Do you have a steady stream of clients day by day? Have you developed a name for yourself in the industry? Are you planning to hire someone to help you out? If your consulting business is gradually consuming countless hours that it becomes more of a full-time job rather than a side hustle, maybe it’s time for you to scale and grow your business.
Scaling your consulting business allows you to double or even triple your income without spending a significant amount of time, and money. Likewise, you’ll have more freedom and flexibility in your schedule so you can do what you want, and focus on things that matter most. However, keep in mind that transitioning a small consulting business into a full-time freelancing company is difficult and complicated. Here are four tips to help you stay on track and make that transition as smooth as possible.
Make a list
Being a one-man business, there are tons of responsibilities and obligations on your shoulders. The first step to scaling your business is to identify the things you need to do, and the things that can be delegated to others. What areas needs your expertise? What are the things you need to be directly involved in? What are the tasks that can be completed without your presence?
Most consultants find it hard to delegate tasks because they think no one can do it better than themselves. To avoid this from happening, make a list of every task and responsibility right from the beginning to end. Include high and low-value activities such as project delivery, marketing, administration, finance, etc. Be honest and ask yourself, do I really need to do this? After you have compiled everything in a list, you need to:
- Sort all responsibilities and rank them from lowest to highest priority.
- Identify low valued tasks and responsibilities that can be assigned to other people.
- Find someone else who can get the job done faster that doesn’t cost much.
Hire a contractor
In line with the first tip, freeing up your schedule will never happen if your hands are tied-up on menial tasks. If you really want to focus on important things that matter to your business, you need to hire contractors and start delegating tasks efficiently. Compare to hiring full-time employees, hiring workers on a per-project basis gives you enough liberty to allocate time and money wisely.
One common mistake of many consultants is that they waste a lot of time finishing tasks that don’t give much value to the company. Preparing PowerPoint presentations, researching materials, entering data on a spreadsheet, distributing marketing emails, bookkeeping, and the likes are all important – but they can be done by someone else without the need of direct supervision. When hiring contractors, remember to:
Build up resources
Growth is a team effort rather than a solitary achievement. So if you want to transition your part-time consulting business into a full-time job, you need to build resources even before you need it. Saying no to a big project is a common scenario for new consultants. Why? Because they are afraid to handle big challenges due to lack of resources and help from other people. Being unable to build resources right from the start will only result in a catch 22, that will definitely hinder the progress of your business.
Think long term when building resources for your consulting business. Find people who can assist you not just on specific tasks but on different projects as well. Start to develop and nurture relationships with multiple people that will help establish your business during its advancement. Create partnerships and develop allies to small businesses within your community, organizations related to your trade, and known people within the industry. To help build resources for your consulting business, you can:
- Get more exposure by attending training and speaking engagements.
- Rekindle relationship with old connections but don’t forget to create new ones.
- Use social media channels to attract attention and foster connections.
Productize your services
There’s a big difference between offering customized services versus productizing your offers. When you say customization, you are altering consulting products to fit the individual needs of clients. While this is great on consumer endpoint, it slows down the growth of your business. Customization means you need to tailor new packages to suit various requirements. And increasing product offering results to additional manpower, reduced processes, fewer systems, extra resources, and more time to train new people.
Yet if you opt to productize your services, you only need to modify current offerings to cater to commercial needs. To successfully productize your consulting services, first, you need to identify the different elements of your business. Recognize the basics such as processes as well as systems and remove unnecessary things that are not needed. After which, you can now refine these elements to provide better packages for clients. When productizing services, don’t forget to:
- Identify recurring customer needs and offer long-term solutions.
- Set your terms properly, e.g. one-time service purchase or monthly subscription.
- Market your offerings and keep clients happy by providing them the best in class services.
The key takeaways
Turning a side project into a full-blown business is never easy. Problems and challenges are expected to come along the way but having a clear game plan on how to transition your consulting trade makes a huge difference. A game plan that will lead to a better vision, improved clarity, and great strategies to efficiently run your company.
Remember that you need to shift slowly but surely, and be certain that you have a direct path towards refining your trade. Working on these tips will help revolutionize your sideline into a flourishing and scaling business without much of a hassle.
Related article: How to Become an Independent Consultant: The Perfect Guide