Business services are the various tasks that support the maintenance and growth of a business. They include tasks such as accounting, logistics and marketing that do not produce a tangible product. These activities are vital to the operation of a company. They can be performed by an in-house team or outsourced to third-party companies. In many countries, the service sector accounts for a significant proportion of their GDP.
The intangibility of services is one important difference from products, which can be stored and re-used. Another is that consumers are often not involved in the service production process. A customer who dithers at a fast-food counter may slow down service for everyone behind him. Conversely, a customer who is clear in her explanation of the purpose of an architectural firm’s design will help make the service effective for everyone who follows her.
A common form of business service is called business-to-business (B2B). These transactions take place between trade organizations and can encompass everything from wholesalers and retailers to manufacturers and car dealerships. Car manufacturing companies, for instance, perform B2B transactions when they buy tires, rubber hoses and other components from wholesalers to build their cars.
Other types of business services include marketing, technology and management consulting. Marketing services can include advertising, promotion and sales outsourcing. Technology services include computer network support, software development and engineering services. Management consulting firms help train company managers and professional teams. Other examples of business services include a third-party logistics company that takes care of warehousing, picking, packing and shipping for online orders or a catering service for an industry conference.