Multiplying numbers, as we all learned when we were younger, is much more powerful than adding. The analogy is direct - if you are looking to grow a business, you will be most successful if you find ways to make adding happen rather than doing the adding yourself. That way you become a multiplier.
(Not to crawl too far up my own mathematical analogy backside, but in reality, the very best growth is when you can multiply the multipliers - by definition exponential growth.)
What are adding activities? The most obvious one in our trade is engaging in billable work. Work that you can only once at a time, and bill for it that once. For example, "a UX consultant" or "a technical consultant" or "a creative director" or a "data architect". Although the best consultants fulfilling those roles should be simultaneously growing the business by demonstrating skills and building relationships that your clients want to continue and deepen, essentially, those are still additive roles.
If your entry point to this consultancy that you've started was as that superb technical architect or experience director - then one of the most fundamental skills you need to hone and learn to love is to grow "mini-yous". Because attracting, recruiting, retaining and growing excellent consultants is definitely a multiplier for your business. Instead of you finding ways to add value to your clients one at a time, and then being paid to provide it, you have a team of people doing it.
Equally, if you're over doing delivery work and have moved into the office to spend time on accounts or resourcing the team, then realise that those are also additive activities. They aren't growing the business - they are keeping it functioning smoothly. Critical, but neither growth-focussed, nor likely to keep your business ticking over and paying its consultants. As soon as you're in a position to do it, you should get someone else making sure those things run smoothly while you get out and grow the business.
If you're looking to truly grow your business, you need to engage in multiplier activities. There are essentially 3 key types of these:
- Making sales happen;
- Creating a machine to deliver value with quality to clients;
- Creating a place where the best want to do their best work.
I dive into these more fully in our blog post, The 3 Activities That Leaders of Successful Consultancies Focus On. Sorry for the click-baitey title, but it's actually what the blog post is about!