You learned about an 8-week alternative to the traditional, gather-everyone-in-a-room-for-two-days approach to annual planning for your consulting firm. (It was in this article.)
Since publishing that piece, consulting firm leaders have lobbed in an array of queries:
- Is the process iterative?
- Who should be involved?
- If we don’t meet for two days, do I still have to share the cheesecake?
The most common question consultants asked about the process was this:
What data should your consulting firm consider during Steps 1 & 2, when you’re examining the facts and gleaning critical lessons that can shape your year ahead?
Think of your data review from a few orientations:
Outside, Inside and the Consulting Cycle.
Outside describes the trends, shifts and pressures the external world exerts on your consulting firm.
Inside includes the facts, metrics and information that characterize your consulting firm’s performance.
The Consulting Cycle neatly bridges the Inside performance of your consulting firm, and the Outside world.
Below are some suggestions for facts and data you may want to review in each area:
Data about the outside world includes any major trends, shifts or news that you believe could alter your consulting firm’s ideal trajectory. Some common places to look are:
- Competitive Set
Data about your consulting firm’s inside world tends to focus on your financial performance and results. You’ll gain insights about consulting clients or service lines you should let go, and where you should tweak your consulting firm’s efforts based on profitability.
Common Inside data include:
- Income Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow Report by Month
- Revenue and Margin by Service Line
- Revenue and Margin by Client
The Value Creation side of your consulting firm’s Consulting Cycle includes all the tasks, efforts, systems and processes you employ to profitably delight your clients.
At a minimum, your data review should include:
- Unsolicited Client Feedback
- Client Feedback from Surveys
- Delivery Capacity Projections
- Delivery Skill Capabilities and Gaps
- Delivery Performance by Consultant
The Business Development component of your consulting firm’s Consulting Cycle covers the gamut of activities that secure revenue from new and existing clients.
- Summary of Learnings from Wins (Post Mortems)
- Summary of Learnings from Losses (Post Mortems)
- Feedback on Business Development Process from Prospects
- Network Core Size and Growth
- Visibility Building Successes and Failures
- Business Development Performance by Consultant
What other facts, metrics or information do you look at when evaluating your consulting firm and planning your future?
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.