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A customer reaches for a bottle of Tide detergent, a Proctor and Gamble product at a Target department store, Jan. 27, 2009, in Tallahassee, Fla. (Phil Coale)
A customer reaches for a bottle of Tide detergent, a Proctor and Gamble product at a Target department store, Jan. 27, 2009, in Tallahassee, Fla. (Phil Coale)

Exit: John Warrillow

Package your service, courtesy of Tide Add to ...

To create a company you can sell, you need to demonstrate to a buyer that the business is more than just you.

One way to give your business an identity distinct from your personality is to package and “productize” the way you deliver your service.

Peter Turpel went from consulting with companies about how they used their phone system to developing the “phone on hold marketing system,” which offers businesses various options for handling customer calls, such as music and call routing. Mr. Turpel moved from consulting with customers to productizing his knowledge so that the business became less dependent on him personally.

Proctor & Gamble is arguably the granddaddy of product marketing, so I picked up a bottle of Tide before writing this post. To productize and package your service, follow the Tide formula:

Name it

Tide is the brand and it is always written in the same font. Having a consistent name avoids the generic, commoditized category label of “laundry detergent.” Do you have a name for your service?

Package it

We use the “2 X Ultra” version of Tide, which is packaged in a unique bottle with two pour spouts. The depression knob spigot allows us to carefully measure out a dollop of Tide, whereas the twist cap provides quick flow. Do you have a consistent and unique way your customers physically interact with your product?

Write instructions for use

Tide gives customers instructions for best washing results. If you want your service to feel more like a product, include instructions for getting the most out of your service.

Provide a caution

My Tide bottle tells me that the product “may irritate eyes” and is “harmful if swallowed.” Provide a caution label or a set of “terms and conditions” to explain things to avoid when using your service.

Barcode it

The barcode includes pricing information. Publishing a price and being consistent will make your service seem more like a product.

Copyright it

P&G includes a very small symbol on its bottle to make it clear the company is protecting its ideas.

Special to the Globe and Mail

John Warrillow is the author of Built To Sell: Turn Your Business Into One You Can Sell . Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, Mr. Warrillow has started and exited four companies. Most recently he transformed Warrillow & Co. from a boutique consultancy into a recurring revenue model subscription business, which he sold to The Corporate Executive Board in 2008. He is the author of Drilling for Gold and in 2008 was recognized by BtoB Magazine's “Who's Who” list as one of America's most influential business-to-business marketers.

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Follow on Twitter: @JohnWarrillow

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