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The Business Challenge

7 min read

I need to increase my business profit 33% over the next nine months.

I’ve gone from being a part time solopreneur to a full time multi-virtual assistant company over the past year. I had a team before, but downsized the business when my family relocated from Ohio to Michigan. Instead of utilizing employees in an office setting, as I have in the past, I am now subcontracting other business owners with the specialized knowledge my clients need. Each has their area of expertise and all work virtually.

Finding the right people at a budget conscious price is a challenge.
The most important skill any partner can have is reliability, and quite honestly, it seems to be in short supply in all small business arenas. In this industry, you must be deadline oriented. Particularly with Realtors as clients because CyberCletch offers a 24 hour turnaround on posting new listings on multiple online platforms. Agreeing to a deadline is the same as “making a promise.” My word is important, if you fail to meet a deadline you set as my subcontractor, you are hurting my and my client’s reputation, and that is unacceptable.

If you’ve ever grown a business you’ve probably felt that terror.
You know the one, where you’re standing at the edge between just covering your expenses and needing to invest money in people, products or technology in order to grow. You have to give away your earnings to eventually increase them. It’s also referred to as “investing in your company.”

As a virtual assistant, I had built my business and was earning a particular amount every month. When I began to bring on team members, that money now goes to them and I get a portion off the top. What many people fail to realize is now the business owner is earning less than the team members, and is doing more work. In order to return to a comfortable income, the owner has to either work alongside the team as an hourly assistant or bring in enough business to cover the invested time. If an owner is working as an hourly assistant, there is little time available to spend on marketing and growth.

I am too busy overseeing details, covering time off, training, answering questions, responding to emails, and project managing, to effectively create the structure needed for team members, existing business, and to quickly and efficiently bring in new business. If I am taxed time-wise now, how can I realistically bring in another account and provide the high quality service I’ve built my company’s reputation on?

I tried passing project management duties to others on the team but it wasn’t successful for several reasons. As a result, I’ve determined I must be the project manager. Due to the time demands from my business and private life, I am less focused and yet working harder than ever.

I know something has to change.
I’ve been slowly adjusting by streamlining some services such as using FreshBooks for invoicing and time tracking and coordinating the team with tasks on Central Desktop. I’ve taken advice from the Systems Chick and have begun to create processes. But time is running out. I need to move much more quickly or my personal life will sink by the end of 2011’s first quarter.

Enter River’s End Consulting.
I met Dan Walker through Motor City Connect and I assist him monthly at the Commerce Motor City Connect Networking breakfasts. I bought and read his book entitled, The Customer’s Way.

Even still, I am skeptical. It seems there are so many pomp and circumstance people who fail to backup their hard sell with the actual goods or service they promise. Over the table, I tell Dan this. I tell him I want to blog about the experience and be truthful. He interjects to say, he’s fine with me blogging about the sessions. If the experience is negative, he wants me to write about that too; he’ll use any criticism as a personal learning experience. I’m impressed by his transparency.

I decide to cut him a check right there and we begin our first session.

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