There are two parts of the Consultant Wealth picture: your Revenue Truth and your Leverage Truth. I tend to write about the revenue side. And food. Because, well, selling consulting projects is groovy and I live for umami. But once you’re proficient at landing clients, lack of leverage can put a stranglehold on your success.
Consultants tied up in an engagement often neglect their business development duties. Plus, even if you could close another project, sometimes your plate is too full to deliver on it. That’s your Leverage Truth holding you down. I guess we better address it.
Creating a Higher-Volume Consulting Business
From your firm’s standpoint, you have almost 9,000 hours available per year. Per person. But most of us are solo consultants or running small firms and we’re truly creating value fewer than 2,000 hours per year. That leaves a cauldron of room to increase your volume (more work hours) without any change in duration (years). How do you increase your volume (and still sleep)?
Manage Your Time
Most people waste gobs of time deciding what tasks to do, transitioning between tasks, deciding what to do next, then watching Jimmy Fallon clips on YouTube. I won’t devote space to time management because there’s roughly six million books on managing your time better. Pick a strategy. Stick with it.
Independent consultants hesitate to hand activities to someone who could do it better. Irony much? Focus on developing business, creating IP, and delivering value that only you can deliver. Outsource, delegate or subcontract everything else. That’s classic leverage.
Deliver a 95
Back in school, kids who scored 95% on a test received the same grade as kids who nailed a 100%: an A. (These days kids get A+, but never mind that.) Since your clients deserve a grade-A solution, deliver a 95. Clients neither notice nor appreciate the difference between excellent and perfect… because, from a value standpoint there rarely is a difference. (Except for the unbelievable amount of time it takes to eke out that extra five percent.)
Creating a Richer Consulting Business
The second part of the recipe is squeezing more capacity out of every hour. This one’s as easy as three pieces of pie:
Become very efficient and proficient at producing whatever you sell. Make repeatable tasks happen faster. Everything from crafting proposals to developing deliverables will take less time if you’ve developed a tight, systematic approach. My assistant and I have a process manual for administrative tasks. Do you have one yet?
Sell the same offerings over and over. Cooking up approaches and outputs from scratch takes oodles of extra effort. The wealthiest consultants are masters of developing a product that many, many buyers want, with only nominal customization required. Systemize the approach to your product and you’re doubly rich.
Improve Your Productivity
Sometimes you’re on fire. Your mind is frothing with ideas and you hammer out a week of work in a single afternoon. Other times you move like molasses. The day ends, the hours have fled, and your to-do list has nary a checkmark or strikethrough. There are myriad techniques for improving your focus, harnessing your energy, and maximizing your output. You’re already read the books. Go back to your notes and implement a few ideas.
All your smarts and your business development savvy will only help you if you can deliver the work and leave room for more. Become a consultant whose time is value-rich and high-volume. Then we’ll get back to catching tasty projects.
What strategies have you employed to improve your leverage?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.