Last week I visited with a small business owner. I say small because he works out of his home and has a part time secretary. We met in his office, a two car converted garage, which was immaculate. Both he and his secretary have a work space ; there were four computers, several printers and other machines in the office and a shelf of reference books and several four drawer file cabinets.
Since this was our first meeting, I asked him what the main focus of his business was. For the next 15 minutes I listened to a litany of services his firm provided. I must admit I was caught off guard; my first impression was that of a business man who was trying to be everything to everyone. His web site and related marketing support material all offered the same multitude of services.
I had to ask, “How can you do all this by yourself?” He smiled and told me his total staff consisted of 16 people. His credentials are in the financial services area and he works with small to medium size businesses and handles all their financial and related needs.
My education continued: other than his part time secretary, the rest of the staff were all independent contractors that had expertise in some area of the financial needs of small businesses. This included insurance, business planning, retirement vehicles, HR , software, web designers, computer technicians and a variety of other related professions.
All the billing and accounting was handled off-site by an accountant/bookkeeper member of his group.
His growth story told a very impressive tale. He started by himself and as his business grew he brought on other small business owners to help service his accounts. Today, the majority of the work that these 16 independent contractors do is interrelated. My host oversees most of the marketing and the assignment of jobs to the individual members. He does the initial interview with new clients to make sure that the person he recommends is compatible with the client.
This business has been operating for almost 4 years and he now wants to take his business concept to the next level, including growing his own businesses and also licensing the concept in other cities. I believe that his concept can work for a variety of different service businesses and I am looking forward to developing systems to take to other clients who want to grow their businesses in a simple, low overhead fashion that offers profitability to all the participants. Like most everything else in his business the selection process for his support staff is systematized and has a very strict performance component.
He selects his support system based on their values, both family and spiritual and then looks at their technical expertise. He talks about his business as a family operated business. What a base to build the future on!
Choice, not chance, determines destiny. E.C. McKenzie
Nick J. Petra CFP What could we accomplish if we all grew our businesses with such a system?