15 Ways Service-Based Businesses Can Stand Out and Thrive in the New Year

tips for service-based businesses to stand out in the new year

As the year draws to a close, small service-based businesses face the challenge of not only reflecting on their past performance but also positioning themselves for success in the upcoming year. But how can these businesses stand out in the crowd to truly distinguish themselves and set a solid foundation for the year ahead?

Here, 15 Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question to help small businesses rise above the competition and pave the way for a bright 2024.

“What’s one thing a small service-based business can do to really stand out from the competition as the year comes to a close? How will this help set them up well for the new year ahead?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say.

1. Offer Personalized Gifts

“Consider offering personalized year-end gratitude gifts to your most loyal clients. This gesture goes beyond a simple holiday card and demonstrates your genuine appreciation for their business. You can customize the gift to each client’s preferences or add a heartfelt, handwritten note expressing your thanks. It’s a meaningful way to strengthen client relationships and foster goodwill.” ~ Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

2. Get Creative in Marketing Campaigns

“Service-based businesses can stand out by injecting some creativity into their marketing campaigns and offering special holiday promotions or packages. This will attract attention, engage customers and create a memorable experience. It will also foster customer loyalty and set the business up for a strong start in the new year.” ~ Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage

3. Offer Additional Perks Free of Charge or at a Discounted Rate

“One thing small service-based businesses can do to really stand out from the competition as the year comes to a close is to go the extra mile and exceed customer expectations either through additional perks or by offering additional services for a discount or at no extra charge. This ultimately will help lead the conversation when following up with the customer after the new year.” ~ Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

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4. Operate With a Customer-Centric Approach

“Being customer-centric is the key to standing out as a small business. When you prioritize the needs of your customers, you create an experience beyond transactions. You build relationships, foster loyalty and establish a reputation that distinguishes you from the competition. By putting your customers first, you gain their trust and create a strong foundation for sustainable growth.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

5. Create a Loyalty Program

“One thing a small service-based business can do to stand out from the competition is to come up with a well-thought-out loyalty program. As the year comes to a close, rewarding your customers for staying by your side and preferring you over alternatives in the industry may go a long way and set you up for a great start for the year ahead.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Give Back to the Community

“Small service-based businesses can stand out at the end of the year by taking part in community donations. Many nonprofit organizations are holding silent auctions to raise money for holiday shows. Service-based businesses can donate gift certificates or their services. This not only gives them exposure but also shows that they care about their communities.” ~ Shu Saito, All Filters

7. Host an Event or Workshop

“If you’re a service-based business looking for ways to stand out, try hosting some themed events or workshops for your users. By doing that, you can ensure that your audience continues to remain engaged, informed and entertained. It’ll also help you showcase your talent and position your business as an expert in the industry.” ~ Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

8. Start a Referral Program

“To stand out from the competition, a small service-based business may consider implementing a referral program. A referral program allows you to fuel positive word-of-mouth and generate more traction as your customers become advocates of your brand. Plus, since you incentivize your loyal customers to promote your solutions, you get to build lasting relationships with them and improve retention.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Send Appreciation Cards

“One easy way you can stand out from the competition as the year comes to a close is by sending out personalized appreciation cards to your clients. This can be thank-you notes or holiday cards expressing gratitude for their support throughout the year. This can leave a lasting impression and strengthen client relationships, which is very important for your long-term success.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

10. Let Your Loyal Customers in on What’s in Store for Next Year

“Give your loyal customers a little sneak peek and early access to what’s in store in the new year. Let them know what you’ve been working on all year and how you incorporated their valuable feedback. Provide an opportunity for them to see how important they are to your brand and how they’ve influenced its vision going forward. Give them a glimpse at your team, processes and what’s to come.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

11. Build a Customer Success Team

“One way small businesses can rise above everyone else in their industry is to establish a success team. These employees are tasked with reaching out to new customers to see if they have any questions or need help with their new purchase. A customer success team will help you win over new customers and ensure people see your service as valuable well into the new year.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

12. Publish an ‘Annual Review’ for Transparency

“End the year with radical transparency. Publish an ‘Annual Review’ detailing not just successes, but failures, lessons learned and the exact way client feedback was incorporated. Few businesses bear it all, and it shows vulnerability and respect for client voices. As the new year rolls in, clients will gravitate toward a brand they can trust, not one that hides behind curated success stories.” ~ Shaun Conrad, Number2 CPA Exam Resources

13. Incorporate Live Assistance in Addition to Automated Tools

“Customers value personalized service more than ever as automation takes over. You can still use automated tools, such as chatbots, automated replies and more, but make sure you also make it easy for customers to talk to a live person. Smaller businesses can also make an extra effort to get familiar with the individual needs of customers so they feel valued.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

14. Ask for Feedback and Act on It

“In my experience, one of the best ways to stand out from your competitors is to ask for feedback often and then act on it! People are far more likely to engage with your business if you ask for their advice and make changes based on their suggestions. This is a great way to boost engagement during the holidays and help you figure out how to create a better user experience in the new year ahead.” ~ Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

15. Provide Top-Notch Customer Service

“To stand out as the year ends, focus on exceptional customer service. This builds loyalty, generates referrals, boosts your reputation, ensures sustainability and provides a competitive edge for a strong start in the new year.” ~ Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment – Real Estate Funds

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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