One vital question for anyone establishing or trying to grow a consultancy is ‘how do we generate a regular stream of new business?’ – you can’t simply rely on good luck and a sunny disposition. One of the best guides I’ve read on this topic is “Making Lead Generation Work for Professional Services” (registration required for download), by Mike Schultz of the Wellesley Hills Group. He makes a lot of good points – for example, define what your objectives are; provide value to prospective clients before they become your clients; use a range of integrated marketing tactics. The message is that if you adopt a systematic and repeatable approach to generating new business, and execute it correctly, you’ll benefit from the results.
Mike Schultz also has his own blog, and I found a recent post thought-provoking. He has been asked to prepare the curriculum for a possible new MBA course on marketing professional services. He has begun developing a reading list and has asked readers to contribute their own suggestions. Showing admirable business acumen, the first recommended title is his own, but he goes on to list a range of further reading that I find very interesting. For example, he recommends the Harvard Business Review case study “McKinsey and Company (A): 1956″. This made me think – how many recently established consultancies or professional services firms are thinking in terms of becoming the new McKinsey? What’s required to create that kind of organization, to enable it to grow while transmitting a recognisable corporate ethos to all new employees? I think I’ll start working my way through the reading list to see if I can find out.