Whoo hoo, your sales are growing and now you’re wondering if it’s time to develop a physical presence in the marketplace. Most service professionals come to this cross-roads and take the next step without carefully considering the impact and the underlying concerns.
Many service professionals like insurance agents and financial advisors are encouraged to get an office as soon as possible. Before you make that decision and take that step just make sure you’re doing it for the reasons that will serve you, and your needs. Don’t do it thinking it makes you look more successful to someone else, because that appearance of success can be just that, appearance only.
As you think about adding employees, creating infrastructure, establishing overhead costs, selecting a fixed location, and furnishing that location you need to consider the long-term impact of all those decisions. The three things you really need to watch are: rising fixed costs that raise the bar on your break-even point each month, your ability to focus on what you need to be focused on with all these additional responsibilities, and the impact on your net income with all these additional expenses. While challenging yourself to stretch is a good thing you don’t want a one ton rock around your neck either.
Before you take that step think options and flexibility. There are lots of million dollar businesses that successfully operate each day throughout the United States from home based offices. It’s true you may need other people to do things that you’re doing now that are taking time away from what you need to do, sell. And there are entire businesses that do just that. You can outsource work to virtual assistants, you can get expert help through online service providers that can be found on websites like elance.com, and you can get the work done on a per job or flat rate basis. Meaning that you aren’t tied to a payroll and you don’t have to increase your sales each and every month just to pay the staff. One of the biggest surprises most businesses owners have is the fact that adding employees reduces your flexibility more than it enhances it. Because when you have employees you have to manage those employees.
One of the most important considerations for you is the lifestyle you’re trying to achieve. Did you want to buy yourself a job where you have to show up to a specific location each day, manage other people, set policy and develop procedures, and all the other things that come with a physical presence? Or did you want the flexibility and freedom that comes from having a home based office with zero employees so you could work from anywhere in the world anytime it fits your schedule? Make sure your decision for a physical presence now is in alignment with the lifestyle you want to have not the one you think you have to have. If that means continuing from a home based office then explore your outsourcing options to get what you need done so you can do the things that are important to you and your success. If it means taking that step and getting a physical presence make sure you can comfortably handle the impact of that decision on your fixed costs, focus, and net income before you lock yourself into anything.
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