A service business is a business that sells services directly to consumers or other businesses. The service sector is active all over the world, and many people have interactions with such businesses on a daily basis. Companies can also have subdivisions that offer services; a computer company, for example, may have a service arm that provides support to its users.
Services are intangible in nature, only appearing when required by the consumer, which makes the nature of this type of business very different from that of others. Some examples include the hospitality sector, consulting, appliance repair, computer support, health care, utilities, business services, real estate, legal services, and education. In all of these cases, people are being provided with a service, not a product, whether they are receiving treatment for a medical problem or learning in an elementary school classroom.
Marketing a service business can be tricky, because people are selling an intangible idea rather than a product. Marketing often focuses on showcasing the results and on pushing customer service values to suggest that people will have a positive experience when they work with the business. A lawyer, for example, might demonstrate a high success rate with particular types of cases to attract customers, while a restaurant might pride itself on providing customer service of very high quality, which makes diners feel like honored guests.
Starting this type of business can be less costly than starting one that makes and sells products. Depending on the business, much less capital investment may be required. For example, a computer support technician could easily work out of a personal vehicle, traveling to clients to provide support services. On the other hand, capital is needed to start a restaurant in order to secure and equip a facility.
Running a service business is also appealing to many people who are interested in working independently. Such businesses can often be operated by a single person, who may expand the business later as needed, and they allow people to put skills to work in a variety of ways. Someone who has knowledge and skills that may be valuable to others can turn them into a livelihood with a business that allows other people to hire him for his skills, or hire him for the purpose of teaching skills. It is also possible to blend service elements into another type of business. For example, a skilled weaver could teach weaving classes in addition to selling finished woven products.