Most independent consulting businesses (ICB) are little more than highly skilled workers with special employment contracts. If your ICB sells your services in units of time, then sadly it’s not much of a business. The weakness of almost all ICBs is the need for constant input from the owner. It’s difficult to achieve leverage working like this, and for anyone with ambitions beyond being a glorified wage-slave, there’s no option but to move away from selling time-based services.
So if you want some ideas on how to make the shift, these three strategies are sure to improve the profitability of any business, and without taking on the responsibilities and risks involved with building an empire.
- Strategy 1 – Transitioning from marketing a service to marketing a solution. This is more about how you present your offering than actually having a “solution”. The solution, by the way, is the outcome your services will deliver, not the activities you perform to get there. This strategy is about taking responsibility for outcomes and pricing a premium for doing so. The result is clearer solution focused proposals, and more profitable billing tied to results that your clients can appreciate
- Strategy 2 – Develop your Intellectual Property (IP). There’s nothing more gratifying in business than re-selling something that you’ve created – over and over again. IP is also great way to marketing your base services and provides you with the opportunity to leverage the services of others – you provide the know-how, they provide the labour.
- Strategy 3 – Get admin support. The strategy of taking on administrative overhead might seem counter intuitive at first, but this is about reducing the energy your put into low return tasks instead of selling, creating IP, or doing billable work. Bringing administration into your business also forces you to standardise the way do things, making you more efficient and building further capacity for growth.
No matter if you have modest ambitions or high hopes for your business, making up your mind to dispense with selling your time is surely a step worth contemplating. Making it work – well that’s going to take some trial an error, but the first and most crucial step is to ask the question:
Am I really in business?
Now get out there and sell something other than your time.
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Thanks and best wishes,