Key Takeaway: In this presentation, “I Wanna Be Rich: Making Your Consultancy Profitable“, Russ Jones shares being a master of SEO doesn't guarantee that your consultancy will succeed. Russ discusses how agencies will weather the next update and lay out techniques to keep your clients and bottom-line happy.
It's More than Marketing
Most businesses believe in an entrepreneurial economy, people who are proficient in their skill decide to run businesses, but being a great marketer won’t make your business a success.
Russ Jones breakdowns why 65% of businesses fail in the first five years and what can be done to not be one of them.
In order to make your consultancy profitable, the formula is simple, but the decisions are tough.
The number one way it to cut costs:
- Find the right balance between a traditional and modern staffing model. Do you need more full time roles or can the tasks be accomplished by a subcontractor? According to one study, Russ cites that 83% of businesses that decreased employee size found that valuable to their company. Does this mean go fire your entire staff? No, consider what future roles can be staffed by a contractor and PM. Remember: Treat contractors with the same degree of care and pay them well!
- With remote work more prevalent and rent the second largest percentage of expenses, evaluate the costs going into your office space. According to one study, Russ cites that 85% of businesses find it beneficial going fully remote. Remember: Don’t discredit the importance of company culture and the mental health of your employees if weighing this option.
- No one is above the company, consider leadership changes. According to another study, Russ cites that 59% of companies that replaced leadership found it profitable.
- Don’t take on ad-hoc service lines based on client needs, instead focus on what you can master and create sub service lines based on that.
Finding New Ways to be Profitable
The second way to become profitable is to experiment, Russ shares recommendations:
- Identify new service lines that peak client interest and pair well with staff skill level, roll out several business lines at once, and monitor the performance of each. Over time drop the under-performing pilot lines and continue to optimize and refine the steady performing service line.
- Politely and thoughtfully, raise prices. Here’s how:
- Invest: Announce early that prices will go up in the future, cost of biz increased
- Inculcate: If customer is tight on budget, grandfather them in for a while
- Impress: Push value proposition - higher price = more value
- Improve: Deliver better product
Leaning into Automation
There are ways for your business to become profitable without making drastic changes to your business.
Automation is one of them:
- Take advantage of the tools you already have and don’t discredit even the basic level of automation
- Connect the sources you already own and use
- Think about the steps, strategies and techniques you’ll employ and build automation on top of
- Move from mimic human tasks to doing things better than humans do
Never Stop Acquiring New Business
Outreach is key, never stop acquiring new business. Russ shares a few tactics on how:
- Participate: Get involved online (Quora, Reddit, Webmaster community). Using the same username and description across platforms, provide thoughtful answers and information to your industry members.
- Practice: Build a great reputation while developing new skills by volunteering your time with nonprofits.
- Program: Create tools and resources.
- Publish: Create content around your resources, engage and interact with thought leaders.
- The Hook: Build trust and avoid pricing games. Russ stresses the importance of not being afraid to walk away from an underpaying job.
What Russ’s presentation boiled down to is you have to compete, being good at something is no longer good enough.
The reality is most companies don’t experiment until it’s too late. Try new things because you want to not just when you need to.
“If you experiment only when you have to, you’re gonna fail. But If you experiment now, when you can and don’t wait until you must, chances are you’re gonna grow and succeed and beat out your competitors.”