5 Steps to Increasing Your Billable Output - Invoicebus Blog

5 Steps to Increasing Your Billable Output

A booming business is every entrepreneur’s utopia. Teams are busy. Projects look promising. And your bottom-line numbers are looking better than they ever did. But the irony here is the fact that today’s peak is tomorrow’s plateau. So, there is never going to be a time when your business strategy can afford the complacency of pre-globalized yesteryears.

Aggressive sales and marketing efforts are ways to keep expansion and the work pipeline going. What you also need is a window that lets you look internally and find ways to deepen your existing funnel. This points to resource utilization, optimized billable output and most importantly, an intuitive approach towards working on converted projects.

This article curates five of the most critical steps you can take along these lines. You can make sure that the peak of your billable output reaches, and stays so for a long time.

1. Cost and time efficient resource allocations

To start with quotes that resonate and are universal, ‘what you constantly measure will certainly grow’ and ‘your resources will be your most valuable assets for a long time from now’. Let us then put these two factors together. We’ll understand how resource utilization can reach a high and equally sustainable level.

Efficient resource allocations

Resource utilization, when you clock weekly and monthly hours is likely to look good since 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week seem worthy of the money spent on the payroll. However, when external billable projects come to the picture, everything changes. Given how a resource’s commitment to the actual billable hours is, what matters the most. And unfortunately, seemingly small tasks like checking emails among other things could be costing businesses millions, on a regular basis. Take, for example, this AffinityLive survey of about 500 consultants which reveals that “Email leaks over $50,000 per professional, per year”.

One way to solve this is by ensuring that daily hours are to be accounted for with details and schedules can be further drawn with billable priorities in mind. Moreover, your employees’ skills need to be compensated for hourly rates that match the projects they are working on, in addition to their experience levels. Allocation as such should be a simultaneous process that does not become a huge time suck in itself. This forms a productive workflow loop that begins with finding the best hourly rates for a project. Then helps you analyze the billable output and further saves precious time which can be used for more billable hours. To condense, time is the currency you are looking to harvest here!

2. Reduced dependency on internal processes

Starting from the steps discussed in the earlier point, having fewer administrative and process-driven delays are crucial to maximizing the time spent on billable hours. For example, when an opportunity to make a lot of hours on-site appears, you will have to capitalize them. You won’t need to spend days finding the right people for it. Or thousands of dollars on hiring at the last-minute.

This begins with having a system that lets you find the right resources to be deployed at the drop of a hat. In addition, you should also be able to have a thorough look at the skill inventory you have accumulated over the years. And find a good match from within. When this process reaches a maturity, the next step is to then make sure that it goes hand-in-hand with the forecast pipeline. That way you’ll keep schedules organized as well as save time. Practiced in combination with comprehensive resource utilization, you will see that you are seeing a steady increase in the billable output.

3. Scientific resource restructuring

The workforce is an ever-evolving one. A decade or so ago, most organizations did not think they would be hiring professionals on-demand. Or they’d have to deal with as many temporary contracts on a regular basis.  But with freelancers quickly learning to conquer the market. Early adopters are likely to get the better share of the profit pie.

Today, you no longer need to bear the costs of a full-time contract when all you need are few hours of the week. Similarly, you are no longer limited by having to ‘make do’ with the skill inventory you have. You can hire specialized freelancers and contractors to take on specific tasks. Thereby enhance your competitive advantage with a quality of delivery that is distinguished. However, these decisions have to be made well before time.

Scientific resource restructuring

A good measure of the capacity you have in comparison to the demand that is coming your way is often the starting point. This lets you understand if you need to hire, train, make internal shifts or simply get external contractors on board. Planning beforehand lets you have a number of advantages. Spanning from being able to negotiate better contracts to actually restructuring from within to minimize the hires you need make.

4. Strategic project analysis

With resource optimization being one way to look at it, the other facet is that of having to analyze the kind of work that is coming your way. This extends from simply having an organized filter that helps bifurcate between billable and non-billable projects to actually having a process that weighs-in on the financials of each project. For example, products need to be analyzed so that the research and marketing components that go behind business development is justified.

Similarly, you will need a classification of the client groups you have so as to distinguish the kind of revenue they generate. From niche market cash-cows to under-performing dogs, based on the kind of cash inflow that each client group generates, you must be able to make a priority matrix that helps you dedicate hours you can dedicate. This way, you will put your best efforts where your returns are assured. As an ongoing cycle, this is sure to help you increase your billable output to their best possible extent.

5. Ensure repeat business increases billable output

Tying these facets together such that the quality of your output speaks for itself is a critical aspect. Your business development efforts can be mature enough to outdo itself year on year. A business, especially in its growing years, has a lot to gain from ‘word of mouth’ publicity that it can earn when the quantity delivered is a class apart. The findings of this paper by Fred Reichheld testifies this very fact with its insights on how businesses in the financial services saw a 25% increase in profitability after a 5% improvement testament to not just maximized billable hours, but also to that of a business that has been successful.

Conclusion

Ultimately, profitability and sustained growth trajectories are both dependent on the kind of nuanced planning you can achieve. Maximizing the ‘billing efforts’ of your projects is an ongoing process that could potentially take you from strength to strength without actually burning you out. A scientific approach to the process of resource scheduling, an internal window that is transparent and a universal schedule are things you’ll certainly need to check off the list. Once your process matures, you’ll be certain that the results are showing, because, flattering numbers are hard to hide!

Aakash Gupta
The Subject-matter Expert of Resource Management at Saviom, Aakash Gupta has been championing for lean and efficient business operations for over 5 years now.
Aakash Gupta

Latest posts by Aakash Gupta (see all)

Let's be inbox friends!

Let's be inbox friends!

Drop us your email to receive a weekly digest of our latest blog posts right in your inbox.

To confirm your subscription, please check your email.