Some consultants experience a feast and famine cycle year in, year out. Yet they’ve done nothing to change. They want a silver bullet, some kind of mystical sales system to solve the problem. But, like so many issues, the cause stems from within.
Listening to consultants speak, I’ve found four attitudes that support the feast and famine cycle:
- I’ll make hay while the sun shines. Which means always putting fee-earning work before business development activities.
- My clients come first. Which means that sacrificing future income becomes acceptable.
- It’s just how things are in consultancy. Which means living with lumpy workflow and income.
- I don’t like to be selling all the time. Which means a huge sigh of relief, because project delivery gives a breather away from ‘nasty’ sales.
It’s almost like they are playing an all or nothing game. And it doesn’t have to be like that. Consider this alternative set of attitudes and then think about the habits and behaviours they might lead to:
- I’m in the business of building a consultancy. Which means I schedule time for exceptional delivery and time box my business development activities too.
- My clients need me to be successful. Which means my clients want me to be around for future projects, they don’t want me reliant on them, but neither do they want me to fail, or be poor.
- Business development is my responsibility. Because nobody else is going to do selling, marketing, and strategy work for me. Good selling brings in a steady stream of work, not projects that overwhelm our capacity.
- I’m not an order taker. Which means accepting that influencing and persuading clients to make good decisions is part of a consultants job. It’s at the very start of what I do, helping client’s succeed.
Adjusting attitudes in this way isn’t always easy, but it is possible. And, if you feel a change in your attitude would eliminate feast and famine please ask me about our mentoring services.
The bottom line
Get real: Don’t accept feast and famine as a reality you have to live with. It isn’t.
Get prepared: Figure out how you’ll contract with clients – so that delivery work doesn’t leave you time starved.
Get savvy: Neglecting business development can cost you considerably more than the profit on your current work.
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