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sheribowers 1st October 2007 03:00 PM

I Want My Business To Go BIG
I have a personal assistant business and it really is a need in my area specially for the senior community who need assistance in their own home. Right now I have 2 employees and it is all private pay. I have 10 clients that my employees and myself all work and I still getting calls. I charge 20 per hour. I get calls all the time. Most cannot pay that amount and take another route but there are those who can pay that. Can anyone give me suggestions on how to take this business to the next level? Is there away that I can have insurance pick up some of the cost if I hire a licenced medical staff? I feel that I am holding my own business back from reaching my goals because I do not know what to do. I really need someone to show me what I need to do.

PressureProsInc 1st October 2007 04:43 PM

Need much more information.

Are you subcontracting?
Using an employment agency?
How did you come uo with the $20 man-hour rate?
What is the average pay rate for someone doing this for you? (ie how much do you pay them)
Will you want to provide helath benefits for employees at some point?
What insurances are involved? (Workmen's Comp, malpractice, liability)
Is your home your office or do you rent space?
Who covers travel expenses?
What business classification are you listed as? (SP, LLC, Corporation)
Whats your marketing budget?
How do you market?
Who handles administration?
Is there licensing involved?
Have you prepared a business plan or a strengths and weaknesses analysis so you can define roles in the management of the company?

I'll stop there before you get overwhelmed. No one on the internet is going to assess your individual business needs. That's not to say someone reading wouldn't be qualified to do so, but the process is extensive and as a business owner you need to grab the bull and do the research yourself and/or have the budget to hire professionals to make it happen. I know that sounds harsh but if you are shooting for the big leagues you wouldn't find too many passive people floating in the pool.

sheribowers 2nd October 2007 12:59 PM

Thank you so much for replying. First I will tell you that I am on to something very big here in my area but I feel like I have done as much as I can on my own and now I need to figure out how to go farther. I will be glad to answer your questions.
1. Are you subcontracting? No
2. Using an employment agency? No
3. how did you come up with the $20.00 man - hour rate? Clients purchase hours from me. If they purchase in 5 hour increments it is $20.00 per hour. If they purchase 1 hour at a time then it is $25.00 per hour. All of my clients purchase 5, 10 20, 40 hours at a time. I also charge a .50 per mile fee. All the hours are paid in advance. I pay my employees $9.25 per hour plus .48 mile reimbursment. I should be paying them more but right now I cannot do that. I called different business in the valley that did something comparible to me some charged less and some charged more. I am in the middle price range based on the research that I did.
4. I would love to offer medical insurance to my employees if possible.
5. What insurances are involed? I have liablitliy, workmans comp and pay $150.00 per month.
6. Is your office out of your home or do I rent a space? It is in my home for now but I would love to rent a space when the time is right.
7. Who covers travel expenses. I reimburse mileage at .48 per mile
8. What busines classifiaciton are you listed? LLC
9. Whats your marketing budget? Over the past year I have experienced many different marketing stratagies. As of right now I am advertising in the Joy magazine and in the Senior Views. The total cost for these per month is 200.00. The joy magazine comes out once a month and is in every doctors office, coffee table, and most any place you go. It has a life span of 30 days. That seems to be the most cost effective and the least exensive.
10.Who handles the administration? I do.
11. Is there licensing involved? As of now -- no
12. Have your prepared a business plan or a strengths and weakness analysis so you can define roles in the management of the company? I know this is crucial. I took a business class and it all about the business plan and I got so discouraged and over whelmed that I never completed it.
13. I do have a bookkeeper who does all of my payroll and taxes.

Like you said -- I need a budget to hire the professionals to make it happen. What are the professionals called and how do I get in touch with them. If I knew the money that it would take I could at least budget that in or chew off little bits at a time until I am where I would like to be.

Thanks again for your time.

PressureProsInc 2nd October 2007 08:27 PM

Sheri, your enthusiasm is infectious. It sounds like your costs are managed at this point. I would probably do some modeling to predict future cash flow with increased payroll expense. Here is something I did years back to get my butt in gear for a sound company I owned. I couldn't get it together as far as a business plan and I needed a capital boost to take it to the next level. I took a class on writing a business plan at the local CC. By course's end I not only had a legitimate business plan I had networked with the instructor whom introduced me to capital sources. To this day I am friends with both of them and they are ongoing mentors in my quest to be a better business person.

Peter Bowen 3rd October 2007 02:19 AM

Hi Sheri,

You're right in that it is often the owner who holds the business growth back. Most of us don't have the skills in accounting, planning, human resources, marketing etc that are needed to go from a one man show to a real business or the time to do all of those things properly.

I've had some experience in working through the process of growing a business - in one I owned we grew about 12 times the sales during the second year when compared with the first.
- in the other we grew just under 3 times the sales over a 13 month period.

The first business nearly killed me with stress and anxiety. I ended up hating it.

The second was far more fun and way less trouble than the first - and more profitable in spite of the growth being more modest than the first.

I'm happy to try and help but before that I need you to know what the next level actually means to you. What do you want your business to do for you? How much money do you want it to earn? How much time do you want to spend in it? etc.

This is a vital part of designing a business and without it you're doomed to merely respond and to make painful mistakes along the way.

I recommend that you look at a 3 to 5 year horizon when doing this thinking.

sheribowers 3rd October 2007 11:55 AM

Hi Peter,
I have so many visions for my business and they are very realistic but getting there is my problem. At the current time I manage 200 homes in a HOA. I work Monday thru Friday in an office by myself. I manage the two employees while I am there and take phone calls from clients while I am there plus do my job and then at 1:00 I have appointments with my clients that I care for and I don't get home sometimes until 6:00 or 7:00 pm and then make sure everyone is suppose to be where they need to be the next day. That job pays me $20.00 per hour so it is hard to just quit although I KNOW that I need to choose one or the other and I choose my business that I turely believe in and it makes a difference in other peoples lives. I am not afraid of work and I know it is going to take work to get there.

So here it goes -- I will try my best to answer all your questions.
1. What do want your business to do for you? I would like my business to support me and my husband financially. I would like to be the one sitting in the office managing employees and handeling the calandar and meeting new clients and assigning them a personal assistant.

2. I would like to earn eventually 70,000 per year before taxes.

3. How much time would you like to spend it it? I would like to spend in the office 30 hours a week.

I know there is away to bill insurance for some of the work that we do. I realize it may require hiring a licensed RN or a councelor of some kind and the coding is the secret. However right now it is all private pay and so many people call me and find out that it is 20.00 per hour and I can hear them all most break down because they cannot afford that but they need groceries, transportation and other things as well. If insurance could pick up some of it I would be a millionaire. Well maybe not but I would be doing alot better than I am now.

Thank you for your time.
Sheri Bowers

lithos 8th October 2007 03:39 PM

I agree with Peter about a 3-5 year horizon for planning. Then keep updating it in other words it shouldn't be a plan for 2010-2012 it should always be 3-5 years. Things will change but that is the point they should. Also I think a very important question to ponder is: What would I not give up in order to reach my goals? This shouldn't be answered quickly or flippantly. After you know what you wouldn't give up you will be able to evaluate sacrifices with better clarity.

UKeyCo 8th October 2007 07:50 PM

Hi Sheri,

I just wanted to comment on your posting, because I faced the same problem before. I am an assistant for an IT company and was having a hard time visiting my clients and have meetings with my emplyees.
I found the best solution!
Web meetings are IN now and it will make your life easier.
No need to sit in traffic any more and deal with traveling costs!
I've tried so many different Web Meeting softwares and V-cube Meeting seems to work the best for me.
Their software is installation free which makes it very easy for my clients to use as well as my employee.
It is user-friendly and has a recording feature which helps me keep track of my arcives as well as training sessions.

You should check their website out to take the next step for your business.
"V-cube USA Inc." is their company name.

Kindest Regards,

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