The Benefit of Hindsight: Opening a 2nd Process Serving Business
- May 27, 2015
- by ServeNow Staff
- Business Tips
When it comes to running a process serving company, everything from process and contracts to technology and marketing can have a profound effect on your business' success. It can be challenging to take a step back and re-evaluate processes while also focused on day-to-day tasks, but looking to other process servers for guidance and experience can help you identify where to get started.
In Paula Ashcraft's presentation at ServeCon 2015, we learned about what the 24-year process serving veteran has done differently while starting her second business. Paula sold her first company, Legal Ease, in 2006. With a return to process serving and opening Greentree Legal this year, Paula discusses what has changed in the past nine years and how it is shaping her current business.
Extended Clip from "Lessons Learned … Process Service the 2nd Time Around"
Paula Ashcraft of Greentree Legal can offer business advice many process servers can't. That's because after starting and selling her first process serving company, she's now opening her second process serving company. With the benefit of hindsight, Paula walks through how her decision making and management process has changed, how technology has changed the way she does business and the importance of building your infrastructure.
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This is an abbreviated version of Paula's "Lessons Learned … Process Service the 2nd Time Around" presentation at ServeCon 2015. You can rent the full presentation or purchase all videos from ServeCon by clicking the button below.
With the launch of her 2nd process serving company Paula will speak on how her career experiences and technology advancements are playing a pivotal role in starting up a process serving company in 2015.
Paula has 22 years of experience in the process serving industry. After her father, the owner of a successful process serving company in New York, told her that process serving is a great job to fall back on for extra income, Paula began serving papers and working with different agencies. In 1999, she launched Legal Ease, a successful company that would later sell in 2006. Since then, Paula has served as VP of Business Development and consulted with small process serving agencies sharing her expertise. In January of 2015, Paula partnered with Cheri LaEace and started Greentree Legal.
Guiding Experiences and Lessons from Paula's Prior Company
Paula shares that there are many lessons and experiences she is drawing from. Though her prior instinct was to build processes around the clients that are coming in, with Greentree Legal Paula is taking a different approach.
It's important to build your infrastructure, particularly before you get too busy. Right now we're developing internal processes and testing things.
Paula says that this is one of the most important and valuable lessons she's carried into her new business.
How Launching a Business in 2015 Differs From Launching One in 1999
Of the many things that have changed in the past 16 years, Paula points to technology as having the biggest influence on her process and management strategy.
It was actually really good for me to be able to evaluate every process that I'm familiar with and think about the technology that exists, and think about the technology that exists and how I can incorporate that into my new business.
Paula shares that everything from how banking and finance are handled, to case management software has changed, and that these advancements make running a company more efficient.
What Paula Has Learned About Herself and What it Takes to Run a Successful Organization
Paula notes that she's not an expert in all aspects of running a company, and identifying her strengths and weaknesses took time and focus. The important aspect of this that can make you successful, she says, is accepting your weaknesses and hiring people who can offer expertise in those areas.
Lessons in Effective Leadership
When it comes to effective leadership and management, Paula says the most important thing to remember is that you don't have to control every aspect of the process for it to get done properly.
I don't have to touch all aspects of the business to feel like it's going to get done effectively.
Relinquishing that control, Paula says, is something she's learned and works to do more effectively at Greentree Legal.
How Decision Making Has Changed
While still something Paula struggles with, her decision-making process has changed immensely.
Sometimes when things are busy and you're forced to make decisions, it's not always effective to make those in the moment as you're reacting to a particular scenario.
"One of the things I've learned is not all decisions have to come in rapid-fire response," Paula says. "I've learned to slow down, not be so reactive."
Paula says she's working to think things through, process them, and not make decisions based out of fear.
Note: Paula was previously featured in an article, Roadmap to Success: Paula Ashcraft's Growth and Sale of Her Business, where she shared her experience working through the experience of building up and selling her previous company, Legal Ease.