I'm sure you've read the tips from the business and entrepreneurship writers about 80/20. Drop the bottom 80% of your clients because they're more hassle than they're worth. Drop 80% of the tasks you do, because they generate negligible value. Drop 80% of your offerings because your growth is coming from the top 20%. All sage advice, except that those writers never then go binary on the fact that doing this is not enough. You need to get all over the remaining 20% to actually make your consultancy explode.
There's a growing tendency for companies to not reply to job applicants who've not been successful. This is not only highly disrespectful, but harmful for a company's reputation. Use rejections as an opportunity to enhance your applicants' prospects and your own reputation.
Most companies deal with leavers passively. Many do so destructively. The reality is, though, that there are things you can do before a resignation even comes, once it's landed, and after someone has left to make departures have a positive impact. This is especially true in consultancies where word gets round.
These 4 excellent reports from O'Reilly are for companies that employ technologists and designers (know any of those?). Although they are ostensibly about salary, they provide a wealth of valuable information about many other topics of concern to designers and technologists. From time spent on different types of tasks, to tool and framework preferences, to job satisfaction, as well as numerous influencers of salary, there's a lot of useful info for our industry.
We've distilled our experience of profitably growing and scaling technical consultancies and digital agencies into the Value/s Led Consulting framework. That experience includes going from a 2 man startup to a £40 million+ full services agency and tech consultancy.
This framework comprises 9 business areas, and 2 underpinning core practices. With templates, training, videos and coaching.
This blog post introduces the framework, and, disclaimer, also links for you to join us!
Technology consultants (and for that matter, most subject matter experts in most domains) tend not to be great at selling. We congratulate ourselves on the "consultative sell", but it only merits the name if there's actually a sale at the end of it. All too often, consultants (and consultants who go on to found companies) do really well with the credibility-building, but not the sale. If you own a tech consultancy, then you need to get on with the selling, and better channel the ability of your consultants to build a pipeline and play their role in the sales process.
You're in tech. Everyone else in Shoreditch has a fusball table. So you buy a fusball table. Or you offer a breakfast bar with criossants and muesli. You've now got "a culture" which will attract and retain great staff, right?
Perks and benefits are important. But they need to be consistent. Choose your perks to reflect and reinforce your values, or to reflect elements of your culture that you want to maintain. Your perks don't define your culture - rather, they should be defined by them and by your values.
Our wish for you for 2017 is that your business only does these two things:
(1) what you absolutely want it to do, meaning what is aligned with your vision and values, or;
(2) what the government dictates that it must!
And nothing else. This is the most direct way to meeting your consultancy or agency's goals, and in principle, is very simple. But, obvious as it may seem as a principle, it is pretty hard to do in consistent reality.
Our opening 2017 post is very simply entitled "How to meet your consultancy's goals in 2017". Unlike our previous posts, a quick read! But probably the most valuable if applied. Happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 to you.
Retaining your best consultants is no easy task. The most effective way to do it is to foster loyalty in your team, both to your consultancy and to each other. That takes a lot more than decent pay or yet another fusball table (spare me). Here are some real tips based on my experience of taking consultant employee churn down from 40% to an industry-leading 6%.
Between-project time for consultants is notoriously badly managed. Not to have a strategy in place for it results in significant opportunity cost, and is also bad for keeping your consultants engaged (and retained!). Here's how to use that time to effectively drive strategy forward and develop and enable your consultants.