Want to achieve the next big step up for your consulting firm? You’ve undoubtedly written goals, and I’ll bet you’ve crafted plans, too. But to generate a quantum leap in consulting revenue and profit, you need an Engineering Vision.
Answer the seven questions in this article, and you’ll be poised for explosive growth.
One of my most popular speeches includes the Street Urchin Trap, which, in a nutshell, is what you tumble into every time you sign a consulting project, but fail to ask for as big a project or as high a fee as you could have. (The name of the trap makes more sense in the context of the speech.)
Vaulting free of the Street Urchin Trap isn’t a pipe dream. In fact, consultants around you—some of whom read this blog and contribute comments—have experienced the thrill of escaping the Street Urchin Trap.
They’ve doubled or tripled or “10-exed” the size and/or margin of their projects. They’ve graduated from munching on a Hershey’s bar to luxuriating in the “chocolate bar” dessert at the Four Seasons hotel in Maui. (Tasty versus chocolatasmic. Two different worlds.)
Start your escape from the Street Urchin Trap by envisioning yourself asking for much juicier projects. One, large boutique consulting firm in New England increased their average project size from about $250,000 to over $1 million. How? In the CEO’s words, “We learned to ask for it.”
Unfortunately, imagining yourself uttering grand, sexy fees is a phantasm. There’s no substance beneath the dream. Bringing that lovely fantasy to life requires a significantly more concrete picture of your desired future.
You need what I call an Engineering Vision. Engineers translate ambitions into precise components that, when fitted together in the proper order, achieve the desired outcome.
The seven questions below will help you build your Engineering Vision. In other words, they’ll convert your ephemeral dream into tangible steps.
Two quick notes:
1) Many consultants believe creating a bigger firm requires landing bigger clients. That’s a fallacy. Large clients have bigger wallets, but they won’t pay more for the same value.
2) You can substitute the words “higher margin” for “bigger” if your goal is to scale margin without scaling the size of your firm.
7 Questions to Create Your Engineering Vision
1. What would a bigger project look like for your consulting firm?
2. What bigger problem would you solve?
3. What greater value would you create?
4. How would your clients’ experience be different?
5. What would it require for you (and your firm) to solve that problem, deliver that value and create that experience?
6. Can you envision yourself doing what is required?
7. What are your first five steps, and when will you complete them?
With your Engineering Vision in hand, you are poised to take bold steps. Can you envision an astonishing future for your consulting firm? What’s one piece of your Engineering Vision that will take you there?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.