Like most owners of smaller consulting businesses, Marc Jantzen had big ambitions for his firm. He worked very hard and he got lots of things right. But he also got things wrong. He sought out advisors to help him make the right decisions. But it was hard to find people who really understood the challenges he was facing. And he craved the opportunity to share ideas with other owners of consulting businesses who were in the same boat as him.
Closing the gap
Owners of consulting businesses want broader access to mentors with different specialisms to advise them on niche issues. They want more help finding new business. They want targeted introductions to suppliers who know consulting inside out. And they want to find out how they are performing compared to similar businesses so that they can see how to grow faster and more efficiently.
Marc spent 2019 gathering support for a community that could offer all those things. After much research and planning, in January 2020 Marc launched The Consultancy Growth Network. It’s a peer community specifically for consulting business owners turning over up to £20m and now has nearly 100 members.
The collective mindset
Central to the network is its panel of expert advisors, all of whom have a wealth of experience growing consulting businesses and advising consulting business owners specifically. Dom Moorhouse is one of them. Dom built his consultancy to £20m in 5 years and is now an author, coach, NED and angel investor.
“Exposure to the views of peers and different experts, who importantly don’t always agree, is critical if you want to find the path that gets you to where you want to be quickly,” says Dom. “Regular interactions with those on the same journey as you not only help you realise you’re not alone, which is hugely valuable, but they also give you timely access to practical insights and advice that you can implement the next day”.
Members of the network also get access to client introductions through the Network’s referral forums. And an annual calendar of networking workshops, interactive webinars, open forums and more introduces them to niche suppliers with deep experience in the consulting industry. They include specialists in resourcing, finance, sales, marketing, operations and law.
Unique access to specialist providers
Caroline Boston is one such supplier. She runs New Minds, a recruitment and talent solutions business that specialises in supporting growing consultancies. “Smaller consultancy firms have unique challenges when it comes to recruiting talent,” explains Caroline. “It’s fantastic to be able to share our insights and experience with ambitious leaders of growing firms so they can grow faster and more efficiently. And, the Network has a really special feel to it – it’s a safe environment where everyone can be honest about their issues knowing that others are likely seeking similar solutions.”
Each year the Network releases it’s Consultancy BenchPress survey which enables consulting owners to benchmark their KPIs against similar firms to learn where to make improvements in how they run their business. The survey is the first and largest of its kind in the UK founder-led consulting market.
“The Consultancy Growth Network is the community I needed when I was growing my business”, says Marc. “It would have made a huge difference to how fast we grew, how profitable we were, how effective my sales and marketing were and, probably most importantly, how often I lifted myself out of the business to work on it, not in it.”
Giving back to the community
Marc, Dom and many others involved in the network know how much of a slog it is to grow your own consulting business. Marc’s mission is to turn that slog into an adventure. “There’s plenty of work to go around”, he says, “so I’m thrilled to support those coming on the journey after me by providing a platform where they can share their experiences and ideas in a safe and collaborative environment. And learn from the best in the industry along the way.”
Previous events have involved discussions on topics such as attracting and hiring talent, improving sales performance, productisation, building an operations team, succession planning and investment decisions.
Article | Network News
Ali El Moghraby
Head of Marketing
The Consultancy Growth Network