By Kellie Simpson, Founder and Director Kelly Simpson Virtual Business support
Please could give me a quick overview of your company?
We have 5 solicitors with a bit of support on the admin and secretarial side with Kellie and her team. We specialise in advising businesses.
Where were you in your business before you started working with Kellie Simpson Legal Ltd?
I’ve been working with Kellie for coming up to three years. At the time I was on my own. I was a legal consultant. I had my own client base. I was advising them daily and doing all my own admin and marketing.
I decided I wanted to grow the business. Convert from a small consultancy into a law firm. The starting point was to bring in some support. The biggest problem I had was time. There wasn’t enough time in the day. I reached out to Kellie because I thought the starting point has got to be some help on the admin and secretarial sides.
Kellie got involved in a lot of the on boarding processes, dealing with bills, all of the admin-type stuff which freed up a lot of my time. Since then, we’ve been working quite closely with Kellie and her team. They help with all the on boarding, collecting ID, preparing and issuing client care letters, making sure they are signed and filed away in the right places.
Another massive part of the support that Kellie’s provides building the processes within the business. As a one-man band it was easy, nice and manageable. I know where everything is, I know the processes but as soon as you start growing and expanding you really need to start putting these processes in place to make sure that things are done properly, they’re done efficiently and quickly and to a decent standard and that’s been something that’s been quite difficult to get off the ground. With Kellie’s help it’s been a lot easier.
It’s really important to me that we’ve got a nice friendly team and Kellie and her team fit that bill, it’s been great. It’s also been important that whoever we work with hit the ground running and was really able to bring a few ideas to the table.
That’s really been Kellie’s bag, she’s worked in law firms for years, she knows how things work and she’s been able to bring a lot of value to the table. In terms of “this is what other firms are doing, maybe this is the direction you should be going down”. So yeah, it’s been great working with Kellie and the team and yeah, I hope it lasts to be honest.
You said there about Kellie bringing in her own ideas. Were those things that you were looking for initially or are those things that have come with the relationship with Kellie?
Since I started working with Kellie, it’s been a massive learning curve for me as well. I trained as a solicitor and my background is as a solicitor. It’s not as an entrepreneurial business owner.
As the business has grown, I now see certain qualities that I need in people that I wasn’t particularly aware of back at that time. When I was having discussions with Kellie, it wasn’t in the back of my mind “I need someone that’s going to bring ideas to the table” but I am now very aware of that. That’s exactly what I need as a small business. Everything rests on my shoulders really. Whenever I reach out to anyone to bring them into the team, that’s definitely something that I look for. It probably wasn’t anything that I spoke to Kellie about when we first worked together but it has been something she’s brought to the table anyway.
Your original pain points in the business was time saving and needing someone to come and do the admin side of things for you. Was there anything else that you needed before you started using Kellie?
I think the main thing was time for me and that’s the main problem that most business owners have, they don’t have enough time in the day. The days go so quick and before you know it, it’s 4 o’clock and you’ve not got anything done. Your actions list has grown rather than shrunk and it’s really difficult.
I would say that was the main pain point for me. I just needed some general support, somewhere to offload a few of the administrative-type issues. We got that up and running quite quickly.
Has there been anything else that you’ve noticed that’s improved significantly since you’ve been working together?
I suppose there’s two things really. It’s increased the amount of time I’ve got available during the day. All the things that Kellie and her team would be doing would normally have sat on my desk, so it’s freed up a lot of time but it’s also helped put these processes in place.
Another really important aspect of my role is trying to get the business to a point that it operates without me. Having Kellie and her team pick up on boarding, collecting ID, client care letters etc., allows things to run while I’m busy and I’ve got other things to do.
Those two areas, it frees up my time and helps just allow the business to operate without me being sat at my desk.
Are there any other big impact or advantages that you can think of or that you have from working with Kellie and the team?
Well obviously the great thing about this kind of virtual setup is, you only pay for the support that you need. So as we are really small, this means I don’t have to recruit a full time VA or PA. The cost of it scales up and down in accordance with our support. So, if we do have a month where we might be quiet from a work perspective the cost of Kellie’s support drops significantly so it’s a really flexible way of working.
As a small business, one of the risks that I’ve had to battle with is, when is the right time to recruit someone? It is less of a risk on the admin side, more on like the solicitor side. But having this flexible way of working with Kellie, in terms of costs, allows me to reduce risk across the business from a financial perspective. This way of working with Kellie removes that risk from our side entirely. It’s a really nice, neat way of pulling in the support we need without taking on the risk of employees.
Would you say that the investment in the services has been worthwhile so far?
Definitely, 100%, without admin support, we can’t expand. We need it to grow the business. The only other alternative we would have to this kind of VA flexible type of working will be to recruit someone and so we would probably have to invest in a, £30,000 a year salary for example. Which would be doable but I am not sure we’d have enough admin support to support that type of role anyway.
Would you recommend the services to a colleague or a client?
Yes, I have done already.
Kellie’s business is a little bit like our business. We have lots of different clients, all jumping up and down, needing help at different times of the day and kind of managing all of that is difficult.
I suppose the one downside to outsourcing this type of work is that you don’t have someone to call 24/7. We’ve got to acknowledge that Kellie’s business has other clients to look after just like we do. The knock-on effect to that may be that every now and again turnaround times and just the speed at getting back to us can be slower. But it’s just part and parcel of this type of setup.
I’ve had no problems referring Kellie to people. It’s worked great for us but there might be other businesses that need quicker support, a bit more dedicated support. If that’s the case, they might need to look at recruitment.
It’s not really been an issue within our business, turnaround times. They’ve been OK.
Why do you do business with us?
For all of the reasons mentioned and I think one objective of mine here is to build.
Kellie and her team are a really nice fit for the type of business I am trying to build. So I’ve got no problems picking up the phone to Kellie, dropping her an e-mail, speaking to one of her other colleagues.
It’s really nice friendly support that they offer. That combined with offloading things to free up my time and the flexibility and costs increase and decrease depending on the support. It all just works perfectly for the business that I’m building at the moment.
Was there was anything else that you wanted to share?
One thing I did want to flag was around the on boarding processes. I’ve been working quite closely with Kellie on this and we’re now at the stage where we’ve got a nice clean on boarding process in place that is keeping clients and fee earners happy.
Kellie’s support in that has been brilliant. I think another string to Kellie’s bow is that we use Clio. Kellie really understands Clio and she’s been able to point us in the right direction and suggest ways in which we can streamline this on boarding process. That’s been a massive benefit to us.
The fact that Kellie’s got that experience within Clio saves me a lot of time because I can flag issues to her and how can we address it and she brings good ideas to the table so Kellie’s understanding of Clio has been a massive help with this on boarding process.