Your hard work on business development and some good luck resulted in big opportunities for your seed optimization consulting firm: potential engagements with Worldwide Walnuts, Paramus Pecan Co, and NoNutz.com all at the same time. But, somehow none of those opportunities blossom into closed projects. Why?
You may have a “Step 0” problem.
If you’ve read The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, you’re familiar with the six steps to unlimited clients, starting with Step 1: Mindset and running through Step 6: Propose, Negotiate and Close. (If you haven’t read that book, go here, read this. Don’t pass Go or collect $200 first.)
It turns out that there’s a step before Mindset:
Step 0: Delivery Confidence.
If you aren’t confident that your consulting firm can deliver on a project, you will intentionally or unconsciously sabotage your business development efforts.
Your consulting firm’s Delivery Confidence wanes when you or your team members worry that you lack sufficient capacity or that your capabilities fall short.
A Step 0 deficiency is serious. Instead of winning the easy, NoNutz.com project and possibly cracking open the Paramaus or Worldwide engagements, you end up losing all three opportunities. That’s not good.
Your capacity concerns can be addressed with straightforward tactics, including hiring, delegating, streamlining and renegotiating. (You’ll find 11 capacity-increasing strategies in this article.)
You build greater confidence in your capability with an equally clear-cut approach: subcontract skill sets your consulting firm currently lacks. The rent vs. build decision is easy in this case: rent. (You can wait to expand your firm’s prowess internally until your clients demonstrate clearly and consistently that there is sufficient demand and sufficient margin for the new skills.)
The tried-and-true approaches to build Delivery Confidence aren’t complex. They’re also not quick.
Therefore, your more important Step 0 question may be this:
When should your consulting firm increase capacity and capability?
The answer is now.
If your consulting firm is busy and your pipeline is healthy, you need to pile on extra Delivery Confidence so that you can unswervingly pursue all your new business opportunities.
If your consulting firm is not busy, thank your lucky stars you have some time to build your Delivery Confidence. Capacity and capability don’t appear overnight.
Mid-year, in particular, is an excellent time to set plans in motion that will boost your Delivery Confidence.
In contrast, waiting until the end of the year prevents your consulting firm from capitalizing on the end-of-year surge in business development opportunities. Waiting also dampens your progress since revenue growth lags Delivery Confidence
Have you ever hesitated to win a project because you worried about your capacity or capability to deliver? Either way, what have you done to increase your Delivery Confidence?
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.