As an independent Salesforce consultant, how do you know if your consulting business has entered its growth stage?
If you have a consistent project workflow and motivation to scale, that’s all you need to start taking your business to new heights.
The key to scaling a growth-stage Salesforce consultancy
Proactive planning is key to scaling your consulting business sustainably. Think of it like trying to fix a leaky roof during the rainy season — it’s all about avoiding a sticky situation that forces you to make reactionary decisions. Building a growth plan on the fly could significantly stress already established project work and client relationships and potentially impact your bottom line.
Prioritizing growth strategies may feel like a chicken or egg scenario, but some low-risk moves and plans can help you prepare your business for sustainable growth. Here are five proven strategies to scale an early or growth-stage Salesforce consultancy:
Strengthen your online presence
Your brand should quickly answer what makes someone want to hire you, work with you, or for you.
The low-hanging fruit is getting your personal LinkedIn profile in order. Ensure you have a strong, concise headline and a compelling solutions-focused summary positioning you as a Salesforce expert. It also pays to invest in a professionally taken headshot.
An active and compelling LinkedIn persona will aid in team building and/or hiring subcontractors, advocating for your work, and networking. However, LinkedIn isn’t the end-all-be-all for promoting your company.
Expand your consultancy’s reach and cement legitimacy with a dedicated website. Check out this success story from 10K Expert Michael Brandwein. He saw an opportunity to grow and differentiate his business through original content.
Michael partnered with an agency to brand his consulting business and build a website. One way he amplifies his consultancy’s voice and thought leadership is through blog content that speaks to his target customers’ pain points.
His consulting website is simple, professional, and effective in that it provides another avenue to promote and position himself as a Salesforce expert. Branding and business development is a long game, but building brand trust and loyalty pays off.
Create thought leadership content to broadcast your value as a Salesforce expert
Salesforce is a massive ecosystem with scores of talent and service offerings. To break through the noise, speak as an authority on what’s going on in your corner of the market.
There are many channels and content mediums to capitalize on. Whether it be LinkedIn posts, Medium articles, or blogs, publish your insights, hard-earned lessons, and resources to help your target customers. Further your reach and comment with your opinion on others’ LinkedIn posts, tweets, and blogs, and engage in any forum that complements your business message. This is an excellent tactic to build relationships and goodwill in the ecosystem.
Content is a long game. With consistency and time, your targeted messaging will build credibility and trust for your consulting business.
Partner with subcontractors that will deliver your vision
An overflowing project pipeline is an excellent problem to have. To keep pace with customer demand and uphold the quality of your deliverables, look to hire trusted subcontractors. It’s a faster and more cost-effective option than hiring full-time employees. Subcontractors also enable you to scale up and down nimbly and mitigate your risk as a company.
Treat subcontractors as an extension of you, your brand, and your work’s reputation. Look for reliable and vetted individuals, who have strengths that complement your weaknesses, and show passion for your business and clients. As the visionary for your consultancy (just like a CEO), it’s important to sell them on your vision.
Tap into your network for direct referrals. There are also independent consultant talent communities like 10K. This isn’t to say there’s zero risk—you should still ensure that your subcontractors are a good personality fit. Tapping into the 10K Expert Community to outsource strategically is a solid place to start.
Establish your contract model
Like finding your market niche, establishing a clearly defined contract model is key to nurturing growth. What your contract model looks like wholly depends on you – your goals, how you want to work, and the way you want to deliver your services.
Research the pros and cons of different project models – fixed price, fixed budget, time and materials, milestone pricing, etc. – and get clear on your service offerings and margins. Then structure your contracts accordingly.
Identifying the pre-conditions that are non-negotiables will guarantee you get to work the way you want. In other words, a defined contract model empowers you to leave “bad deals” on the table and only say ‘yes’ to clients that jive with your model.
Once you pick a lane for your consulting business, get comfortable and find security in it. It’s impossible to capture every client, and you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) be everything to everyone.
Operate with financial forecasting
- Limit risk
- Increase revenue opportunities
- Predict cash flow
Financial forecasting is a crucial exercise in scaling your business. It will arm you with the data necessary to make informed decisions that drive profitability.
Forecasts based on past and present data are used in various ways within a business. Try using it specifically to more accurately predict and plan for uncertainties, expenses, and revenue.
For example, before you hire subcontractors to take on more projects, it’s important to forecast how that expense will impact your bottom line. Your rates need to account for subcontractors, so the margins on a project make sense.
Be aware of cash flow, too, as most subcontractors will ask to be paid before your client pays you. It is better to manage toward that from the start so you don’t end up in a jam and compromise the relationship.
As an independent consultant, it’s time-consuming as is to manage the day-to-day overhead of running a business. If financial forecasting isn’t your strong point, use specialized software or engage a professional. Both options are great investments to improve your bottom line and peace of mind.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about scaling an independent Salesforce business, the team at 10K is available to talk through your questions. Contact us to get in touch with our team.