Have you ever been a victim of your own success? Have you ever done something to grow your business that was too successful and you struggled to cope with demand?
We have … we did a two day exhibition at a business convention once that nearly crippled us, this is no exaggeration we really did struggle to stay afloat for a while.
You see it was before we had proper procedures and monitoring of our KPI’s.
We’d been growing steadily and been offered the chance to exhibit at a business convention, we knew that the people organising the event were going to talk on stage about how important it was to “know your numbers” so we jumped at the chance of having an already primed audience at our stand.
In those two days we had 23 business owners signup.
Now 23 new businesses might not seem like a lot, but it was worth an extra £77,000 a year turnover!!
We went back to Cumbria elated …. But the euphoria didn’t last.
While we knew this meant finding a new member for our team we didn’t even put an advert out.
Then trying to onboard all 23 people at the same time was a nightmare – we were getting inundated with paperwork and even though we took on new staff the existing team had to take time out to train them.
Our normal turn around duration for monthly bookkeeping is 14 days, by the end of the second month after doing the exhibition our turnaround had gone over 30 days … our customer service had become shocking.
This wasn’t just affecting our new clients but it was also effecting our existing ones too.
I remember sending our bars of Cadburys chocolate and cards to some clients apologising for not being able to get round to the them soon enough … some were getting their management reports a whole month too late! It wasn’t good enough!
We lost a number of clients in this period and it still breaks my heart now to think there are business owners out there that think our customer service is horrendous, because amazing customer service is what we built the company on.
Since those few disastrous months we have put new measures in place to ensure that it never happens again.
For instance, we only take on 4 new clients per month now as we know that onboarding a client is a lengthy process and we need them to feel like we are holding their hand throughout the process.
Also, we monitor how many hours in total we truly need to service a client (not just how long the actual bookkeeping takes) and also how many productive hours each team members realistically has to work on clients. By putting these two monitors in place we now have a better understanding of when we need to take on a new member of staff.
Are there any measures in your business you could put in place that would stop you being a victim of any success that might be coming your way?
What KPI’s do you monitor to ensure this never happens to you?