Want to grow your business but worried about how to deliver even more work?
Worrying about how you can squeeze in more client work when you are already busy is a very common worry.
Quite often busy business owners will tell me that they want to gain an additional X clients (probably it’s more of a “need to” than “want to”) and then in the next breath tell me they can’t take on more work because they are already maxed out.
Have you found yourself thinking those 2 thoughts?
Well there’s the challenge…you can’t grow unless you can take on more work in some way, shape, or form, so something’s gotta change!
Assuming that you need/want to grow and your desire to achieve that growth is big enough that you are willing to make some changes then it’s totally possible to do it.
Step 1: Why is your capacity already maxed out if you aren’t bringing in enough revenue?
There are probably a few factors influencing this but here’s the headlines…
- You are over-delivering and under-charging.
Every time you do that you shoot yourself in the foot. Stop doing it. If you are delivering additional value outside of the scope that was agreed then agree with the client that it’ll incur an additional charge. If they don’t want to pay for it then you don’t need to deliver it.
- You are letting your work take longer than it should.
It’s very common that tasks will expand to fill the time you have to do them rather than being completed in the time you should do them in. When you are a service business this can kill your profitability. Every additional hour that you allow things to take is an hour you could be delivering to a new client.
- Your pricing strategy isn’t good enough.
How many billable hours do you need to deliver to hit your revenue target? How many hours do you need to work to take into account all your admin and business development tasks on top of your billable hours? Don’t forget you need to pay the tax man too and take some time off. Does your pricing strategy allow you to work a sensible number of hours or a mad number of hours?
If it’s a mad number of hours then you need to increase your fees, or at least stop over-delivering and under-charging so you can actually charge for all of the work you do.
Step 2: How do you create more capacity
You’ll create more capacity by simply sorting out the challenges I’ve outlined in points 2 & 3 above but let’s assume you need even more to reach the growth you are after.
Here’s what I would think about…
- Is my business running in the most streamlined way possible? How often do you repeat the same task from scratch every time? Could you manage your invoicing better? Could your delivery efficiency be improved?
What capacity “wins” can you achieve, quite simply, by streamlining what you do?
- What is the best service/product you can deliver that’s relatively easy for you to do (not too resource intensive), your clients love and you make good money on? That’s the thing I would push to start the growth as it’s more time-leveraged than your other products/services.
For example digital knowledge-based products.
- What are your options to increase your capacity? This will depend on what it is you do. Now this is where most business owners start to hesitate as one option is using additional resource and that carries risk with it.
You can successfully outsource (or insource) to grow your capacity as long as you have the right checks and balances in place to monitor performance, and you give them a great set of guidelines so they know how to deliver the work just like you would do it.
If you want to grow your business significantly then at some point you’ll need to use additional resource so at some point you’ll need to grasp this nettle and get on with it.
If your growth definitely requires you to find additional resource then the time has come to man-up and get on with it.
Step 3: Plan how you will manage the risks
I find my concerns will slip away once I know how I would manage the risks of taking on more clients so do a brain dump of what those risks look like for your business.
What could possibly go wrong if you take on more clients? For example you might struggle to give the same level of personal service if you have more clients.
How do you mitigate against that? Work out exactly what you do now to give a good level of personal service, then work out how you can scale that.
I find most of these concerns exist more in your head than in reality so work out how to manage or prevent them and stop them from holding you back.
Step 4: Find more clients!
Now you have no excuses left as we’ve found you extra capacity and we’ve mitigated the risks around taking on more work so all you need to do now is find those extra clients (check out my other blogs on marketing if you need ideas on how to find those extra clients).