much you can afford to invest 

Deciding how much you’re able or willing to invest is a very important part of coming up with a service business idea. If you opt to go with an online or digital business idea, like copywriting or web design, you can get started with virtually no upfront investment.

If you start a physical service business, like pet grooming or bicycle rentals, you’ll have to invest money into equipment, transportation, and rental space for your business headquarters. 

If you’re planning to make a significant investment initially, your idea needs to be profitable enough to bring you a return on your investment. You also need to make sure you don’t overstretch your finances too early, or you could end up bankrupting your business before it has enough time to grow. 

It’s also important to choose a business you’re passionate about, as well as one that you’re knowledgeable and experienced in. Starting a business always requires a lot of time, energy, and patience in the initial stages. If you don’t know what you’re doing or you hate what you’re doing, you’ll struggle to find motivation and give up at the first hurdle. 

Decide on What Your Business Will Do 

Once you have an idea of the business model you’ll be following, you need to decide what your service business will do and what your unique selling point is. 

What you really want to find here is a balance between a business idea that’s popular, and therefore profitable, but not too competitive that you have no chance of growing. Or, if you do choose a very competitive niche, how can you do it in a new way? 

Something that you want to avoid is anything based on a trend or something seasonal. A seasonal business can thrive, but it’s rare. You want something that people always need (like food or home repairs) or that comes up throughout the year (like weddings and funerals) 

Here are some examples of good service business ideas that are likely to be profitable and stay relevant throughout the year:

  • Catering 
  • Web Design 
  • Legal Services 
  • Plumbing 
  • Car Repairs 
  • Fitness Coaching 
  • Party Planning

Do Market Research 

Once you have an idea of the type of business you want to start and what you’ll be doing, you need to research your target audience. 

If you want your business to succeed, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition and show your audience that you’re filling a gap in the market that other companies aren’t.

Using a tool like SEMrush will make it easy for you to analyze your competition, find out which topics in your business niche are trending, and what searches are coming up over and over again. So, for instance, if you’re starting a photography business, you can use SEMrush to find out which types of photography are in demand: 

You can then look into one of the options in more detail to niche down. Let’s take a look at wedding photography: 

We can see that people are also looking for local wedding photographers. You might decide based on this information that starting a wedding photography business catering to your local area will be the most profitable idea. 

Make sure that you also define a clear target audience and demographic for your customers. The key to any successful business is to have a good grasp of the target audience and show them that you know exactly how to solve their problems. 

Stick With What you Know 

Most great businesses are started by entrepreneurs who created something they needed themselves. If you look at interviews with many service business founders, they’ll tell you that they noticed a gap in the market because they couldn’t find someone to provide the service THEY were looking for. 

Sometimes, the simplest solution for finding a successful business service idea is creating a solution to a problem you’re having. This is why it’s particularly good to stay in a niche you’re experienced in or passionate about–you’re more likely to notice what’s missing. 

For example, maybe you wanted to plan a birthday party for your child but could not find a local bakery that provided gluten-free cakes. You could use that experience to help you start a service business that delivers party catering for children with allergies. 

Try making a list of all the times you’ve struggled to find a service. See if any of those sound like doable service business ideas and if you’d be interested in them. Ask t friends, family, or forums to see if anyone else has experienced this problem and if there’s any enthusiasm for the idea. 

Sticking with a niche that you know and care about will also help you define your target audience because, well, they’re you. And it’ll make it easier for you to market and run the business down the line. 

Long-Term Strategies for Running a Successful Service Business 

Coming up with an excellent service business idea is only half the battle. The next step is to implement and run your business successfully. Luckily, there are a few strategies that you can use to maximize your chances of success. 

Invest in Marketing

Marketing is the most critical factor as to whether or not a business will be successful. Even the most unique and innovative business idea will fail if no one knows it exists. 

If you want your business to grow, it’s worth investing some money into your marketing. However, the beauty of the internet is that there are lots of affordable and even free ways to market your business. 

Here are some of the most powerful ways you can market your service business: 

Social Media 

Social Media is an invaluable tool for marketing. 54% of social browsers use social media to make buying decisions, and if you consider that most of the world is on social media, that’s a lot of potential customers! The other huge benefit of social media is that it’s free to use, even for business accounts. 

Testimonials and Reviews

Word of mouth is a very important part of starting a service business. If someone is happy with the service you provide, they’ll likely tell their friends and family about it. You can utilize that by making it easy for customers to leave you reviews or testimonials, which you can then showcase online. 

Content Marketing 

Content marketing involves any form of content that promotes your business, including blog posts, podcasts, and videos. Content marketing aims to build trust with your potential customers by providing them with value through your content. For help with your content marketing strategy, check out our step-by-step guide.

Email Marketing 

Email marketing is a great way to build trust and upsell warm leads. It’s a free, easy way to build a connection with your customers and make sure that they know about any upcoming launches, offers, or updates. 


Having a strong brand is essential for differentiating yourself from your competition and making it easy for customers to find you. This includes having a relevant and memorable name, a color scheme across your online content and products, a logo, and a brand voice that shows your personality. 

Prioritize Customer Service 

As a service business, your ability to provide positive and valuable customer service is paramount. Like we mentioned before, word of mouth and reviews are a big part of the success of a service business. Unlike commerce businesses, where a lot of the success relies on how good the product is, your business will most likely be judged on the experience as a whole. 

This doesn’t mean that the service you provide shouldn’t be good. You can be the nicest person in the world, but you still need to deliver what you’re promising. However, going the extra mile for clients will set you apart from your competition and keep people coming back to you. 

A great example of this is a restaurant. They’re providing a service, but no matter how good the food is, people don’t go back to restaurants where they’re mistreated, made to wait for hours, or spoken down to by waiters. 

Nurturing your customer relationships will do your marketing for you. One of the best ways to differentiate your brand is to be known for having the best service. 

Network With Other Businesses 

You might think that you need to avoid your competition, but networking with other brands is a great way to grow and build your service business. 

Not only can you learn from others in your industry, but you never know where a connection might come in handy. You might build a relationship with another photography brand, which then sends clients over to you when they’re fully booked. 

Or you might be able to partner with complementary businesses in your area to offer packages. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, you could partner with a local wedding caterer and a limousine rental agency. You could agree to recommend each other to clients or put together a bundled package for events. 

Networking with other businesses doesn’t just open up doors for business growth. It can also help you provide a better service. You don’t want to imitate another company. Still, you can take inspiration from things other businesses are doing differently and learn about new trends or products to help you do a better job. 

Thanks to the internet, it’s also easy to find a group related to your industry and business. You can look for local meetups and events, LinkedIn or Facebook groups, or connect with similar accounts on social media.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve found the right service business idea, you need to launch your business. This means building an online presence, marketing yourself, and eventually expanding into a bigger brand. 

Focus on customer service and building strong relationships with clients because that will help establish you. One of the things that helped Amazon gain notoriety was its reputation for exceptional customer service. You should also make sure you’re investing in branding and content marketing, as this will help add that personal touch that people are looking for in service businesses. 

If you’re looking for a little more help through the process, Crazy Egg has a few more guides that can help you reach success faster: 

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