Q: I own a small law firm where I split the administrative functions of running the business like bookkeeping, accounting, and operations with my colleagues. We are all extremely busy with our clients and need to keep our billable hours up. We know that we need help, but we are unsure where to start. What do you advise?
A: To a large extent, the challenges of small businesses are similar across industries and professions. Some of the challenges you mention I have dealt with in my accounting business, and I know that many in my network face similar struggles.
The question of delegation comes down to time and money. Divide the work at your firm into two categories:
1. Critical, revenue-generating functions of your business
2. Everything else
The “everything else” category is probably the largest, so let’s focus there. As a lawyer, I know that you know your hourly rate off of the top of your head. An easy way to do this is to look at that list of tasks evaluate them. Consider how long those duties take you. If it’s one hour of your time, is it worth missing billable time?
That means that these are the tasks that you should seek to outsource. This is often a big mindset shift for many business owners--we don’t want to let go of control of our work. But at a certain point we can’t do it all, and letting go of some of our responsibilities actually helps strengthen our companies.
For your business, the tasks you may choose to outsource include general administration, which you can address via an assistant or virtual assistant. Your promotional efforts are key to the growth and longevity of your business but possibly worth less than your hourly rate, so you can look into hiring a marketing consultant and/or social media manager.
An area that may not be as clear to address are your finances. Like lawyers, accountants have extensive training that makes their rates higher than many other fields. This is an area where you’ll want to invest in someone with higher qualifications because effectively managing your firm’s income is essential to its longevity. Think about your needs, speak with colleagues for referrals, and take advantage of companies like Closing Your Books who offer free consultations. These opportunities will enable to you to determine what your firm needs to maximize your money and success in the future.
Best of luck to you!
Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash