The Hands-Off CEO Blog

Do You Offer Brains, Hands, or Both?

What do you sell? Brains, hands, or both? Do you offer an expensive set of hands, or outcomes that your clients salivate over?

Most often service business lead with their process.

“We have state of the art equipment, and we are the very best [engineering, marketing, tech solutions] company around. We are better than all the rest because we are better trained…”

Basically, they are justifying why their time is worth more than the next guy’s.

I have seen this over and over with high-ticket services. The businesses that have the easiest time creating demand and winning lifelong clients are those that can stand by their results. If you can’t yet stand by your results enough to potentially offer a guarantee, you haven’t invested enough energy into understanding the client’s problem forward and backward.

When you do, you can exit the time = money hamster wheel. And grow a sustainable business.

Don’t be afraid to offer a BIG outcome.

It will take a different approach. And in most cases, I don’t recommend an overnight shift. You take steps toward this as part of your Scalable Growth Plan. Test the solution until you have it so perfected that you can guarantee at least part of it.

When you understand the problem forwards and backward, then you can use your team to build out a rock solid ‘Client Success Map’. This is the framework to profitably lead custom brain-heavy services from handshake through to massive big outcome.

And with 80-100% of the work done without you.

This ‘Client Success Map’ also lays the groundwork to streamline many parts of your business.

The Client Success Map defines:

  • Where the biggest value is so that you can do more of it, and INCREASE FEES.
  • What problems to solve for which types of clients so marketing is simplified.
  • What skill you need on your team to scale so you don’t invest in the wrong staff.
  • More efficient and profitable work so that service delivery and new client onboarding takes a fraction of the time (50-75% reduction is common).
  • What needs to be checked, when, and by whom so you can stop spinning plates and are no longer the bottleneck.
  • Where the touch points are in your service so that every client gets a great experience even when you double or triple the number of clients.
  • Where you as the owner adds the most value so that you can focus your time on higher level work that grows the company.

“But where do I start?”

Start like this: person/company > problem > process > product

You start with identifying which market and which problem. If you’ve been in business for 5 years or more, there are a lot of places to look. Then narrow is more based on who the problem is the most expensive for (the easiest way to add more value is to move upstream in your market). Test and refine.

This is how you become best in class…
This is how you increase margins, as the cost to deliver goes down…
This is how you add more value so you can 2-4X+ your rates based on results…

This is how you scale a custom services business that is currently owner dependent.

My clients consistency create less stressful, more profitable businesses following this methodology.

I have just gone over WHAT you need to do.

Would you like to know HOW to apply to your specific situation?


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Mandi Ellefson

Mandi Ellefson

Mandi Ellefson helps service businesses with the tricky task of becoming scalable. Her passion is helping freedom seeking entrepreneurs scale the better way– for success in their business and in the rest of their life. Out of a decade+ experience and testing as a business manager, and then building and selling a design business, Mandi has created a system that is responsible for generating tens of thousands of dollars of new revenue for businesses she's worked with.

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