A Day In The Life Of An Overworked Consultant
It’s early in the morning, and you roll out of bed. You take 20 minutes to exercise and grab a protein shake, when your day really begins.
Open your email and start prospecting. Rush to your first of four meetings with clients and potential clients. Through the dizzying buzz of a typical day, you barely have time to eat, as you manage your own website and marketing, your content delivery, and plan for your customer’s needs. By the time the day has flown by, you drop into bed knowing that you have four hours before you start it all over again tomorrow.
Whether you’re a single consultant building a niche consulting boutique or you’re part of a big consulting firm, this is the busy day you often face. You’re running from one activity to another, marketing your consulting expertise, prospecting clients, and working with current clients. You often don’t have time for planning or reflection.
When Less Is More
No matter the size of your organization, there is a limit to the time your team has in each day. Many consultants are great at helping their clients outsource key non-core activities, scheduling, and creating for others a business that is focused and cutting edge.
But consultants rarely have time to do the same things for themselves. Your business involves helping other businesses manage their operations and planning, but your own time management is lacking in both your business life and your personal life. Often, the important activities of planning, rest, and recovery all get put to the side when you invest all of your time working.
That’s why it’s important to remember that sometimes, you must sell less to sell better. When you have the energy and focus you need, you can build great product funnels and create value for your clients. You’ll have the space to engage each customer at full capacity.
Build A Consulting Business That Allows You To Focus On Your Strengths
Most of the consulting industry is ruled by large firms, and many medium-sized consulting firms are just vying for the right to be bought out by the larger firms. How are smaller consulting firms to compete?
For consultants wanting to break into the market, it is important to utilize the power of networking with consultant brokers. These are the firms that work with executive search committees to find the right consultant for different jobs. The brokers can review your consulting goals and achievements, and match up clients’ and consultants’ price points, expertise, and needs.
This model of networking and business building creates an opportunity to specialize in the areas you are most passionate about, to charge the right amount per customer, and to grow your business through providing excellent service to each and every customer. Focused consulting gives you the ability to create happy customers. And the only way to do focused consulting is with a less-is-more attitude.
With this disruptive strategy added to your business plan, you’ll reduce the time spent on bringing awareness to your potential clients and instead focus on delighting them with excellent consulting.
Know When To Outsource
There are many situations in which it makes better sense for you to outsource. By outsourcing the right tasks, you’ll free up your time to grow your business, to increase your productivity, and concentrate on doing quality work for your current clients.
Hire others to take care of low value-added tasks — those tasks that are not essential to what you do, and that are easy to delegate. Delegate tasks like day-to-day office responsibilities. And don’t be afraid to hire a subcontractor or refer to a broker, if you’re consulting in an area in which you don’t have the expertise.
Knowing when to outsource and when to delegate is an important part of freeing up your time to be more productive.
Network, Outsource, And Reinvigorate Your Business
As “no” becomes an answer you can afford to give clients, you can also afford to say “no” to urgent activities that are not key to your business focus.
Focusing on how to deliver high-quality service to the right people gives you the freedom to outsource your marketing and PR activities to others. As you outsource the activities that used to fill up your schedule, you’ll have more time to focus on reinvigorating your business — and yourself.
The following benefits will flow naturally out of a focused business plan with proper outsourcing:
- You’ll Be Better At What You Do. Ultimately, you’ll positively impact your bottom line. You’ll have the time to build an excellent reputation for yourself, you’ll acquire experience and become a reference in your field. With the ability to give more valuable advice, you’ll be able to price your fees accordingly.
- More Time For Professional Development. Every Stay up-to-date and current in your field. Allow yourself the time to read and write articles, attend conferences, and become a knowledgeable resource for others.
- More Time To Strategize. Each activity you do can be improved, but you don’t always have the time to examine the best way to improve your work. Taking the time to strategize is necessary. Figure out how something can be improved and really think about the answer.
- More Time With Your Clients. When your business life is made up of constantly clamoring for more and more clients, your current customers can easily be left by the wayside. Analyze how your current customers can better be served, and build a relationship with them. By strategizing, you can take the time to let your consulting product grow naturally through the rest and restart cycles of organic growth.
- Time to Expand. Expanding your business can actually be detrimental if you don’t have the time to reflect on how changes are impacting current best practices. You must plan how to integrate an expanding business with your current consulting passion, and plan out the who, what, when, where, and how of your expansion plans.
And ultimately, you’ll have more time for yourself! But we think you know what to do with that.
Author: Helene Laffitte
Civil Engineer by training (Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees), our CEO has held several Executive positions in Operations, R&D, and Procurement and Industrial Strategy for one of the biggest Energy Companies in the world. She left Europe for the US in 2011, and, after completing an MBA at Columbia Business School, launched her 1st consulting practice. After exchanging with peers and customers, she launched Consulting Quest, a global performance-driven consulting service platform. “The idea, at first, was to provide disruptive solutions for both clients and providers. I combined the experiences of my co-founder and mine to start Consulting Quest, a disruptive start-up that leverages big data to improve the performance for both clients and consultants.”