Why is it hard for SMB professional services companies to scale smoothly and become more profitable?

Advocating Professional Services Excellence

"Achieving Professional Services Excellence requires a steady focus on clients and business efficiency. If there is a way to improve your business processes, become more efficient, and spend more time serving clients, then as a leader you have an obligation to pursue that path. One of your rewards will be increased profits."

-Matt Lentzner, CEO, Bizinta and SaaS Industry Expert

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Are You Overlooking Your Most Profitable Consultants?  (1 minute)
Featured Q&A with Matt Lentzner, CEO, Bizinta  (2 minutes)
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Are You Overlooking Your Most Profitable Consultants?

We asked leaders at a 75-person consulting company to each list their 5 most profitable consultants. Next, we set up a report pulling their company data -  each leader got only 3 out of 5 correct, no one named all 5. The actual #2 top producing consultant wasn’t on anyone’s list. We see this often – it’s due to reporting issues. It’s vital to have reports that show you how each consultant affects your business. Read the full article on reporting for SMB professional services here.

Featured Q&A with Matt Lentzner, CEO, Bizinta

Q: Matt, why is it hard for SMB professional services companies to scale smoothly and become more profitable?

A: In the revenue range of $5M to $50M many professional services companies struggle to grow. I suggest they consider these three areas of their business for a solution.

First, explore if you are neglecting to adapt your processes and tools for growth. Take invoicing as an example. I see it often where companies improve their processes and cut invoicing time by 75%. Let’s see how that’s possible.

Typically, you prepare information and customize invoice data for each client in the GL before the invoice can be sent out. Small companies do that prep-work and review manually. But, once you start growing past a handful of consultants and clients, the manual work becomes heavier and heavier. So it takes longer and longer to finish invoicing and get paid.

Also, the monthly invoicing rush leads to mistakes like under- or overcharging clients – no leader wants that. Invoicing is the one touchpoint you know  clients will attend to, and errors imply that your company isn’t well run, which doesn’t inspire confidence.

Don’t mistake this for an accounting software issue, it is not. It has to do with the back-office processes and tools used before you get to your invoicing. When you think about it, invoicing is directly related to time and project tracking data. So, to scale smoothly, you need to make sure that detailed data is automatically prepared for the GL, so you eliminate or minimize the manual prep-work. This is how I see companies set up fast, accurate invoicing that is easy to validate for clients. Then, many go further and set up useful real-time reports such as top clients by profit.

So, first take a look at your processes, tools, and reporting and be honest with yourself - are they slowing you down, do they need updating or do you need to add some functionality, could your data be more usable? And so on. Just begin to casually think about it.

A second thing leaders need to confront is their delayed sense of urgency. By the time leaders realize they have an issue, everyone is already frustrated by the back-office processes and tools, and the business performance is already dipping.

Often I hear from leaders after the problem has already cost them, so I’m now encouraging SMB professional services industry leaders to take a preventative mindset.

And finally, the third thing is that many leaders and operations teams are afraid of new software or don’t like the process of changing tools. They can overcome that because back-office software these days can be easy to set up and use and doesn’t cost much – one caveat here is to make sure you evaluate solutions based on the onboarding and support, not just the features and functionality.

Leaders need to think about these things and make changes where needed. That way you can focus on your core competencies, servicing clients, and growing your business.

About Bizinta

Bizinta is a leading provider of SaaS solutions focused on SMB Professional Services companies across all industries. Our SaaS solution makes it easy for customers to grow by streamlining many vital routine processes and to make informed decisions using real-time reports.

Contact us at: insights@bizinta.com