As a consultant, you are probably well-versed on identifying problems in other people’s businesses. But what about your own? If you are an independent consultant, there are going to be many times when you need help to keep things running as smoothly as possible. We’re going to look at four of the most common factors that you should be looking out for. As you become more successful, you will need to address these issues.
Your customer service levels are slipping
OK, so you have started to grow your customer base and are now almost booked out for the next couple of weeks. However, with all of your time needing to be spent focusing on your current clients, how are you going to be around when potential customers call? Sure, you can get back to them if they leave a message, but by that time, they could have found someone else. At this point, it should be obvious that you need help. Try using a live answering service or a call center, instead. They will be able to take your calls and rank them in order, which should take the pressure off you. And, most importantly, it will improve your overall customer service.
Your non-client work is taking up time
Everyone understands the fact that time is money in business. And the simple fact is that when you’re a consultant, the time you spend with your clients is where you’ll make most of your money. So when the time comes when you are spending too long on your bookkeeping, marketing and website maintenance, it’s going to cost you. Outsource those tasks instead. Yes, it will cost you money, but it will also enable you to concentrate on making more. It can be hard to let go of your business sometimes, but the financial rewards are there for all to see.
You have seasonal cycles
Most businesses go through seasonal cycles of some kind. Retailers make almost half their annual profits in the run-up and the aftermath of Christmas. Accountants take on a tremendous amount of work leading up to tax returns day. And, if you are consulting to any of these businesses, it’s probably the same for you, too. The trouble is, can you fit it all in If not, it could be worth sharing the load. You could hire a temporary worker to help you manage your workload better or think about a virtual assistant. You could even partner with another consultant in your industry to cover more available work. The main thing to remember is that during those seasonal phases, you’re going to make most of your money. And if you don’t have the manpower to rely on, you’re going to miss out.
You run into unsolvable problems
No matter how long you have been a consultant for, there will be times when you find an unsolvable problem. When that happens, who are you going to call? You should have a big book of contacts that covers every area that your industry covers. They should be reliable people that you have built up good relationships with, and who can come and help you out with things that aren’t in your remit. Your contacts book is what will separate you from being a great consultant and an average one.
Thanks for reading, and let us know how you get on.