Beverley Hamilton

Article Summary:

Business planning and focused marketing are critical to running a successful business consultancy.

Consulting Business Strategy: It Takes More Than Wishful Thinking

You've found the lamp, you've made your wish and you are waiting excitedly for the genie to appear and you wait... and you wait and yet... - nothing.

You've left the corporate world and discovered the joys of being your own boss.

You've decided to be a consultant and make your fortune by offering your years of experience and great range of skills to anyone with a pulse.

You've told a few friends and family about what you are doing and have even been to few meetings with past colleagues and business acquaintances and handed round your business card

You're now waiting for the phone to ring, you've even checked it's plugged in and the telephone mast is still standing - nothing, not a peep.

This lamp isn't working. Where's that genie?

I call this a wishful thinking strategy. Some Independent Business Consultants (IBC) whether they be in marketing, sales, IT or HR, assume that just by talking to people, just by having a website or just by having a glossy brochure they will automatically get clients. And it's this assumption that will ultimately cause frustration, stress and despair as their consultancy flounders due to a lack of clients.

Your consultancy is a business and a business requires a workable, systemised infrastructure to make it truly successful. The development and sustainability of a profitable consultancy requires thought, planning, trial, review and thought - in all areas of the business. Those businesses that are truly successful have numerous common factors 2 of which are

1. Clarity of who their ideal clients are

2. Sustainable client acquisition systems

Random, ad hoc and unspecific activity may give you clients in the short term but in the long run it will not.

Imagine you want to be a world class freestyle swimmer.

Would you just go out for a run a couple of times a week, perhaps go for the odd bike ride at the weekend and only eat "healthily" on alternate Mondays?

Or

Would you have a daily, weekly and monthly training plan, which was swimming, and specifically freestyle related, targeted swim meets to test yourself in a competitive situation and have a diet plan designed especially for you?

You know the answer!

So why assume that "just getting out there" will get you enough of the right type of clients on a consistent basis?

There is no genie!

So many IBCs have a random, unfocused approach to...

  • Who their ideal clients are

  • Where they can find them
  • What specific problems they have

  • What specific solutions they have to offer

    ...that it is no wonder that they

  • Do not have the types and numbers of clients they want

  • Do not feel their efforts are being rewarded
  • Do not get many referrals

  • Do not succeed as IBCs for long Running a successful business requires structure and thought especially in the client acquisition process.

    As Confucius said

    "Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in"

    So take a look at what client acquisition activity you are currently doing, which is unstructured and unfocused and decide on how you can make some shifts in how and on what you spend your time more productively.

    Who do you know that seems to have a steady flow of their ideal clients? Ask to spend 30 minutes with them to see what they are doing so successfully - borrow their genie!

    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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