Smart business owners are always looking for ways to increase the value of their business. You should, too. Whether or not you plan to sell your telephone answering service in the near future, you should always act as if you might. Continually take steps to increase the valuation of your answering service.
In doing so you’ll be ready if, or when, the time comes. And even if you never sell your answering service, you will benefit each month by having more revenue trickle down to your bottom line.
In most all situations anything you do to boost the valuation of your answering service will also have a near term payoff of increased profits. Here are six steps to maximize your valuation:
Common sense says that every client must be a profitable one. Yet most answering services have unprofitable clients, and some have many unprofitable ones. And even if you are one of the few answering services that have taken steps to make sure every client is a lucrative one, some will be more profitable than others. So if all clients are moneymaking ones, look at the least profitable of the group and make them more profitable.
Ensuring that every client is a profitable one, means nothing if they don’t pay their bills and provides no benefit if they pay their bills late. Have a documented collections protocol and follow it. Stay on top of late payers; stop serving clients who fall behind; and turn the hopeless cases over to collections—while there is still a chance to collect. An unpaid bill is like working for free.
Even the best run answering service will inevitably do a few things inefficiently. Over time extra work creeps in that doesn’t provide any benefit, and as priorities change, once critical concerns no longer matter. Ferret out these inefficiencies and correct them.
Sometimes we put things off to do later. Other times a project is interrupted before it’s completed. And a few times we simply fail to follow through. Each of these situations results in a loose end. Take care of these loose ends or they may cause you to lose in the end.
Ensure that each employee contributes to your answering service’s overall financial success. Sometimes we end up with employees doing tasks or filling positions that no longer matter. But it’s easier to maintain the status quo instead of taking the hard steps to eliminate work, or even worse, eliminate positions. Sometimes we need to let people go.
Once popular services can wane over time, and it might no longer make financial sense to offer them. Maybe they are hard to integrate into your answering service system, or now that you can accurately track how much time they take, you realize they take too much. Or perhaps reduced interest has now rendered them inefficient. When you come across such outdated service offerings, you have two choices: discontinue the service or restructure the rates you charge to make them worthwhile.
Taking these six steps to maximize the valuation of your answering service will pay off now in terms of increased profits and pay off later with a greater sales price. Either way, you can’t lose.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider and consultancy for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at email@example.com or 800-901-7706 to arrange a private consultation about buying or selling an answering service. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.