Growth Is Here – How Can Your Firm Benefit From It?
Good news: the consulting industry is growing. And it’s time for you to start benefiting from these prosperous times.
The MCA Annual Report revealed that in 2014, the U.K. consulting industry grew faster than almost any other sector within the country. The report, considered the most authoritative study of the performance of the U.K. consulting industry, called out specific areas of improvement – including 10.75 per cent growth for Big Four accounting firms.
In such a buoyant market, small and mid-sized firms are also benefiting from increased revenue, and a willingness from customers to purchase consulting skills. Here’s how your consulting firm can win in this environment.
Differentiate Your Firm
Opportunities abound for small and mid-sized firms that stand out from the competition. How? In a word: differentiation.
Your firm can’t be all things to all people, nor should you want it to. Instead, focus on what makes your firm truly unique. Find your niche.
This means more than simply claiming to offer personalised service. All consultants say their relationships and solutions make them stand out – that’s not differentiation, that’s just repeating a lesson from Management Consulting 101.
Instead, focus on your specific capabilities and your niche experience – and how that relates to your target clients. Small firms such as Oakland Consulting do a good job of being very specific about their focus and value to the customer.
The key is to choose the specialties in which you are strongest, whether by service line or industry, and push this towards the market sectors where demand is strongest. For smaller firms trying to be all things to all people, will lead to lack of traction with new customers, and wasted effort on deals that you can’t win.
With Growth Comes Challenges
Once your firm has identified its niche and marketed itself accordingly, focus on pursuing projects that speak to these strengths. Growth will come – and with it a new set of challenges for which you must be prepared.
Your firm may soon experience an ever-growing demand for “more” – more complex projects, more highly differentiated resources and more demanding opportunities. Competing needs, busier schedules, increased billing volume are issues that will test your organisation. People and processes will have to be re-aligned. Lines of communication and systems used to manage resources, monitor project progress, and manage client activities may no longer provide the visibility you need, or work efficiently.
You need to have the right processes in place, a scalable set up in order to make sure your margin isn’t threatened while you maintain profitable growth A fully integrated, project-based ERP system can help you keep pace by balancing billing, business development, and project &resource management. Opportunities are out there! Pursue them without fear by differentiating your firm within the market and getting the right tools in place to support your growth.