Tips For Scaling A Client Consulting Business

A startup usually starts off small, but with the right combination of input/work, effort and strategy your consulting business can grow from a hobby into a thriving agency that potentially employs other people too. In an increasingly digital world, there are now far more opportunities and methods that can be used to scale your business. But having the right combination of information and execution plan can be the difference between success and failure. Below are a few tips that we’ve compiled for you to consider in your own businesses.

scaling up consulting business


Flexible Approach To Pricing Projects

Consider how you currently price your work for your clients. Do you tend to price your work and time and effort involved (i.e. hours)? This is the most common approach to pricing for consultant starting out on smaller pieces of work. This is quite effective and efficient for smaller pieces of work especially where there is some uncertainty around the desired end product (i.e. unknown solution to a problem). However, when consulting agencies scale up their volume of work and begin working with larger clients, they may need to adjust their pricing model. Larger organization prefer to work on a fixed price model – also known as value pricing. A fixed price model ensures that work will be completed for an established set price up front – it gives the client a guarantee and a sense of security. This is a preferred model in larger projects that may be complex in nature. There are several reasons why this may be preferred method for larger organizations including budgetary and forecasting (where approval for funding may be required from board level etc).

Build A great Management Team And Design Internal Systems
One of the ways we often recommend in our coaching programs to our consulting agency clients to scale their business is to hire help in areas of their business they identify weaknesses in. Entrepreneurs have a natural tendency to want to do everything themselves in their businesses. But hiring the right people with specific talents in areas they are personally weaker in is one of the best ways to accelerate growth. Furthermore, this frees up the business owners to focus on areas that they are strong in, including strategy to drive the business forward.

Invest In Cutting Edge Technologies: Cloud-Based Systems
Often investing in cutting edge tools and technologies can reduce operational time and effort, streamline processes, and reduce costs. This frees up cash resources for investment in other business development activities. Cloud-based technologies and systems is an example of such a solution. The main advantage of cloud-based technologies is the cost savings and reduction in operational overheads. Furthermore, cloud makes information more accessible on demand anywhere, on any type of device and at any time.

Consider a case study of one of our former clients Emerge SEO Adelaide – a digital marketing agency that went through such a transformation to cloud based technologies for their business. By migrating from conventional desktop/laptop based applications such as Microsoft Office to Google’s suite of cloud based services, they saved thousands of dollars in licensing costs. It also enabled better collaboration between geographically dispersed team members by using Google’s free cloud based service offerings. They have also begun to use crowd sourcing as a method/mechanism for hiring freelance workers to perform small pieces of internal work where they do not have the expertise in house. For example, they previously created all their video marketing material in house. This was a time consuming activity as video creation and editing was not a natural strength of the agency. They now outsource this work to crowd sourcing platforms such as fiverr and Upwork which has yielded a substantial reduction in time, effort and cost.

Below is an example of a piece of internal marketing material (video) that the agency had created for them using a crowd sourcing platform. We wanted to display this as an example of the quality of work that can be produced out of these platforms, and to hopefully encourage more of you to try crowd sourcing as a solution. As you can see the work is of a high standard and can be customized and tailored to your unique individual business requirements.

– Winegard & Listern

Common Pitfalls Encountered In Hiring A Consulting Agency

This particular post is dedicated to those readers who may not necessarily already have their own consulting businesses or even want to start one. In any case, any business may at times requires the services of a consultant to help solve some sort of complex and specialist issue. But how do you go about selecting the right consultant or agency for your business to get the desired result? We lay out some common pitfalls encountered in selecting a consulting service for your business needs, and how you can avoid these.

consulting pitfalls

While consulting agencies are generally seen as being an option to give your company or project a helpful boost, there are some common pitfalls to avoid when hiring consultants. It is vital to the success of your business or project to get the balance of fit and experience just right for your particular requirements. Just as with any other field, not every consultant is the same. Some are better and more experienced than others. And every consultant or agency has their individual areas of strength, expertise, and niche knowledge.

What To Look Out For
There are several things to consider before you hire a consultant or agency. Some of these are warning signs to stay clear of whilst others are more considerations. For your individual businesses, you must weigh up the various costs and benefits of bringing in external consultants versus doing the work in house.

consulting tools

Loss of Learning & Development Experience
Challenging existing in house resources with a difficult or complex problem is a great way to push them to develop new skills, help them step outside of their own comfort zones, learn to work together collaboratively, explore unconventional methods and sources of information, and develop new skills. This exercise could have a significant pay off for your business in future. However it completely depends on your business need, complexity of the problem you’re trying to solve, and the time and resources available to you.

It may also depend on your particular business model? Are you running a lean model – meaning you are likely to favor cost over time? In which case challenging existing in house employees may be the preferred approach. Conversely, your model may be base more around efficiency – perhaps the project or issue is time critical and costs are not as much of a concern. In which case, bringing in external consultant to solve your problem fast would be the preferred approach. You need to find the best fit for your business needs. Also consider a hybrid approach.

Customized Knowledge vs Industry Knowledge
One benefit that an external consultant can bring is expert industry knowledge. The consultant is likely to have worked on similar challenges in various other situations and can bring that wealth of experience and breath of knowledge to your business to help solve issues expediently. On the other hand, your problem scenario may be extremely unique to your business. Using in-house resources in this scenario brings the advantage of in-house knowledge of systems, processes and culture, which could yield a better tailored solution to the problem. Again, we invite you to consider a hybrid approach as well.

Loss of Long Term Investment
Finally, when an external consultant or agency is brought in to work on a project, they eventually leave once the work is complete, potentially taking with them all the in-depth knowledge and experience. While you have recognized a short term ROI in resolving the problem, the long term investment is lost to the agency or consultant. You may become reliant on that particular agency or consultant in the future should related issues/problems arise in the future. We advise adopting good knowledge transfer and documentation processes.

We hope this post was of some use for you and you’ve got some valuable nuggets of information. If you would like to know more about sourcing strategies for consultants or agencies for your business, and need some more in-depth and tailored advice, we do offer both individual and group information and training sessions. Check out or coaching page or reach out to us on LinkedIn.

– Winegard & Listern

Starting Out In Client Consulting

In a recent study performed by First Research, the international consulting industry accumulates on average $30 billion each year in gross revenues. And although a large portion of the pie goes to larger consulting firms, smaller private agencies also have a tremendous  opportunity to collect a sizeable portion of spend in this industry.

starting consulting business
There are a number of services that a reputable client consulting agency can provide. If you think about it, any skill of value can be provided through coaching and consulting services. Most commonly, we see professional service consultants contracted in the following areas:

  • Provide expert opinions on a variety of subjects or industries
  • Troubleshoot and solve complex technical or business issues/problems
  • Augment or supplement the existing workforce when particular skill sets are in shortage or required for a short period of time (e.g. project based work), back fill employees on leave, etc
  • Propose new cutting edge ideas and designs in for challenging scenarios – offer fresh perspective from an outsiders view of the business

So what does it take to becoming a consultant? Do you need formal qualifications?

If you think you have a set of skills (with deep knowledge and or experience in) that are perceived as valuable and are in demand in the market, you could potentially monetize this by provide consulting services. The following steps offers some pointers of how to get started in a consulting business of your own.

Generally a good consultant has deep industry knowledge of their subject and potentially qualification to back it up as well. They are not necessarily always required, but in these cases a track record of performance and many years of experience is required to supplement any lack of formal qualification. This is because consultants need to portray a reputation of success, experience, and social proof of achievements to gain the trust of potential clients.

In terms of consulting qualifications, these are generally not required. Although there are a number of skills, techniques, and strategies that can be obtained that will make you a better and more effective consultant. We recommend coaching or online learning materials to skill up on this.

Carefully consider exactly what type of consultant you intend on becoming and if you will focus on a particular niche. We have seen a trend towards favoring expertise in specific niche areas over generalist consultant services. Carefully consider your skill level, niche and target audience.

Conduct research and investigation. Once you have a focused niche, take some time to investigate and research the niche. Is there demand for consulting services in this niche? What is the best application for this skill set?  Who are you competitors?

Once you have a good grasp of your niche, the demand, and the competition, you will want to focus down on your target audience. Will you be working with individuals, local businesses, startups, or large corporations? Will you target non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs or government organizations and departments?

Now that you have a firm grasp of the specific offering that your consulting business will provide, its time to launch. The great thing about the consulting business model is the low overheads and startup costs involved. You probably need as little as a laptop, phone, and an internet connection to get started right away. You could even work out of your home or a Starbucks to begin with. Starbucks could be a great option for you as a venue to hold your client meetings. You just need to use a little imagination and creative thinking.

We hope this post has been useful for you in some way and you’ve got some valuable tips. If you would like to know more about starting your own consultancy, and need some more in-depth and tailored advice, we do offer both individual and group information and training sessions. Check out or coaching page or reach out to us on LinkedIn.

– Winegard & Listern

How To Find Trends In Client Consulting

 

Consulting can be a very lucrative business, especially if you have a skill set that is perceived to be of value and is also in demand. Consulting businesses can be particularly lucrative due to the lower overheads of operation. However, you have to know how to sell your skills and expertise to managers and entrepreneurs.

consulting trends

Businesses and prospective clients that see the advantages of hiring you to give them business advice, and perceive your offering to be valuable, are likely to invest in paying for your services. Perceived value really boils down to whether your clients believe that hiring you for your services will bring them a return on their investment (ROI). In the consulting game, it is particularly important to appear professional and trustworthy and offer a valuable and high quality services to your clients. Therefore it follows that it is also important to your business to continually stay on top of the latest tools and trends in client consulting in order to offer your clients a high quality service that is a step ahead of your competition.

Finding quality cutting edge information isn’t all that easy, and it could also be be quite costly. One tip you can try out locally is to search and seek out local or global professional associations, join them and actively get involved in networking events and contribute to the community. Such organizations are usually very well connected, so their members have access to the latest news and training programs available on the market. By becoming part of their network, you will likely increase your exposure to these resources. One example you might one to try out is your local Chamber of Commerce in your city. This resource is a great place to network with like minded individuals and entrepreneurs. You never know who you may meet there, and form relationships and alliances with. We’ve worked with several clients in the past that used their local Chamber of Commerce networking events to line up new deals, meetings and speaking engagements.

Another underrated resource are informational website like blogs, news sites, or consulting coaching sites like ours that distill and disseminate all the latest topics and trends for you for no charge. There are literally hundreds of sites like these out there. Actively research and investigate for yourself and subscribe to those that you feel provide useful insights and expertise on topics that interest you and are relevant to your business. You just never know where you might pick up that gold nugget of information that you could use in your business to gain a competitive edge and drive your business forward. We encourage you to spread yourself wide and consume a good selection of material available to develop a well rounded knowledge base.

– Winegard & Listern

About Winegard & Listern

Welcome to Winegard & Listern Consulting – A place for discussion of business consulting news and topics, as well as business consulting coaching and advisory services. Winegard and Listern was founded by Rina Winegard and Julie Listern. These 2 women have developed impressive careers in the consulting industry, and have spent the past 10 years in coaching individuals, teams and organizations how to lead, develop and grow their business to success.

Rina and Julie met as colleagues at global management consulting firm Bain & Co whilst on assignment in New York. Being Philadelphia natives, both women became friends instantly and maintained a friendship outside of work. They had individually forged highly successful careers as senior managers at Bain & Co. After developing expertise in management and business consulting, the women decided to partner together and go it on their own as business consulting coaches. They started Winegard & Listern Consulting in 2007 out of their native Philadelphia.

Rina and Julie have dedicated the past 10 years to coaching consulting skills and strategy to their clients, and have amassed a host of positive testimonials. “Most of our work comes from recommendations or referrals from our existing or former clients. We’re extremely proud of our reputation in the community. It makes the hard work all worth while”, says Rina.

Here’s what clients had to say about Winegard & Listern coaching services.

We had the pleasure of working with Rina a couple of years ago. Our business was on the verge of expansion to the point where we couldn’t keep up with our customer’s demands. Rina helped us streamline our internal processes, develop an effective supply chain strategy, help us grow up business. We were so impressed with Rina’s knowledge and really enjoyed working with her.
– Hugh Reynolds (Ohio)

I’m a retired war veteran and wanted to start up my own business but had no idea where to begin. I’ve been working with Julie for over a year now and I couldn’t be happier with all the support and advice I’ve received from her. I now have my business up and running online and am working on growing it further. Julie even helped me get a government grant for funding to startup up my business. She’s been a tremendous help and a partner for me in my venture.
– Pat Greenwood (Philadelphia)

Rina and Julie have helped many individuals like Hugh & Pat realize their dreams of entrepreneurship. As in Pat’s case they’ve been right on top of government legislation regarding grants, and have helped several small businesses secure government grants to launch or expand their entrepreneurial ambitions. The USA governmental website https://www.usa.gov is a handy resource for determining if you too are eligible for an entrepreneurial grant. Winegard & Listern are experts in this area and can also assist you with receiving these types of grants quickly (subject to eligibility).

Aside from offering 1-on-1 coaching services and facilitating group masterminds, Winegard & Listern also regularly share their opinions, insights, and ideas on the latest business consulting news and trending topics. They invite their readers to debate and discuss these topics freely in this forum. Both Rina and Julie both believe in giving back to the community freely and hence aim to bring the latest thinking on business consulting globally to the fore for discussion. They offer their unique and varied insights and opinions on a number of topics as well as discuss specific implementation strategies.

Stay up to date with the latest news and discussion topics that are hot in the world of business consulting. Share you opinions, insights and ideas as we discuss these topics. This forum is designed and intended to be a collaborative community of consulting enthusiasts that enjoy sharing new and interesting ideas. We encourage the members of our community to share what has or hasn’t worked for them in their neck of the woods. So come and join us in this collaborative community.

– Winegard & Listern Consulting