Finding More Time for Marketing – Part 2

Service AssistantWhen you are trying to free up time to spend on marketing activities, admin is a great place to  look.

Admin includes all the backoffice activities which support the marketing and advising activities of the firm. You have one or more employee; you need payroll. You have vendors; you need to pay bills.  You make a profit; you need tax returns. You have dust balls in the reception area; you need to vacuum. What’s that? You have a janitor for that? Great.

The general rule is to outsource everything you can: receptionist to answer calls, bookkeeper to pay bills and prepare payroll, CPA to prepare taxes, janitor to clean the office, and so on.

You may or may not enjoy these tasks. You may or may not have the education and experience to do them well. The point is to increase time spent on marketing means you save time elsewhere. Just because administrative activities need to get done does not mean you have to do them yourself.

I know one advisor who prepares his own personal and business income tax returns. As his practice continues to grow, this has got to go. Spending 4 hours every quarter for estimated taxes and 2 days in March for business returns and 2 days in April for personal returns means 8 days per year are spent on administrative tasks. This time can be better spent advising clients or marketing his practice.

Here’s a rule of thumb to consider: Outsource any task which can be done for less than your billable rate. If you charge out at $175 per hour, then pay a CPA $100 per hour to prepare your tax returns.

What if you’re an independent advisor without any staff? Do you need to do it all for the time being. Not necessarily. You just need to be more creative.

Consider locating your practice in a professional business center. Executive suites offer professional receptionist and administrative services on an as-needed basis. You have access to conference rooms when you need them. You pay a monthly fee which includes your office, telephone, fax, internet, janitorial and security. You save time because someone else deals with these various administrative services. Many executive suites allow conference room and day-use office access in affiliated business centers.

One advisor in New Jersey offers to meet clients in various cities to make it more convenient for his clients. So he not only saves time and money on administrative activities, he gets a marketing boost to boot.

Another possibility would be co-locating your office with a CPA or attorney. You’d benefit in many of the same ways as moving into an executive suite. Plus you’d be available for referrals from the accountant or attorney and get visibility from their walk-in traffic.

Either option means you don’t need to fill the role of Office Manager and deal with all the administrative details of running an office. You also add a receptionist between you and your clients and prospects which makes your firm bigger than just you.

And every minute you cut from admin means another minute spent on marketing.