Video: Dealing With Service Providers at Capacity

As the world begins to rapidly reopen from the pandemic, businesses have begun to run full steam ahead to catch up for lost time. This massive acceleration in business has left many go-to service providers in the PE industry at capacity due to the sudden surge in demand, leaving many firms wondering where to go next.

In situations like this, hundreds of the leading PE firms have come flocking to us, knowing that we can provide them with alternative providers through our extensive Intelligent Network.

Our Intelligent Network boasts the characteristics of both having a deep bench of PE-grade service providers and single shingle consultants.

In times like this, our broad list of resource partners allows us to keep a pulse on different providers’ availability, leaving firms with more time to focus on other initiatives while we determine what providers are available for them.

Additionally, our PE-grade single shingle providers empower our clients to find the same quality services they are accustomed to with their go-to providers, but for a much better value.

In the video below, former PE Partner and Bluwave Founder and CEO, Sean Mooney, shares his top three tips on what to do when your go-to resources are at capacity.

If we can help you connect with alternative providers during this capacity shortage, or help you with any other need, please contact us at and we will be happy to connect with you right away.



Tools and techniques to love this February and beyond

Where would we be as solutions-focused experts without a few favorite tools and techniques we can depend on, even during the most challenging engagements and ever-shifting workplace environments?

With the lightning speed of innovation these days, not to mention skill sets required to stay on course, this month I wanted to share a few ideas—in the vein of “digital transformation”—that may be useful for managing the daily demands of business development, client work, and the 948 other things on your plate (including reading emails like this!).

Idea One: Instead of overwhelming your teams, contractors, or yourself with app after app (and password after password), try consolidating into one suite that can be used company-wide and allows for outside collaboration. The 800-pound gorillas here are Microsoft Office and Google Workspace, but there are more suites to choose from depending on your line of business. For example, if you’re visually-based, Trello could do the trick. Or just embrace the complexity and use a tool like LastPass!

Idea Two: Looking to build and maintain strong relationships, even while things are virtual? Check out Thnks: “Growing business with gratitude.” While it may seem old school, saying thank you actually never gets old, even if you’re doing it in a modern way.

Idea Three: If you are a small to midsize business that operated in 2019 and 2020, chances are you may be dealing with all sorts of new changes due to the stimulus packages—not to mention all the “rules” for 2021 that come with a new White House administration. Many positive changes were made in an attempt to help businesses stay afloat, while simultaneously creating more work. Stay on track with payroll, tax deadlines, and more with a platform like Gusto or ComplYant, and help alleviate some of the work in these “headache” areas.

Bonus idea that has nothing to with technology: Feeling stressed? Needing some time away from WFH? The benefits of Infrared Saunas are quickly becoming mainstream: better sleep, relaxation, detoxification, and muscle soreness relief, to name a few. Chances are, if you’re located in a regional or major metropolitan area, there will be an IR business nearby.

Stay tuned for more BluWave insights, and don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The year of specialized work and continued recalibration

What better way to kick off 2021 than with some age-old wisdom from the most outstanding figure in medicine, Hippocrates: “Persons in whom a crisis takes place pass the night preceding the paroxysm (spasm) uncomfortably, but the succeeding night generally more comfortably.”

In other words, if last year was the “uncomfortable paroxysm” then this year should be markedly less so, as most of us have adjusted to the new normal. Yes, things are still a little shaky, but at least we aren’t at the height of the disruption. In fact, in many cases it seems companies are embracing the changes and shifting their hiring practices and organizational frameworks to include more remote workers.

According to a recent World Economic Forum report: “41% of companies plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work” and as a result of the COVID-19 recession, “day-to-day digitalization has leapt forward, with a large-scale shift to remote working and e-commerce, driving a surge in work-from-home arrangements and a new marketplace for remote work.”

Another interesting insight based on a four-year projection by the authors, “by 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal. A significant share of companies also expect to make changes to locations, their value chains, and the size of their workforce due to factors beyond technology in the next five years.”

However, despite these shifts and focus on technology, it still holds true that “despite the current economic downturn, the large majority of employers recognize the value of human capital investment.”

As far as the future is concerned — namely for those willing to innovate, get creative, and adapt — opportunities abound. Furthermore, specialized workers and the demand for expertise will continue to grow as companies recalibrate. The intended result: workforces and an economy that comes back stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to adapt to future disruptions.


To read the full WEF “Future of Jobs Report” click here.

How We Did It: Cost Reduction Case Study 

PE funds across a broad spectrum of industries often approach us with specific, episodic needs. Our first step for matching them with best-in-class, third party resources is to understand the nuances and unique challenges they face. When a private equity firm acquired a leading plastics company that designed and manufactured innovative plastic-injection-molded products, the firm believed there was room for improvement and cost reductions in the company’s supply contracts. We quickly matched these criteria to the pre-vetted candidates from our invitation-only network, rooted in our founder’s 20 years of PE industry experience.

For the full story, read the case study here.

How We Did It: Executive Search Case Study

Finding specialized executive search firms is an area PE funds often seek our assistance, because instead of spending countless hours trying to find the right fit we can quickly match the funds with a series of vetted candidates. So, when our PE fund client acquired a founder-owned business that provides services to the niche power solutions market, they needed deep network connections beyond its immediate purview to source a highly capable CEO with industry experience. 

For the full story, read the case study here.

How You Should Be Selecting the Right Service Providers

When used correctly, service providers can meaningfully improve the efficiency and productivity of your business and can dramatically help increase value. In a perfect world, your service providers work autonomously and efficiently to make universal improvements to your business.

But that’s not often the case. Service providers not only need the right capabilities, but also ongoing guidance to perform their tasks to maximum effect.

When done well, choosing and using the right service provider can profoundly impact due diligence and value creation.

Unfortunately, you’ve probably been doing it wrong.

We don’t mean it as an insult – it’s a common occurrence. There are so many service providers who simply aren’t the right fit for improving your business and increasing its value. Private equity (PE) funds, their portfolio companies, and independent companies need to critically examine service providers before hiring them, then carefully manage them to meet with success.

But how do you take that first step toward finding and choosing the right service provider? You learn about the problems or opportunities in the process, scope your needs, then purposefully move forward with the solutions.

The Fragmented and Fluid World of Service Providers
There are two ubiquitous problems when searching for and using service providers:

  1. It’s hard to know who is really good for the task at hand – No matter the industry, finding and vetting a qualified service provider is exponentially harder than finding just any service provider, and it’s going to take some time to get it right.
  2. Once you find out who can deliver, they change – Even the most well-qualified and experienced service provider is vulnerable to change; they may move upmarket, ask for higher fees, get acquired and clean house, or sell out of capacity right when you need them.

The service provider ecosystem is a complex web.  Within this web are great groups that can help you accelerate business growth and development.  But to achieve your goals, you have to accept no less than a grade-A fit for your business.

Calibrating Service Providers Around Capabilities
There are three essential baseline questions to ask about service providers when assessing:

  1. Do they do what I need? (Capability)
  2. Have they worked in this industry before? (Expertise)
  3. Can I afford them? (Budget)

If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” then you haven’t found the right fit. It’s essential to make sure the answer is “yes” before proceeding.

Dig around to find out if the service provider has done and has success with doing the job for which you plan to hire them – and be specific. Learn if they have handled tasks that match or closely match those that you expect them to handle, and get two sides of the story; ask them about their experience, and learn about the real-world result of that experience by speaking with their past and current customers of your choosing.

It may not seem terribly important initially, but industry expertise helps your service provider skip many steps in the learning process (and avoids the expensive proposition of a service provider having to learn while they’re on the clock for you). The ability to tailor decision-making to the needs of a particular industry is invaluable, and you’ll need both the set of skills necessary to do so and the time and resources it would have taken to gain those skills.

Calibrate your budget with your choice of service provider. There are different service providers that are capable of executing well at different price points.  Beware of pushing a service provider at a higher price point to do work much below their typical rates as you’ll likely get sub-par focus and attention.  Instead, choose the best in class provider within your price range.  While there are of course tradeoffs that will be made between such price points, with a reasonable budget, you should be able to get and should expect an excellent outcome.

Getting a great result starts with answering “yes” to all 3 baseline questions around Capability, Expertise, and Budget. Accept no substitutes.

Managing Your Service Providers
Service providers need real-time management if you want to get a great return on your investment. Try these tips for getting the most out of your service provider

  • Create a system of consequences – Holding providers accountable means making sure they know what is expected of them and that their actions have a direct effect on your and their companies. You should track how they are performing over time, provide direct feedback, and only work with groups that consistently serve you and your peers well over time.
  • Manage them like a full-time equivalent (FTE) – It’s okay to check up on your service providers to ensure they are working diligently. Maintain reporting lines, communicate regularly, and treat them with mutual respect as you would a full-time employee.
  • Work as if they are part of the same company – Consider your outsourced service provider as another hire or set of hires that are in charge of a selection of your business’ process Keep them informed on issues they need to know about and include them as part of your company work ethic and culture.

When you trust a service provider, they should also be able to trust you to help guide them toward the tasks necessary to meet your goals. Related to guidance, there are two common mistakes that many PE funds, portfolio companies, and independent companies make when choosing and working with service providers:

  1. Broad mandates – If you’re not specific about what you want, service providers have to guess both your goals and how you would like tasks to be executed, which can lead to quite a bit of wasted time and money.
  2. Poor management – We can’t say this enough; service providers need to be actively managed as if they were employees of the company to truly shine

Growth and development is never a guarantee, but by carefully selecting your service providers, giving clear guidance, and holding them accountable, you will drive value creation with more speed and certainty.

Sound like a lot of work? We think so, too –we’re uniquely equipped and excited to handle much of this for you. BluWave team members utilize our extensive PE-tested network of comprehensively qualified service providers to analyze and help select the perfect fit for growing your companies.  We then hold them accountable for delivering excellent results for all of our private equity fund, portfolio company, and independent company customers. Contact us today for help with finding the best fit for your next service provider needs.