Starting a professional services firm can feel daunting, even for the most experienced and business-minded among us. It’s not just in your head, either — only 2 in 5 startups are profitable, and other startups will either break even (1 in 3) or continue to lose money (1 in 3). So how can you ensure that your firm is one of those coveted 2 in 5? In other words, how can you ensure that you are able to successfully grow your company?
As you might imagine, growth isn’t just a straight line. In fact, you might envision more of a stair-step — successful growth of a professional services firm is all about levels. Take it from two CEOs who have traversed those very steps: David Capece, the CEO of CROOW, and Doug Pace, the CEO of Stonehill. These entrepreneurial compatriots have run their own companies for over 20 years, and started to share their experiences in growing their respective digital agencies with one another. They instantly felt passionate and compelled to share their tips, skills, and secrets with others.
The marketplace for agencies and professional services is evolving rapidly, so it’s more important than ever to be empowered with tools and knowledge to ensure long-term business sustainability. This is where the new book “Level Up” comes from. Capece and Pace co-authored “Level Up” to serve as a primer on how to set up and grow a professional services firm, including organizational structure, tools, metrics and an operational checklist. The book is called “Level Up” because as professional services firms grow, there are different levels to navigate. Zero to 10 employees is all about driving revenue, while with 10 to 25, it’s about creating processes and hiring junior people. When you hit 25 and up, it’s a whole new focus. If you don’t have that solid middle management staff at 50 employees, you will go backward.
“Leaders encounter the biggest problems identifying the right metrics to manage a professional services agency,” Pace says. “You can’t just get to the end of the month and look at your P&L and say, ‘How much did I make?’”
As part of “Level Up,” the co-authors created a proprietary five-step framework, Agile Management System, to help put any services business on a pathway to success. The system is based on a collection of tips and lessons that have been provided by some of the most recognized organizations in the world.
“We’ve been through this process, understand the challenges, and have learned from our mistakes (so you don’t have to!),” Pace says. “We’ve developed a proven system that is easily repeatable, scalable, and adaptable to your unique needs.”
One of the cornerstones for the Agile Management Systems approach is to be careful to take one step at a time. Visionaries are encouraged to dream big, but to break down the path towards that dream into small, distinguishable steps. Success should be celebrated, and failure should be investigated to get the most out of it. Pivots may be necessary, but forward movement is non-negotiable.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Agile Management Systems, or if you’d like to access some of the amazing tools “Level Up” has to offer like a strategy map, project templates, a sprint plan and more, you can access the digital version of the book for free by clicking here. Hunker down, read this playbook, and you’ll be on your way to leveling up!