More business can be a disaster. It can even put you out of business.
What???? We tend to be totally focused on bringing in more work. Often it’s only after we get it that we realize we don’t have the systems and people to support it. That’s when we become painfully aware of how much time it will take to ramp up internally. The work might not even be profitable depending upon the cost of scaling up your business. Not to mention how steady and long-term new customers actually turn out to be. Worse yet, if you don’t have enough infrastructure in place once the new work pours in, it can affect your other clients as well. You could lose the new business AND existing customers.
I can read your thoughts now – what comes first? The chicken or the egg? If I build up our resources before we have actually sold more business, that situation could put us in a world of hurt, too. So, what’s the solution?
Outsourcing calls can solve your dilemma. It still requires advanced thought and planning, but it can cost little or nothing until you actually sell more business. It also has the benefit of not being a “fixed” cost. If a new client doesn’t generate as much work as you expect or the business doesn’t last as long as you hoped, you’re not saddled with overhead that is difficult to eliminate.
The first step is to determine what you might need in order to scale up your business. An example of just one area that is going to be affected is your telephone traffic. Here is a sample of the issues that you are going to have to address.
- Has our telephone carrier provided us with enough capacity to handle the anticipated call volume?
- Can our phone system support the number of extensions we need to answer the calls?
- Do we have enough people to take the calls?
- Will staff members be pulled away from revenue generating activities to handle calls?
- Will there be issues of time-zone differences, seasonal peaks, temporary projects, etc. that will impact your scheduling and staffing levels?
Once you identify an area that could benefit from outsourcing, you need to plan in advance. That means:
- Finding a qualified vendor with the experience you need.
- Determining your total costs and establishing a budget.
- Training them on any of your own applications that they may need to interact with.
What are you going to do to prepare to scale up your business successfully?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.