In a professional service firm, it’s very easy to get caught up with doing the work. That’s the most important thing. Usually the owner of the business is a technical expert, whether they are an accountant, whether they are an engineer, architect, graphic designer, whatever it is, they are the technical expert and the work they do in the business is what they enjoy, what they are familiar with. Sales and marketing typically tends to be something they are not familiar with or even comfortable with. Often sales is seen as a dirty word but obviously in the business you need to balance both sales and workloads.
One of the worst things and one of the frequent things we see happening is that sales will increase and everyone gets busy so the focus shifts from sales and marketing to how do we get the work done? Everyone works hard and gets the work done and the projects are finished off and then the next priority is where is the next lot of work coming from? We’ve gotta get out and shake the trees and get some more sales. Now while you’re stuck in that up and down cycle you’re never going to grow the business sustainably.
There needs to be a balance between focus on sales and marketing and focus on doing the work. If you want to grow your business beyond the point where it’s at and that’s typically how we find most professional firms reach a plateau and their workloads go up and down around that plateau so year after year their revenue is pretty much identical. They can’t ever seem to break through that barrier. The only way to do that is to be consistent around sales and marketing so you continually growing the sales while you’re supporting the infrastructure, development and growth of the resources you have in your business to maintain that extra sales flow and the workload results from that.
Understanding about where you’re going in your business, what you’re trying to achieve, how to grow your sales sustainably so you can support it with the right resources becomes a critical component to planning future the direction and development of your business.