By being aware of the common business problems that professional service firms encounter, leaders in a company can anticipate these issues and develop the right solution.
Here are 7 of the most common problems facing service based businesses today.
You probaby dread getting those annoying sales calls, or being approached by a door-to-door salesman. Your inbox may be flooded by messages from professional service firms, and that isn't any fun either.
Successful firms have to develop strategies to provide information about their businesses that is not perceived to as salesy, common methods include engaging on social media, or talking conversationally about offerings without giving a true sales pitch.
Lack of Business Development Skills
It can be difficult for small businesses in particular to know how much they should expand.
While they may be great in their field, owners of professional service firms may not know how to operate a business as a whole. Hiring a consultant, or increasing employee education for business development, may help solve this common problem.
Comfort Zone of Practitioners
Similarly, professional service firm employees may have difficulty separating their duties as a practitioner from that of a business operator. They may even develop personal relationships with their clients due to the closeness of working together with them. Established policies on how to maintain a close professional relationship should be implemented.
Little or No Formal Mentoring or Coaching
The individuals who would likely serve as the best mentors or coaches are individuals who are in the same industry. However, these individuals are often competing for the same clients or customers.
Expanding your search for a competent mentor or coach to a similar, but different, industry can give you the right connection. A mentor can offer insight on any business problems you are likely to encounter, as well as ideas on how to solve them, all based on personal experience.
The Billable Hours Conundrum
Many professional service firms make the bulk of their revenue through billable hours. However, this system has its drawbacks. For instance, employees have the incentive to draw out tasks longer than necessary in order to charge more for their services.
Additionally, clients may not have a realistic idea of how long certain tasks take. Clients who see too many hours may feel cheated, and may look for a competitor for future business.
Establishing a maximum cap on hours, or offering flat fees as an alternative, can help alleviate some of the uncertainty that the billable hours system entails.
Poor Succession Planning
For many small professional service firms, there is no backup plan in case the key leader becomes incapacitated, dies, or retires. Therefore, when he or she leaves the business, the firm may go with them.
This creates low workplace morale, and the value in the business name willl simply wither away. Developing a strategic plan for passing on the business, so that it is not contingent on any particular member, can help protect the business and the staff.
Poor Execution of Marketing Plans
Professionals often focus on providing their current clients with a positive experience, which is great because a good customer experience is the key to success.
However, you must always be looking towards the future for new opportunities as existing clients may only have limited needs, and you will not generate enough revenue to sustain the business alone. For this reason, it is necessary that an ongoing marketing plan be implemented and given proper attention on a consistent basis.
These business problems do not have to overwhelm professional service firms. By being aware of them, you can take the necessary steps to overcome these challenges.