Building Sustainable Business Scale

Heiner Karst

from one-man band to satisfactory business scale

If you’re a single-person-type business consultant, who has chosen not to build your own business around employing others, how do you reach a satisfactory business scale nonetheless?

The One Man Band Consulting Path

I have coached many corporate executives through transitioning into the setup and running of their own business. One key consideration in all of the business thinking, modelling and planning is the type and structure of the business they wish to create. Often supported by a (sometimes very large) redundancy payout, which would enable the funding of a business that can bankroll the right choice of specialist and generalist skills, many nonetheless simply prefer to “go out on their own”. As a “one man band” (if you’ll pardon the blatant political incorrectness of that term). Why? Well, I was no different and I have found my reasoning quite prevalent amongst many of these corporate backgrounds.

  • "Been there – done that" features quite prominently.
  • "Built all the empire’s I want, thanx", is another.
  • "Sick and tired of all the wasteful personal agendas and the politics" is another favourite response.
  • "I just want to be able to do my own thing – my way and have some fun doing so" comes up a lot too.

And so – at least initially – many have a go at “contracting” to find their feet and get some insights into what they like and dislike and also what seems to work more easily for them. As I did.

Hitting The Ceiling Or Going Further?

And after about 2 years I realised that while this worked and I was “making a quid”, it was simply too repetitively "more of the same". I reflected hard and took the plunge to focus all my attention on executive coaching and business mentoring and got myself trained and certified as an executive life coach and accredited as a business mentor. And I’m so glad I did. Why? Because for the last 10+ years I have been doing what I was born to do. I just love it. But there was a catch. No matter how good my marketing and networking was or is, it’s all up to me. The day only has 24 hours. And yes, you can include your lunch-hour, but that still isn’t enough. There is a clear limit to what scale can be achieved on your own, no matter how good your rate. Scale is achieved through the involvement of others. So how do you do that without employing people? Well, networking isn’t the answer. I am an avid networker and have taught many others to become damned good networkers also. And yes it certainly helps to find and win new clients. But you can only network so much, because you can only serve so many clients yourself, right?

A Proven Recipe For Sustainable Business Scale

You can do it by "Association", but not just any "association". The world is littered with stories of “failed partnerships”, many ending in extremely acrimonious, legally messy and costly separations. You’ll get some right. And you’ll get some wrong. Only time tells which each one it develops into. No matter how experienced we are. I can sense each of you reading this nodding knowingly, right? Whether you experienced that yourself, or know someone who did.I found that you can achieve effective business scaling by working in true collaboration with others. And the recipe includes 3 ingredients:

  1. You find the right trusted players with whom to work: Like-minded consultants, advisers and coaches who complement what you do, without competing against you
  2. And you follow proven processes to build business
  3. Finally, you nurture those relationships by adding value to each other as well as to your clients

Finding How To Build Business Scale More Easily

I found a business scale solution very early in my “one-man band” journey, one that

  1. Gives me trusted "partners", and easy to manage relationships
  2. Helps me add more value to my clients,
  3. Strengthens my own relationship my clients over extended periods,
  4. Allows me and my partners to work on projects that we would not get alone
  5. Enables us to develop uniquely integrated offers that are cost and time efficient
  6. Supports me with proven processes
  7. Keeps me free to run my business as I like to do it

Feeling The Confidence To Drive Forward

For over 10 years I’ve been part of a group of coaches and advisors who enjoy working together and achieve more than they could on their own, all without losing their "freedom" and authenticity. Our experiences and passions complement each other, we have both a common ground AND individual brand stories.The group has become a trusted source of scale for my business. Why? Well, I can comfortably build business relationships, and know very confidently that whatever I am unable, or unwilling, to personally provide for a client requirement, I can find a solution for it within my network. It has become an extension of my value proposition to every one of my clients. And there is little or no risk. There is no way any one of us would jeopardise our own reputation, or that of another member, by referring a “dill” with the wrong attitude or lacking skills. Everybody loses when that happens. And I can tell you that those very few that looked like they could fall into this “dill” category didn’t last. Plus, before anyone joins the group, our extensive interviews weed out those who might struggle to meet the standards.Today I know that I can confidently create as much scale for my business as I need. I have a healthy network of highly experienced senior business people, all carefully selected and accredited. We develop effective informal and flexible partnerships as required by our clients needs. Additionally, we have simple stress-free formulas for revenue sharing and proven processes to build win-win-win solutions that our clients value. So we can run our businesses for ourselves and not just by ourselves. We make increasing our business scale possible for all of us.

Are You Ready To Plan For Your Desired Business Scale?

Are you’re considering setting up your own business or have you been consulting on your own for a while, but aren’t earning what you want, or finding enough work to keep you happy? Then consider the opportunity to join people who know how to build business scale. In an organisation where we all truly “take your success personally”. Why can I say that? Because in helping you succeed, my clients and I succeed even better. If you’re good enough, why not contact us and find out?"

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