That's what most owners and leaders in professional services firms tell me is their number one challenge.
I always ask in return, if I could give you ten times the number of clients overnight, could you: a) scale your team and processes to cope, and b) sustain that level of business in the long-term?
The answer is usually a resounding 'No'.
Getting more clients is a serious issue though. I've worked with many firms who've had revenues into 7 figures, yet still had fewer clients than they could count on one hand! And that's not as rare as you'd think.
One of the main reasons for this is that consultants make for terrible marketers!
They don't know how to effectively market, and truth be told, they're not actually that great at making good sales either.
Sure, they can make a sale. Anyone can make a sale. But can they structure deals to ensure that they make profitable sales?
You see, most consulting businesses are started by people who were already consultants. People who get excited about delivering their technical expertise. The thing that they consult 'in'. It's where their superpower lies.
But with such a focus on delivery of deep expertise, they don't put enough focus on the other core elements of a successful consulting business - that is, attracting new prospects, converting them into clients, delivering the subsequent engagements efficiently and effectively, and along the way scaling the business.
The net result is that they stay small.
Not only that, but they also have to contend with perpetual feast and famine. So much so, that they end up believing that's just how it is when you run a consulting business!
They're wrong - it's not inevitable.
When I first started my consulting business I'd been consulting for nearly 20 years.
I'd consulted across multiple continents, countries and market sectors, and for some of the world's biggest companies in their respective sectors.
My clients included organisations like the Bank of England, Standard Bank, leading law firm Clifford Chance, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the University of Glasgow, and many other blue chip companies and public organisations.
As a Practice Director I'd opened up new offices and built new consulting practices.
But, most surprisingly, little of this experience prepared me for the challenges of running my own consulting firm!
It was a painful journey at times and so, along the way, I invested heavily - to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds - in business coaches, training courses and programmes in order to identify and tackle my weaknesses.
Unfortunately, most of that investment resulted in zero return!
Out of frustration, and sheer determination, I had to figure things out for myself.
That's when I created the Consulting Compass.
The Consulting Compass is a framework for starting, growing and scaling a consulting business.
Its core purpose is to create the structure needed to join the dots - from your marketing strategy, to your sales conversion process, through engagement delivery, and ultimately to how you scale your business.
You see, there's no point having a killer marketing strategy if you can't then make a profitable sale. Or you lack delivery process and methodology such that your profit on delivery always drastically underperforms your profit at point of sale!
Everything in your business needs to gel together. It needs to flow.
It's through your marketing efforts that you develop relationships. Some of which turn into leads with organisations that represent long-term opportunity.
You convert those opportunities into high-value, high-profit sales.
Your sales, of course, become the engagements that you need to deliver efficiently and effectively.
And from there you can Scale your business.
Together that covers the 4 core pillars of a successful consulting business - Attract, Convert, Deliver and Scale.
Together they work as a machine. And if everything works correctly, you've built a money-making machine that you just need to keep oiled and maintained.
Here's what the Consulting Compass looks like:
The Consulting Compass takes the four core pillars and expands upon them to identify what we see as the 12 levers to consulting business success.
Too many consulting business owners end up reinventing the wheel and trying to do it all by themselves.
This is not only time consuming and expensive, but it's needless!
Having developed the Consulting Compass framework, we help new and established consulting businesses to implement the framework into their businesses.
The ultimate aim is to overcome the common challenges, and to put your business on a firm footing for growth.
These challenges include:
Firstly, we don't do hype.
Building a successful consulting business takes time - although you probably know that already!
There's no false promises here of wild success "in only 2 months" or any such nonsense.
Success is also not a linear process.
Whilst the Consulting Compass provides a framework, sometimes your core problems are in delivery, sometimes it's about attracting the right audience, other times it's about structuring the right deals, and so on.
The point is, it's about leveraging a framework to better identify where problems lie, and having the flexibility to turn your focus to the most important problems, whilst still remaining aware of everything that needs to happen.
Because things take time in the real-world, our Business Growth Programme is based on a 12-month commitment where we work together 'on' your business.
The programme consists of six components:
If you have an existing B2B consulting business and you have landed clients...
If you currently, or would like to, sell your consulting services to medium and large businesses...
If you are prepared to go to client site to deliver your consulting (this programme is NOT for online-only businesses)...
If you and your team are prepared to do the work and what is necessary to win...
...then this programme is for you!
The Business Growth Programme is a 12-month subscription programme - there is an initial break clause at 3 months should either of us determine that we are no longer a good fit.
The fees are value-based, and determined by your annual revenues as follows:
For businesses with revenue up to £500k per annum
For businesses with revenues >£500k and <£1m per annum
For businesses with revenues above £1m per annum
To join the programme, schedule a Breakthrough call. This gives us the chance to get to know each other and to determine if we can help you, and if we're a good fit to work together.
We only work with a limited concurrent number of businesses in this way. If we determine we are a good fit, but there is no immediate availability, you'll have the option of being entered onto our waiting list.
The term 'Consulting' is vague. Often it gets confused with the term 'Coaching'.
To ensure absolute clarity as to our ethos, we created our Manifesto to layout the aspirations for our coaching clients.
The Business Growth Programme suits three primary groups of people:
The Business Growth Programme is for business-to-business consulting businesses that currently sell their services to medium and large businesses, or intend to do so.
The programme is not suitable for businesses who sell to consumers, or only to small businesses.
Anyone looking for a remote-only online business. We help you to consult to mid and large corporates. That means you'll need to go and see them. To be face-to-face with them. If you want a business where you can work from wherever you want, or sit on a beach all day, then this isn't for you. We focus on the real-world of business, not the pretence you see in social media ads!
Finally, this is not for coaches. Coaching and consulting are NOT the same thing despite what many people believe. This programme won't help you to run a successful coaching business.
In my quest to build a successful consulting business I tried most of the other courses that are out there. The Business Growth Programme is different because:
The Business Growth Programme is a subscription programme. You sign up for a period of 12 months.
There is an initial break opportunity at 3 months.
Businesses that complete a full year receive lifetime access to the online courses.
If we’ve missed anything, or there’s something you need to know, book yourself on a free Breakthrough call. On the call we'll discuss the strategy for your firm, and we can determine if there's a fit for us to work together.
Creator of Consulting Compass
Hi, I'm Martin. I always knew I'd run my own consulting business one day.
And after nearly 20 years of being an employed consultant, I went out on my own.
If only I'd have known how hard it really would be!
Anyway, 5 years on and I was still in business, despite there being so much conflicting information out there about how to run a successful consulting business.
That's why I created the Consulting Compass framework. Now I teach others to implement what I've proven is the best way to start, run and grow a successful consulting business.
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