You just had an amazing year. Triple the sales, triple the clients, triple the hours?
That can make for a happy pocketbook but an unhappy home. How do you scale your business and keep your life balance?
Well, we’ve touched on a few of these, and they really are gold. The Virtual Assistant (VA) may be the smartest hire – and the first hire – that you can use immediately. Easily found, easily put away, simply having somebody to go through your daily emails can save you hours in one week.
But professional service firms have a problem. We are specialists. Trained for years to handle specific tasks. The idea that a CPA needs somebody to handle their own tax preparation or bookkeeping may seem silly, but why? You stare at this sort of stuff all day, why not get another pro involved? At the very least, you may find out that they are a great referral partner, or they have part-time people that can help you part-time, too. When you need twenty hours a week, you don’t want to add to the overhead of the office, but the right person virtually can make a huge difference.
Another aspect of scaled growth is specialization. As you build out your client base, specializing in one area can really drive you hourly rates up, and we know what that means! You are limiting the overhead, but broadening the reach of your business. Suddenly borders aren’t as important as they once were. Instead of meeting for coffee and taking an hour out of the day, you can Skype and knock out the meeting “face-to-face” in 30 minutes.
Partnering in a joint-venture agreement where your professional service organization handles one aspect of a client’s service (say, bookkeeping) while another firm handles a different aspect, for example, payroll or benefits. This allows you to take a percentage as a JV partner, but not have to directly offer that service. More importantly, with a JV agreement, ownership is not in question and all tasks and monies collected are “aboveboard” so there is no “kickback”, only a black and white agreement.
If you are truly playing in the deep end of the pool, buying another company with all the necessary infrastructure may actually hold the most appeal, but you are taking on debt and personnel that you still have to sort out. This is truly a big deal, and for many smaller professional service firms companies, simply not worth the hassle.
“Scaling” may simply be “working smarter” by contracting out tasks and jobs that are not your specialty. After all, if you can pass along work but “manage” it in-house as the company actually handling it, that is still money directly into your business with a minimum amount of time in your hands.
One place to start is to document your activities you may want to outsource, in most professional service firms there are about 47 different capabilities.