Business services are various tasks and activities that help maintain a business but do not produce or deliver a tangible product. They include information technology (IT) support that aligns IT assets with business needs and supports the ability of a company to be profitable. Other examples of business services are warehousing, packaging, merchandising, customer service, accounting and legal help.
The services industry is a major economic contributor and provides jobs for millions of people worldwide. In some countries, this sector accounts for a significant portion of GDP. It is a broad career category and includes sectors like consulting, staffing, logistics, facilities management, waste management, shipping, security and more.
There are three main types of business services: business-to-business, social and business-to-consumer services. Business-to-business, or B2B, services help other businesses for a flat or hourly rate to enable them to operate more efficiently or increase their output. Business-to-consumer, or B2C, services help customers achieve a goal they couldn’t do independently because of a lack of knowledge, training or resources.
Regardless of the type of business services, these companies need strong leadership to balance revenue-generating line managers’ autonomy with the collective value of shared services. This means that senior management must be able and willing to exert control over revenue-generating leaders in moments of strategic distress to ensure that shared services remain a competitive advantage. This also requires a culture where employees respect one another and understand how their work contributes to the success of the organization as a whole.