Learn how to scale a consulting business with our practical guide. Set goals, develop a scalable model, build a strong team & more!
Gregory Batchelor is the Vice President of Growth Marketing at Platform.sh, a unified, enterprise-grade platform for building, running and scaling websites and applications.
Are you a consultant looking to grow your business? Upscaling will always be a big challenge for any kind of business, but it's an essential step toward achieving long-term success.
In this guide, we'll show you how to scale a consulting business by sharing some practical strategies that you can implement right away. From setting clear goals to building a strong team and streamlining your operations, we'll cover all the key aspects of scaling your consulting business, including how to create starter sites that can help you attract new clients and grow your business even further.
So whether you're just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, this post is for you. Let's dive in!
First up, it's important to choose the right model for your consultancy. There are a few different models you can choose from, and it's important to pick one that best suits your business objectives. Some of the most popular include:
When you know the type of model that works best for your business, it's much easier to set realistic goals and come up with an effective growth strategy. So, decide on the right model for you and move on to step two!
You’ve completed step one - great start! You now know exactly what model is best for your consultancy business. Now it’s time to scale it. But how?
Let's say you're a consultant who helps businesses optimize their social media marketing strategies using social media analytics tools. You’re currently doing one-on-one consulting sessions with clients, and plan to bring on some extra help in the future.
But how can you scale up without doing a disservice to the clients you currently have? Think about the services and products you could offer in addition to one-on-one sessions. Can you provide pre-written courses on making data-driven decisions for a small fee? Or group webinars as an alternative to solo sessions? By adding in these additional income sources, you can free up time to start thinking about larger projects and what tasks you might outsource to a team.
Key to scaling up is to create a base that you can grow from. That means expanding your offerings to things that don’t require real-time engagement from you. It also means casting an honest eye over your own skills. What are you great at - and what should you be hiring people for? Once you’ve got this foundation in place, you should be able to scale with ease.
So, you've chosen your business model and have figured out how to scale your growth. Now it's time to build a base of clients and build strong relationships with them. To start, you'll need to identify who your ideal clients are. To do this, ask yourself a few questions like:
Let's see this in action, shall we? Suppose you're a management consultant with an agency model. You're not a one-person team. You have a team of awesome specialists who can handle various projects for clients. With this in mind, you can focus on identifying businesses in need of a full-team approach. You could look for larger companies with more resources, as they'll be more likely to have the budget for a full-team approach.
Once you have identified your ideal clients, it's time to reach out and let them know about your services. You can do this through various channels such as email campaigns, social media posts or even attending industry events. However you choose to reach out, remember to be consistent and use brand messaging that resonates with your target audience.
Finally, think about how you can make it easier for your client base to reach you. For example, at TIMIFY you can access a number of consultant solutions and make yourself available 24/7 via online booking, increasing your client base and helping you reach more people. You can also get a QR code to embed into emails or business cards that link directly to your booking page, making it easier for clients to book with you.
You've taken the first steps towards creating a successful consultancy business with a scalable model and an expanding client base. Now it's time to boost your efficiency and productivity, so you can maximize the success of your business. A great way to do this is by automating as many tasks as possible. Essentially, you want to be able to spend more time on the tasks that add value to your business and less time on tedious admin.
Some common tasks that can be automated are appointment scheduling, invoicing, and marketing campaigns but there are plenty more areas where automation can be implemented.
Let's say you're a DevOps consultant. You could automate the deployment process with a Drupal hosting platform, making it easier for your clients to deploy their Drupal applications. This way, you can focus on more important tasks and be sure that everything is running smoothly in the background. Or, if you're a human resources consultant, you could set up an appointment booking system that makes it easier for potential clients to book sessions with you.
Now that you have all the pieces in place, it's time to focus on marketing your business. To be successful here, you need to make sure that potential customers know about your services and can find them easily.
For example, you can use social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to share valuable content and engage with potential clients. Suppose you've created a blog on which remote desktop tool is the best for your clients, VNC vs RDP. You could share this post on LinkedIn with relevant hashtags. This will help you reach more people who are interested in remote desktop solutions, as well as gain exposure for your services and brand.
Remember to be unique in your marketing strategy. You want to stand out from the competition and be seen as an expert in your field. If you can do this, people will begin to think of you first when they need professional advice or assistance.
Developing a financial plan is crucial for scaling your consulting business. Without a clear understanding of your finances, it's difficult to make informed decisions and invest in your business.
To develop a financial plan, you need to start by setting revenue and profit goals. This will help you determine how much revenue you need to generate to cover your expenses and achieve your growth objectives. You can use simple tools like spreadsheets, or more detailed accounting software to track your revenue and expenses and forecast your cash flow.
You’ll also need to review your current pricing strategy to make sure you’re hitting the right mark. Upscaling your business might bracket you against new competitors so research their pricing models, so you don’t get priced out.
Another key component of your financial plan is managing your expenses. Look for ways to reduce your costs without sacrificing quality. This might include outsourcing certain tasks or using automation tools like invoice automation to streamline your operations.
Don't forget to protect your business by creating a Consultancy Agreement with your clients. This legal document outlines the terms and conditions of your services, including payment terms, responsibilities, and liabilities. By having a Consultancy Agreement in place, you can avoid any misunderstandings or disputes with your clients and ensure that your business is protected. Make sure to consult with a lawyer or legal expert to draft a comprehensive and enforceable Consultancy Agreement that meets your business needs.
Finally, it's important to consider your funding options. If you're looking to expand your business quickly, you might consider taking on investors or securing a business loan. Alternatively, you might choose to reinvest your profits back into your business to fund your growth.
So there you have it. Our six helpful tips for scaling your consulting business quickly and effectively. Remember to take your time, do your research, and be strategic in how you approach each step. With the right plan and execution, you can achieve success in no time.
Gregory Batchelor is the Vice President of Growth Marketing at Platform.sh, a unified, enterprise-grade platform for building, running and scaling websites and applications. With over 20 years of experience in the tech sector, including time at companies including Oracle, Cisco and NTT, he has developed a reputation as a marketing and business operations leader. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and playing lots of golf.