Updated: Aug 17
As a leader, of a professional services firm, you are well aware of the challenges that come with running a successful business. Whether you are a solo practitioner, part of a niche specialist team, or managing a larger consulting enterprise, the quest for business growth and excellence is a common goal.
Key Questions You Face:
How do you ensure steady growth in the size and quality of services your firm provides?
Where can you find and attract top talent to deliver successful projects?
How do you retain talent, keep them engaged, and prevent attrition?
How do you adapt to changes in project scope, resource demands, and availability?
Are you focused on the right projects and ensuring their profitability?
How can you spend less time gathering data for timely decision-making?
How can you provide visibility into accurate firm data as a single source of truth?
If you are grappling with these questions, this article will guide you through the process of developing a reliable growth strategy consulting framework, offering valuable insights into how consulting firms can achieve faster and more predictable growth through repeatable processes, real-time performance data, and collaborative systems with high performers.
Why Growth is Challenging:
The Hinge Research Institute reports that consulting firms frequently establish growth targets, often exceeding 20% per year. While reaching such growth can lead to revenue gains, improved reputation, and fresh opportunities, it may also place significant strain on operational aspects.
To achieve growth, consulting firms need to execute more projects at a high level of quality, which often relies on a core group of high-performing individuals. Additionally, as the firm grows, it needs to recruit and train new talent to meet increased demands.
More engagements and larger projects also introduce complexity into the business systems, and while revenue may rise, cash flow challenges can arise, adding further stress to the firm.
Characteristics of a Growth-Oriented Firm:
Entrepreneurial Mindset: Embrace a culture where everyone seeks areas for improvement, be it in project delivery, business development, or internal functions. Encourage productive avenues for change and anticipate implications to deliver on project commitments.
Marketing and Branding: Differentiate your firm's brand by presenting unique solutions in the competitive landscape. Consistent, constant, and relevant marketing efforts are crucial and should not be sacrificed during project delivery.
Project Success Resources: Invest proactively in technology, training, and consistent adoption to support business and project processes. Automate front-office efforts to allow project teams to focus on their work and attract bigger opportunities and top talent.
Strong Financial Management: Achieve sustainable growth by maintaining a strong financial base. Empower financial management teams with access to timely and reliable information about individual project status and the overall business.
Client Satisfaction Focus: Maintain a laser-sharp focus on client satisfaction by implementing follow-up processes to understand their needs during and after project delivery. Act responsively based on client feedback to improve service.
Attract and Retain Top Talent: Strong talent is the key to success. Continuously search for top talent, develop marketing strategies to attract both clients and employees and demonstrate leadership's commitment to the long-term success of your team.
Checklist: How to Grow Your Firm
Here is a checklist of items for your team to master grow challenges. Check the items you have completed and finish the rest to win.
Be sure you have a business plan to review and adjust at least quarterly.
Commission research to help you identify competition, perceived strengths, and weaknesses and fine-tune key differentiators and positioning.
Develop an email list and test messaging against that list. Grow the list through a variety of marketing activities.
Create a marketing and sales funnel. Start simple and add more stages. Focus on funnel stage volume, velocity, and conversion. Review these metrics on a regular basis.
Find out where employees are spending time in manual or time-consuming processes in order to streamline and automate processes for cost savings.
Scale your business by hiring subcontractors before full-time employees.
Find the best people to support your most competitive offerings and support their professional development.
Build out your network of connections for business referrals and employee recommendations.
Invest in software and tools that provide visibility into budgeting, finance, resource utilization, and metrics for projects as well as business performance.
Bundle your popular services into a packaged product or course to help you scale effectively.
Build strategic partnerships and leverage co-branding to promote a product, service, or best practice your firm delivers.
Building a growth-oriented firm requires a well-defined strategy, a dedicated team, and a commitment to excellence. By embracing these characteristics and following the checklist provided, you can set your professional services firm on a path of rapid, predictable growth and secure your position as a successful player in your industry.
These insights have been provided by Deltek Global Consulting, Their expertise and experience in developing software and information solutions that enable superior levels of project intelligence, management, and collaboration, with deep growth strategy focus can help your firm overcome challenges and achieve sustainable success in today's competitive business landscape.