Five Strategies to grow a Consulting Business
Everyone wants to see their Business grow, which is why Business Consultants exist in the first place. When growing a consultancy business there is really just one area to focus upon.
You need to focus on growing your client base.
To achieve this and regardless of how busy you think you are, an extra investment of effort, energy and time is essential.
So, how do you start a consulting business and how to grow?
In this article we are going to list five proven strategies to growing your consultancy. Some of them might seem obvious, but they are all have proven track records.
Use Social Media
Perhaps this is the most obvious of them all. Personally, I remember starting out in business and almost disregarding it, that would have been a huge mistake, do not underestimate its influence and in particular for a Consulting Business you require a strong social media presence. For Businesses like Consultancies you should keep active of the most popular platforms, but LinkedIn is really where your want to be concentrating.
LinkedIn is really the powerhouse for landing clients, as far as business to business interactions goes then this is the place to be. Within LinkedIn you can build relationships with potential clients and build up a rapport with them.
As with all social media there are a number of tools you can use to help shed the burden of keeping on top of things (Social media can become quite time consuming)
Check out tools like SellHack to which can pull people’s email addresses straight form their profile and having a healthy email list is also essential to business growth.
There are numerous other tools available, which are impossible to list here, but a quick search will list a variety of tools and options, which can obviously be utilised to suit your personal needs.
Ask for References and Testimonials
It is unlikely that you employ someone before asking for some sort of reference or testimonial. The same applies to businesses, why would they employ your service when you can’t provide any proof of satisfied clients.
At it’s most basic it is simply a matter of asking former customers to write a short testimonial for you.
However, you may also want to consider taking it a step further. Why not create a short video or presentation to supply to potential clients? It is easy and cheap these days to create a professional looking presentation singing the praises of your firm.
And with the technology available these days, often they can be created in-house.
Testimonials can be an extremely effective method of securing new clients.
Be Selective with your Client Base
Not all customers are equal. This is one that I can definitely relate to from personal experience. I remember starting out as a one-man band small business. I was desperate for customers, anyone that walked through my door I would snatch their business regardless.
The result was I ended up with a large list of clients, a lot who offered little or even no profit. It may sound counterintuitive but being selective with your customers will pay dividends in the long run.
There is a principle in business called the ’80-20 rule’. This rule states that 80% of a company’s business comes from 20% of their clients.
Taking that rule to its obvious conclusion means you should be focussing your time and energy on the most profitable of your clients.
I quickly learned to suss the troublemakers, the ones that used up vast amounts of your time and energy and would never seem satisfied. Your time can be used more valuably than pampering to unprofitable and troublemaking clients.
Write up a Case Study
If you want to showcase your talents to potential clients then this can be an extremely powerful tool.
Forrester Research commissioned a report that showed that Business-to-Business (B2B) buyers have looked at 70% to 90% of the buyer procurement process before contacting a vendor. If you want to secure the services of a buyer, you need to reach out to them before you have any direct contact.
Case Studies allows you to put yourself on the marketplace with a strong presence that shows your capabilities in practical terms, before there is any direct contact between you.
Once again its as simple as either providing a simple written case study or producing a more professional looking presentation. Case Studies differ from testimonials as the customer may remain anonymous and they also tend to look in far greater depth at a particular contract or task. Which can demonstrate to potential clients just what kind of results can be expected from working with you.
It took me a long time to realise the strength and influence of a strong social media presence. It took me even longer to realise the power of a regular blog.
I freely confess to not even properly understanding what a blog was. However, I am a complete and utter convert to the power of a good blog.
It isn’t instantaneous, I didn’t start blogging and immediately have a huge flow of business flow through the door, but over the years having a blog has brought in a huge amount of business.
A blog is a showcase for your talents, it builds your reputation and establishes you as an expert in your field. Regular blogging also increases your ranking in the search engines. Which, of course, drives more traffic towards your website.
And perhaps more importantly it establishes another line of communication between you and potential customers. I have had acquired a large number of long-term clients just through replying to simple comments left on my blog.
Of course, it’s easy just to read this and say, oh that’s great I will try some of them. But ultimately it’s all about you, the energy and effort you supply is the most important tip of them all. If you go with any of the above strategies, put the energy in to whatever you do. That’s where the results will come from, the drive that’s within you.