Libby Rothschild, CEO of Dietitian Boss. Follow on LinkedIn
Many consulting companies seek advice on growing their businesses. Professional service firms can scale their operations, unlike other business models that require hands-on attention. Why? Because they provide intellectual property.
Scaling a business is one of the best ways to reveal the flaws in your operations. From hiring new employees to expanding into new markets, growth can often be stifled by inefficient processes, lack of automation and poor communication. Below are five critical steps for scaling your coaching or consulting business.
Step 1: Optimize Sales Strategy
Professional services are a multitrillion-dollar industry, and the market is expected to grow to more than $7 trillion by 2025. With more and more companies competing for a slice of that pie, it is important to optimize your professional service offerings to set yourself apart from the competition. But many companies in the professional services industry fail to do so.
Many professional services companies have difficulty with the following three pain points.
• Understanding the target client to deliver relevant information and address their needs.
• Responding to clients’ pain points to build a comprehensive strategic plan for tackling those issues.
• Developing awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses to avoid overpromising and under-delivering.
If you do not clearly define your offerings and how they benefit your customers in an easy-to-communicate format, you will lose business to companies that do. Customers want to know what you can do for them and how it will help.
Step 2: Revamp Marketing Efforts
Scaling your business through marketing is a way to leverage online marketing, social media, client testimonials and business partnerships to take your company to the next level without having to spend a lot of money or put yourself at risk.
Social media offers another straightforward way to market your business online. Social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram enable you to grow your audience and get in front of potential clients.
Client testimonials are like gold for professional services companies. Not only do they provide you with content for your website, but they also instill confidence in potential buyers by demonstrating that others have had success with your services. To leverage testimonials more effectively as you grow and scale, try incorporating video testimonials into your website’s homepage or “About Us” page.
Step 3: Review Operations And Spending
The key to successfully implementing operations management is to ensure that all the processes work together, primarily meeting customer needs. The first step is to analyze your current business processes. This way, you gain a valuable baseline of information to make informed decisions about where to make improvements.
While top-down budgeting processes are the traditional approach, they often result in managers trying to cut costs in ways that reduce the value of their products and services. Instead, a better way to reduce costs is by improving efficiency. Someone at each level of the organization should be responsible for critical processes and have a vested interest in continuous improvement.
Once you have mapped out the processes, it is time to put your ideas into action. An easy way to test ideas is by piloting new processes at a small scale within your organization first. Start with a small experiment that can be easily managed and maintained.
A simple test can quickly reveal whether your ideas for improving operations management are practical. Begin by setting up clearly defined criteria for measuring results and defining what success looks like for your improved processes.
Another idea is to collect feedback from employees involved in the test. Their insights may help solve any problems you encountered during testing or offer additional ideas on improving the process moving forward.
Step 4: Find The Right Employees
After maximizing your current resources, it is time to make some decisions about hiring employees and outsourcing tasks. In some cases, you may need to fire an employee if they do not meet your firm’s goals.
Employees often see problems or inefficiencies that management may overlook. Empowering employees to improve their jobs and reduce unnecessary or redundant work improves their jobs, the bottom line and morale.
Evaluate how many employees in different departments are doing manual work. Are there ways in which technology could automate some of those processes? For example, could accounting software handle certain functions automatically rather than requiring someone to enter all the data?
Step 5: Choose A Scalable Business Model
Once you have identified what kind of scalable business model is right for your company, start thinking about the options available to you, such as launching a membership website or creating an online course.
A membership site is one popular scalable business model for online coaches and consultants. This model gives members exclusive access to training resources and other tools for a low monthly fee. And since your time is spent creating and coordinating scheduled content, it is easy to scale this type of business.
While it is impossible to avoid all operational growing pains as you scale your business, there are some key areas where you can improve your processes now to speed up and smooth out the process later.
Before you move forward, it is essential to reflect on your growth so far and focus on necessary changes. You likely got to where you are now, thanks to an entrepreneurial spirit.
Do not let that spirit die just because you have achieved some level of success. Instead, turn your attention outward and expand your business in a way that suits your new size and goals. Keeping these five steps in mind while tackling your growth will position you for future success as a scalable firm.