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The Consultancy Growth Network

What to do if you’re over-reliant on a single client

If a single client accounts for more than 15% of your consultancy’s revenue, this puts your business at risk of having to adapt to a sudden change in revenue if circumstances change with that client. This is especially true when you consider that 40% of consultancies have 3 months or less of the total business cost as cash in the bank.*

Only one in five consulting firms are in this ‘<15% club’.

So we have compiled a list of strategies suggested by our Growth Experts to mitigate the risk of over-reliance on one client.

Invest in your new business strategy

  • Free up your best revenue generators from delivery commitments within major clients 
  • Leverage referrals to get senior-level introductions into other organisations and follow them when they leave 
  • Publicise the results you are getting to attract new prospects into your sales funnel 
  • Set up dedicated resources focused on the delivery of separate new business targets
  • Build strategic partnerships to gain access to a broader range of clients 
  • Skew sales incentives towards the winning of new large, target clients  
  • Make it a strategic priority to join the <15% club; engage the whole team, measure progress and celebrate success 
  • Build a list of who could become your next large client and create shadow teams to monitor and target them

Minimise the risk of losing your biggest client

  • As an owner, retain senior relationships but extract yourself from delivery 
  • Access different departmental budgets  
  • Lengthen the term of your contract with healthy termination clauses 
  • Retain a strong margin not allowing them to bully you on price 
  • Enter awards and develop detailed case studies that make you and your client look good 
  • Tighten employment contracts with senior employees that own high-value relationships 
  • Develop multi-layered relationships with stakeholders, particularly procurement 
  • Gather regular NPS feedback and act on it 
  • Offer value “off the clock” – e.g. lunch and learn sessions on valuable insights 
  • Create opportunities for your major client to meet with prospective new clients 
  • Involve your clients in proposition development to solve their greatest challenges
  • Develop joint account plans with your client 
  • Ensure your teams pass the ‘birthday present’ test 
  • Do internal PR within your client organisation to continuously demonstrate and advertise value delivered, so you are not perceived as a cost

Build your reserves

One day your client will turn off the tap. So avoid distributing all profits to partners and build your reserves to buy you some time in case your investment in sales and marketing needs longer to pay off.

* Data from Consultancy BenchPress

Article | FinancialStrategy and leadership

Written by

Ali El Moghraby

Head of Marketing

The Consultancy Growth Network