Bootstrapping a Knowledge Consulting Practice
Thinking about doing some consulting? Looking for ways to expand your consultancy? Here’s 13 strategies and tips for turbocharging your practice.
Know Thy Customer
- Who is your customer and what are they buying?
- How will the buying decision be made?
- How important and essential is your solution?
- Can they pay (or will you need to help them find a way to pay)?
Advance Thy Brand
- Position yourself as an impact-focused expert.
- Run a thought leadership blog.
- Pitch yourself as a conference speaker.
- Define lines of business, brand typical deliverables (training, research, planning).
- Look for repeatable revenue streams to reduce your cost of sales.
- Send a regular email blast; build a community around your value-add.
- Run short thought leadership campaigns (blogs, reports, webinars, podcasts) on emerging topics.
Always Be Selling
- Everyone selling everywhere all the time.
- Hone your pitch.
- Tell customer stories (or better yet, let customers tell your story).
Invest In Tools
- Invest time in building a great contact database.
- Build and manage a sales funnel.
- An attractive functional website is a must
- Pick a couple social media channels—you don’t need to be everywhere but you need to do what you do well (see Getting Smart on Social Media)
Leverage Part-time Consultants
- When bootstrapping you always have too much work or too much capacity
- A group of part-time consultants gives you some extensible capacity
- Content: blogs become papers and presentations
- Proposals and reports: build and save templates that you can reuse
- Pick a simple logo and color scheme; use it everywhere (web, proposals, collateral) consistently
Nice But Cheap
- Attractive and unusual cards are worth it
- Brochures are usually a waste
Ask For More
- Share a big vision for impact
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more
- If not a nonprofit or if you haven’t received IRA c3 designation, it can be helpful to have a nonprofit partner. While many foundations use contracts to advance their charitable agenda, it can be useful to have a partner that can solicit and participate in grant -funded activities.
What would you add to this list? Comment below and tweet me, @tvanderark.
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