Consulting firm leaders traverse an interesting, attitudinal path, with numerous inflection points. If you’re like the majority of leaders, your thoughts about parts of your consulting practice will shift dramatically as your firm grows.
Why is knowing a typical progression important?
Imagine two different teams attempt the same escape room (at different times). Team Vanilla doesn’t know there are two more rooms to solve and that most groups solve the first room quickly. Team Chocolate is fully aware of these facts.
Which team will more confidently and eagerly rush to finish the first room? (My money, unsurprisingly, is on Team Chocolate.)
Knowing that your journey is not unusual may make your current struggles more tolerable. In addition, recognizing the typical next stage in your journey may precipitate a faster, easier evolution.
One attitudinal metamorphosis among consulting firm owners is particularly striking:
The mindset shift from sales-avoidant to ardent rainmaker.
We regularly see firm founders advance from disliking business development to tolerating it, to enjoying it, to craving it.
(If you’re not a founder, your mindset and attitude may correspond more tightly with your role in the organization as you progress.)
Many consulting entrepreneurs in the early stages of their practice love delivering value to clients, but dislike engaging in business development. If that’s your situation, you may doubt that you’ll ever actually want to devote all your time to winning business.
Future you will surprise the heck out of current you.
Owners of sub-$1 million consulting firms often groan, “I really do not enjoy BD—can’t I hire someone to do that for me?”
When those same owners’ firms top $10 million, they exclaim, “All I want to do is win new clients. Can’t someone else take care of delivery and running the firm?”
From the outside, the transformation is as dramatic as watching a kid who hates vegetables mature into the Green Giant.
Wherever you are in your journey as consulting firm leader, rest assured that you’ll probably enjoy business development much more as you (and your firm) grow.
Action Step: Try approaching your business development activities now with your “Future You” mindset; i.e., act as if it’s a load of fun!
Three questions for you. Answer any:
- Has your mindset on BD shifted at all as you’ve owned your consulting firm?
- What’s the next step for you?
- Does it help to know that you’ll probably enjoy BD more as your firm grows?
Let me know your answer by posting a comment.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.