What is your new consulting business (or new contracting business) about for you? What do you want it to become?
A Choice You Make When Starting A New Business
Many a new business is founded on a great idea that addresses a niche in the market and hence provides a really good opportunity for financial success. However, many people haven’t got the heart for all the risks sometimes associated with funding and bankrolling a start-up until it carries itself and then starts generating cash, right?
And so, I’ve experienced that many people prefer the “contracting or consulting business” route. They set themselves up as a “one person band” and sell their expertise to a defined audience; those customers need their skills and experience to make certain problems go away. It is this category of new business that I wish to address today.
Don’t get me wrong, the individual consulting business model also needs cash to keep its owner afloat until the income gathers sufficient momentum. But it is usually more manageable than the risk of a payroll and other necessary investments attached to a more conventional business (what I call “real” business). In my experience, many such individual initiatives come off the back of a redundancy payout; or from a sustained process of having saved the pile of cash necessary to carry the early months or years.
You Can’t afford The Risk Of Complacency….
And this is exactly where I see a latent risk emerging. One I have personally experienced and seen so many times when mentoring new business owners.
Because of the “pile of cash”, there can be a real risk of Complacency in that “we’re doing OK”; and you don’t feel really pushed or even motivated to perform. This can manifest in a lack of Urgency because it’s hard to be hungry when you have a full tummy. “So what if I don’t address that issue this week or this month? There’s always next week or next month”.
Or Your New Consulting Business Will Remain Stuck
And before we know it, another year has passed. Our consulting business is stuck. And instead of celebrating some runs on the board, we feel regret and even guilt. Unfortunately such emotions aren’t usually the stuff that makes for much enthusiasm and inspiration. And so we find ourselves in a negative energy situation; we first have to overcome it before we can build positive momentum on top of it again. Somewhat like when a team is behind after the first innings in test cricket and first has to get back to even scores before building towards any lead.
I’m sure many of you reading this will remember this game of “hokey pokey”, where we put the front foot forward that says: “I am”, only to find a little later that we’re actually on our back foot saying: ”I’m actually not”. And so we play this exhausting game rocking backwards and forwards between the two, rather than actually just doing what we really want to do. (Which if you don’t have a really solid “why”, is met within our Self Talk by the sarcastic quip: “really?”)
This is the phase I still call a business to being a “hobby”. And that usually needs an external third party to draw attention to it. Trust me, hearing that (albeit true) observation from a spouse doesn’t work, does it?
From The “Hobby Rut” To Serious Business
So how can we prevent this very typical occurrence in many new business ventures, and in particular a new consulting business?
- First and foremost in my opinion, we need to have a strong sense of purpose driving our initiative. Your “why”. This is what Simon Sinek addresses so well in his famous Why – How – What TED talk. A reason that inspires us into leaping out of bed irrespective of any obstacles or whether there are any results on the board yet or not. This can be supported by a vision for the business that is often captured in a business plan.
- Secondly, you’d want to have real solid goals underpinning what needs to be achieved to fulfil your aspirations. Results goals that map out the expected outcomes and activity goals that have us doing each day, each week, each month and each quarter what will help us achieve the results goals.
In Want to Turbocharge Your Goals? I outline how by setting a goal, we increase the likelihood of an outcome by 6%. By writing it down, that goes to over 20%. By sharing that written goal with someone else, the likelihood of success goes to over 50%; and by having someone hold us accountable, it goes to over 85%. This is not rocket science. It just works.
- And then we need to have a plan (see Why Does Planning Seem So Hard For So Many?). One we believe is realistic and possible, albeit has some stretch in it. In my blog post Last Gasp Chance On Your 2014 Goals? I outline how to set up such a plan that enables us to drive and monitor what has to be done to get what we want.
Get Help To Make The Change
I trust that you can relate to this. And if this may (still) be true for you, irrespective how long you’ve been trying, here is my greatest advice I can give you: Find someone that has been there and gone through that. Someone that is able to mentor you through this. So that you and your consulting business can enjoy a satisfying success.
My recommendation is to call someone in The Network Of Consulting Professionals, whether you’re an existing member of The NCP, a prospect or a client of a member, and have them help you through this. Why? Because we really do take your (and our) success personally.