Business services are an important part of the European economy. They include many diverse sectors such as consulting, transportation, cleaning, hospitality and travel management, management consultancy, IT support, law, employment services and facilities management among others. They make up 11% of the European Union GDP and contribute to the’serviceization’ of the European economy. They are also increasingly being used to add value to products by means of new combinations of goods and services.
Companies that specialize in providing one or more of these business services are referred to as service businesses or services sector. Service industries typically employ a greater percentage of the European workforce than manufacturing or trade enterprises. They are also a significant source of wealth in the developed world and are often critical to a country’s economic growth.
A large portion of the workforce in countries with developing economies is employed in the service industry. In fact, in many of these countries, the service industry contributes over 50% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The primary distinction between a product business and a service business is that product-oriented businesses produce tangible products like cars, computers and chemicals. In contrast, a pure service business produces only intangible products such as the advice given by management consultants or the work of plumbers and electricians. In many cases, the intangible nature of a service is what gives it its value and creates barriers to entry into the market.
Almost every company requires some sort of business service. The responsibilities of the finance industry, for example, include accounting, taxes and payroll. The procurement and shipping industries ensure that a company has the materials necessary for its operations. Utility service businesses provide vital services like water, electricity and gas.
It is not uncommon for a business to outsource its business services functions. A large firm with multiple offices, for instance, may hire a staffing agency to find employees in local markets. A company that manufactures its own products might contract with a janitorial service to keep its workspace clean and organized.
The qualifications needed to secure a job in the business services industry vary depending on the specific sector in which you want to work. For example, to pursue a career in logistics or shipping, you will need a high school diploma and excellent organizational skills. However, to start a career in software engineering or an IT role, you will need a bachelor’s degree.
A successful career in business services requires an excellent understanding of the needs of customers. This is particularly true for customer-facing roles such as a manager in an IT department or a consultant to a marketing company. The most successful managers in these types of positions use powerful techniques that help them translate the complex and sometimes invisible requirements of a customer into measurable and manageable objectives for their teams. These are known as service design techniques. These techniques have proved to be highly effective in establishing a strong foundation for the success of a service business.