A recent Q&A from Inc.com highlights a constant struggle for many professional service firms and the partners in them. How to grow the firm without the partners killing themselves? And, consequently, can that growth happen without increased reliance on the partners?
In this Q&A, an architect asks John Warrillow, author of Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You, if his architectural firm can become scalable - defined in the article as:
"...something that can run without you personally doing all the work."
I'm not sure I agree with all the advice offered in the article but the conundrum of making a business where you sell hours (and hours are finite) and expertise (gained via years of training and experience) to those who you have often developed a strong personal relationship with (rather than widgets) scalable is a tough one for many professional service firms.
Growth, and therefore the ability of the partners to eventually cash out, often comes either organically (which is a tough slog for many) or through acquisition (of other firms or other senior professionals).
Is your professional service firm scalable?