Beverley Hamilton

Article Summary:

How to create a vision and a strategy for running a small business consultancy.

Business Consultancy: Creating a Vision and Strategy

You've made the break from the chains of working for the corporate machine and have decided to become a consultant in your specialist field, be that marketing, IT, HR or Sales.

You want the dream of working for yourself and creating greater freedom in your life.

Many Independent Business Consultants (IBC) or those considering becoming an IBC do what they do because

* They have worked successfully doing functional roles for an organisation and they liked doing what they do

* They want to have more control and freedom of what they do and when they do it

* They want more leisure time or more time where they are not working

So why when you want to work less, do you assume you have to work hard to succeed? Especially as hard work does not necessarily equal productive work, enjoyable work or profitable work.

One of the reasons I've found that many IBCs make this assumption is that they don't really think abut what a successful consultancy looks like, by their definition, before they get into it. They know what they do, which is quite often what they were doing in their previous organisation, but they don't have a clear picture of the how their business needs to look to give them the lifestyle they want.

Quite often they don't make the connection that they can not only choose what to do with their leisure time but, they can also choose how to structure and manage their work time too - it's their choice and not defined by some organisation or boss.

So they set up their consultancy by having a few business cards printed, making a few phone calls and "get busy" filling their days with activity. Then all too soon they are putting in as many, if not more hours, as when they were working for someone else; except that they are not necessarily earning as much and what "free time" they have, they spend thinking about their business and wondering what happened to the control and freedom they originally dreamt of.

Imagine you want to build your own house. One of the first things you would do is design it or get an architect to draw up some plans. You would decide how many square feet you wanted and how many rooms. You would decide how much garden you wanted and perhaps even what fixtures and fittings you will have as well as the location of the property itself.

You would do all of this before you laid the first brick or mixed the first batch of cement. You would have the house "finished" in your mind and a blueprint on paper before you started building. To not do so would be foolish. How would you know what to build and what needs to be done in what order? How would you know whether you needed 5000 bricks or 10000 bricks? How would you know whether it would take you 6 months and £100000 or 9 months and £150000?

So why would you do the equivalent with your consultancy? Why start building without your blueprint? Why work hard when you don't know what you are building? How will you know what you are doing will give you the end result you want?

Your blueprint might be to work 4 days a week, take 12 weeks vacation a year and only work for IT companies that will generate £10000 or higher for you. If that's the case, simply working harder and doing more activity won't do it unless that activity is specifically focused on achieving your blueprint and you have the infrastructure in place that will enable you to deliver that.

You took the decision to set up your own consultancy for many reasons and working harder and longer probably wasn't one of them. You wanted more free time, less working time, less stress and pressure and more fun doing the things you want to do in and out of work. So create that dream not a nightmare.

What is your blueprint for your dream consultancy?

What activities do you need to stop doing, which are not contributing to your blueprint and what activities do you need to do more of?

To achieve your dream, you first have to know what it is!

Beverley Hamilton of One Step Further is a business coach to business consultants. She is the author of "Take Control of Your Time: 7 Straight Shooter Strategies for Success". For more information read Beverley's full bio at www.onestepfurther.co.uk.

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