TMBA 266: Growing Productized Services Businesses

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Bossman and I are in Bangkok, gearing up for DC BKK, and we are chatting with our friend Jacob Puhl this week. Jacob is one of our speakers here for the event, and he has built a really unique and successful productized service business at, geared primarily toward the dental industry. He really has a lot of valuable knowledge on the actions that go into scaling a business. We’re gonna be talking about how to overcome the complications of investing in and expanding a services business and the five ways to turn your services business into a salable asset.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What happened when someone tried to buy Jacob’s business.
  • Why you should be mapping out your workflow.
  • What it means to define the “pods” of your business, and how you can use that knowledge to your advantage.
  • How creating scorecards can enable you to track and monitor productivity.
  • Jacob’s unique way of measuring his clients’ satisfaction with his service.
  • How to manage the “emotional machine” of a service business.

People on this episode:

Mentioned in the episode:

Bossman, Simon Payne, and Jacob Puhl

Bossman, Simon Payne, and Jacob Puhl

Listening options:


Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

Published on 10.16.14
  • Jack Gamble

    An interesting conversation – although that’s pretty standard around this part of the internet :). Some stellar advice on managing staff too. Keeping them feeling good about working for you, such that high productivity comes fairly naturally from them, is a difficult challenge, and I think Jacob addressed it well.

    Thanks for a cool listen!

    Jack –

  • Francisco

    Funny, I was listening to the “Knowledge Gap Fallacy” podcast just yesterday, where ironically Dan says that “you don’t want to be selling marketing to dentists who don’t know that they need PPC or they don’t know how to do it”, because yo’re filling a Knowledge gap, rather than an efficiency gap. Very ironic that you’d end up showcasing marketing for dentists as a case study! haha. No beef, just pointing out the irony guys, I got tons of value from both podcasts and I always listen to you guys. Cheers!

  • Perfect timing as always guys! I’m at the point of scaling my productized services businesses, currently writing my SOPs and will be mapping out job positions after this wisdom. With hiring contractors, do you have any written agreement or template you could share / point to? Thanks!

    Richard –

  • Jeremy

    Was that the voice of Joaquin Phoenix? Secret DCBKK speaker?

  • hahaha not-so-secret Jacob absolutely rocked the stage at DCBKK

  • meh we do internally but honestly I don’t think it’s that good, it basically just makes the terms– non compete, salary, reviews, contractor, clear.

  • thanks Jack glad you dug it!

  • Absolutely this show is full of contradictions, I also told the Minaal guys I thought they shouldn’t focus on their bag! so much for that advice.

    On a serious note I stand by everything I said in knowledge gap episode, Jacob’s business is lucrative but it’s not one that I’d advocate to younger people without great sales skills to start. The success Jacob’s seen, in my view, is due in large part to his skills as an entrepreneur. He’s a tremendous sales person, and running such a difficult business has also honed his skills in mgmt. The knowledge vs efficiency gap advice also is more suited for people looking to earn their first 50 to 100K of consulting income

  • Karen Amundson

    Hey Tropical MBA listeners, I have the same question: I’m starting to scale my marketing services business and I need a little bit of legal advice to transition from a sole proprietorship plus working out better contract templates. I’ve got a few subcontractors in different countries and want to protect my IP in terms of processes and work templates, tools, etc. Anyone have a good recommendation for a lawyer or law firm that gets the nuances of location independent businesses?

  • honestly this is a great opportunity for a new lawyer, found it very difficult to find affordable law services for new LI businesses :(

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