As any business school professor worth their salt will tell you, one of the key pillars of business success is reducing costs and maximizing profit—while also providing a top-notch professional experience. But it isn’t exactly simple to delivering on that business basic. It’s actually quite difficult. And this is especially true for consultants and their practices, which are already running on razor-thin margins.
There is some good news, however, because I’ve searched high and low for the secret sauce that successful consulting practices are using to help fuel their growth within the service delivery economy. And here are the top three things you can do to set your consulting business up for success.
If you are among the traditionalists that still believe an office space is a must, you need to think again. In the old, pre-pandemic world an office was a flashy way to say you have arrived. There was nothing more prestigious than a space in some iconic building with an upscale design. But in today’s world an office space has become an unneeded, costly line item that should be eliminated.
According to Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate brokerage firm with offices in some 100 U.S. cities, commercial rents in places like Raleigh, North Carolina have risen to an average of $28.22 per square foot. Eliminating this expense could save you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars each month. Not to mention the time saved not having to make a commute each day.
“Instead of investing in a cost-intensive office space that requires a daily commute and other overhead, consultants should strongly consider making their operations 100% virtual,” says business development consultant Brian Fitzgerald. “Almost all of the office work that consultants do can now be done virtually. And some great software platforms on the market can help reduce other costs as well.”
As the pandemic began, it seemed almost as if video conferencing solutions like Zoom appeared out of thin air—even though they’ve been around for a very lng time. But the mass adoption of tools like Zoom has led to a work-from-home revolution. And software companies like Profi are at the forefront of enabling professionals to optimize their service delivery experience by providing an all-in-one operating platform that enables blended service experiences.
“One of the most important elements for success in today’s quickly changing business environment is making it easy for clients to work with you,” said Alina Trigubenko founder and CEO of Profi. “Your ability to meet with your clients virtually is only part of the equation. Consultants need an all-in-one operating platform that handles the entire service workflow: billing, scheduling, secure client communication, progress tracking, customer service, content and program management and more. And that’s why we developed Profi as a solution for ourselves and other coaches and consultants—to help manage the entire service delivery operation in one scalable and professional-looking platform.”
Rebranded earlier this year, Profi provides turnkey, holistic workflow management tools that help busy professionals improve customer experience, increase client engagement, manage teams and services, provide customized and traceable client experiences, securely collaborate with their teams and clients, manage and automate payments, provide blended servicing experiences (modularized program content + face-to-face or group meeting formats) and more. Profi’s mission is to help the helpers maximize their impact by automating daunting admin work.
Partner with Others
As niche-specific tools begin to automate and optimize many aspects of your consulting business, you might suddenly realize that you have more time for other things. One of which is growing your business. This could include scaling your operation via increasing your client base and/or your team by partnering with other consultants.
“One of the ways our clients grow their businesses quickly is by productizing their service delivery frameworks ,” added Trigubenko. And then they continue scaling by training a certified network of profis representing their brand that expand business reach and opportunity. It’s a very efficient way to grow.”
If you have a unique skillset or specialized set of services, partnering with another consultant that offers a different but complementary set of services is a smart strategy for scaling your practice. By teaming up with others and working together to package your services, you can find yourself in an incredible, mutually-beneficial relationship. This can introduce you to a broader referral network, which can lead to more revenue. And by standardizing frameworks and service delivery methodology across your teams you can elevate your brand and scale more quickly.
“Finding partners with great networks who offer services that don’t compete with yours is a smart strategy for growth,” added Fitzgerald. “You might even be able to combine assets and resources in a way that benefits the partnership as a whole. And with extra abilities on-hand, you’ll uncover new revenue-generating opportunities.”
Give Back To Your Community
Although somewhat counterintuitive, another great way to grow your consulting practice is to give back. Our culture often rewards organizations that find the time and resources to give back. Although charitable acts are performed without the expectation of direct financial gain, they certainly come with some rewards. The first is that of building respect and a good reputation within your field or your community.
If you are looking for a place to start, local charities and nonprofits are always in need of more resources. And becoming a member of Pledge 1% is a great way to tell the world you are committed to giving back. Pledge 1% is a global movement that encourages and empowers companies of all sizes and stages to donate 1% of their staff time, product, profit, and/or equity to any charity of their choosing. Thousands of companies around the world have taken the pledge, and dozens of VCs, incubators and conferences have joined to push the movement forward.
Not to mention, according to Pledge 1%, 87% of consumers believe corporations should place equal weight on business and supporting communities. And 59% of Americans are more likely to buy a product associated with a corporate-nonprofit partnership.
Although there is never a magic bullet for business success, there are some simple steps you can take to help your consulting practice grow. And cutting expensive overhead, automatic time-consuming functions, partnering with the right people and giving back to the community are great places to start.