The rise of the Superfirm: Why professional service firms are the future of business
By: Ryan Burgio
February 15, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 mins
The past decade’s been all about building a product-led company. From tech companies to e-commerce brands, everyone’s been trying to build companies that can scale.
“Stop trading time for money” was the motto. With that, the old-fashioned professional service firm lost its lustre.
Here comes the SuperFirm
But that’s about to change. Service companies with their variable costs and ability to dial into profitability are all the rage again. And, they can be more efficient and scalable than ever. The SuperFirm is emerging with a mixture of the right tools, talent and structures.
At Stryve, we define the SuperFirm as:
“A productive, low capital, intellectually-driven professional service company, with a powerful, clear brand, that can deliver services and products in a hyper-profitable way.”
It’s no longer costly and inefficient to run a firm based on expertise. With the right processes, the margins can be fantastic and the work, rewarding. At Stryve, we’re building our own SuperFirm. Here’s why it’s the future of business.
1. Increasing demand for expertise
The rapidly changing business landscape is driving increased demand for very specific expertise. Building expertise takes years of experience working with diverse clients. Specialized service firms have knowledge in specific areas, like marketing, design, and technology that can be difficult or expensive to produce in-house. Not only that but continuing to hone in on that expertise requires steady investments in skills and training.
A 2020 study by Accenture found that 70% of companies surveyed planned to increase their use of specialized service providers over the next three years. The COVID pandemic has only fueled that. Add on the looming recession along with the push by tech companies to cut costs and drive profitability…the demand for expertise is here to stay.
2. Artificial intelligence and low-code tech can scale expertise
Artificial intelligence and low-code applications like Bubble will make it easier for firms to automate and build applications. This allows firms to productize their expertise while freeing up time for more high-value work. For some, the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT seems like a threat to professional firms. If anything, it’s the opposite. It’s making generalized skill sets and knowledge obsolete. A hyper-focused, specialized firm, enabled by these tools, becomes even more relevant, while generalized middle managers are under threat.
More importantly, low-code applications are enabling the originators of expertise to actually design and build. While tech companies have hired countless developers, designers, and engineers, a SuperFirm can build an application in a few weeks with fewer people. There’s no longer a gap between vision and reality. This will allow these firms to scale their expertise.
3. A more cost-effective option
Professional service firms can often provide a cost-effective alternative to in-house teams, especially for smaller companies that cannot afford to maintain a large in-house team with a myriad of specialized skillets. This has made professional service firms an attractive option for many businesses. Expect this trend to speed up over the coming months as companies look to maintain low headcounts.
4. Attractive to talent
The ability to offer a range of work is a major advantage for professional service firms. These firms often work with a variety of clients across different industries to provide services ranging in strategy, operations, technology, and sustainability. Diversity not only makes the work interesting and engaging for employees, but it also provides opportunities for growth and career advancement. Working at an agency means you can get away from the drudgery of big corporate life.
“They leave behind the endless internal meetings and corporate politics, which Trevisani reckons took 30% to 40% of his time back in the day.”
Exposure to an array of challenges offers huge learning and growth opportunities which can be very appealing to talented individuals. This can be a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent, which is crucial for the success of any professional service firm.
Build your SuperFirm
In the coming months, you’ll hear a lot from Stryve about our marketing services that will help you “Elevate Your Expertise, and Exceed Your Potential” within your professional services firm. If you’re interested in our marketing services perfectly tailored towards ambitious professional service firms, get in touch. It’s time to turn your firm into a SuperFirm.