Increasing capacity is a common issue surrounding many professional firms and it’s an issue that can have negative effects on the internal structure of the business, and on long-term growth opportunities. However, many business owners may push for increased growth but don’t necessarily prepare to manage and handle the increased capacity.
Without having a clear plan for growth management, the company then scrambles to handle the additional workload, resulting in missed client expectations and deadlines. In the long-run being, over-commitment can lower customer retention rates and potentially jeopardising the company’s reputation.
Here are five tips for increasing capacity in your professional firm:
Have a Clear Plan
A fundamental component of successful leadership is the ability to motivate your team and delegate key tasks. Developing a clear plan for how your team will handle increased capacity will help them prepare for additional work, identify any vulnerabilities, and strengthen any areas where you need to increase resources.
Many business owners are too focused on additional growth and acquiring new clients when they are already struggling with overcommitment. When your business is overcommitted, and you’re no longer meeting client needs, chances are they will go to your competitors, and in the process, may leave you a bad review, further jeopardising future growth. Lacking capacity is one of the fundamental reasons many firms lack an increase in revenue and growth.
Preparation is key to success, and planning for increased capacity will help your company meet and exceed client expectations, meaning the likelihood of greater success. Ideally, increasing capacity should be a part of your overall business plan. Having a well-devised plan will help you navigate increased capacity and mitigate any issues that arise.
Optimise Internal Processes
Optimising internal processes involves adopting better systems, increasing fee structure, and streamlining current procedures to benefit your organisation, now and in the future. Optimising current processes not only help your business function better and incentivises your staff to work more efficiently, but it also provides the ability to identify further profit-making opportunities whilst giving your company the additional resources it requires to support an increase in capacity.
Adapt to Change
The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Don’t feel obliged to stick with processes and routines that aren’t serving your business anymore; take the time to question how things can be done better.
Embrace changes in technology and legislation by updating unnecessary or outdated processes. By implementing positive change, you create higher efficiency within your business and demonstrate to your staff and clients that you are keeping up with, or outperforming industry expectations and competitors.
Having well-paid employees complete time-consuming, repetitive basic tasks is detrimental to capacity and can further add to overcommitment. It’s important to clarify job roles and tasks, and if need be, hire or outsource basic tasks to a less expensive resource like an intern or junior.
Spend time sourcing a team that meets your objectives and who complements your company culture. Ideally, you want to employ people who can find a motivating passion about your business, who are experienced in what they do, and who are driven to exceed expectations.
Are your staff still manually performing repetitive tasks that can be automated? Generally, software applications can automate most repetitive tasks. Although these automation tools are generally subscription-based and may come at a cost to your business, they prove valuable once the cost is calculated compared to improved staff efficiency over the long-term.
Planning increased capacity six to twelve months into the future also helps to ensure your employees and internal processes are prepared to meet an increase in demand.