Driving Top Line and Equity Value


When it comes to landing deals, sales don’t come much bigger than selling your own consultancy business. However when you first go it alone, whether that’s because you were made redundant or just felt you could do things a lot more efficiently than others in your sector, selling your business won’t be at the forefront of your mind.

However many of the factors that will enable you to grow your business in the first few years are also those that will make it a lot more attractive to potential buyers. In this blog we identify areas that will not only enable you to

Reduce your reliance on personal networks

When you first strike out on your own, most of the business you generate will come from existing relationships – this could be clients that would rather work with you than your previous employer or referrals from your biggest advocates.

Now this source of business will certainly help you get up and running but, as we know from working with consultancy businesses of all sizes, this is not sustainable in the long term.

Not only is this an unpredictable pipeline you have little control over but it raises a red flag to potential buyers – what they are looking for is a business that has a sustainable pipeline of leads and isn’t over reliant on specific individuals, networks or partners.


Take an entrepreneurial approach to consultancy

So regardless of the maturity of your business, whether you are just starting out or preparing for sale, you need to have a consistent lead generation system in place.

And to consistently and effectively generate leads you need to know:

  • Exactly who you are targeting
  • Exactly what problem, or pain point, you are solving
  • How you are different/can provide better value than your competitors.

A mistake individuals often make when setting up a consultancy business is making their competency, what they feel they can offer the market, the launchpad.

However, we recommend taking an “entrepreneurial approach”. Rather than adopting a mindset of “I have a wealth of skills and experience that could help benefit businesses in my sector in a number of ways” identify specific gaps in the market that you could fill – get out and understand what customers are really struggling with and how you can provide a solution.

By stepping into the shoes of the customer you can develop a compelling proposition which truly resonates with the target audience and drives business.


Offer niche consultancy services

There’s a Russian proverb that “when you try and catch two rabbits, you catch none”. When running your own company, it can be tempting to offer every service that you think might bring in leads. You may think that by offering a small number of niche solutions, or by focussing on a specific industry you are missing out on potential business.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We have seen many examples where consultancies have massively increased their turnover by switching from a generalist approach to targeting a specific industry.

An integral part of this process is developing a core value proposition that explains what your company does, for specific customers and what the expected results are. An example might be “we help insurance companies deliver new products to market inside 60 days.”

Not only does this massively improve your prospecting but it also makes your business attractive to potential buyers. Large consultancies often identify potential acquisitions because the target company offers functionality, competency or capability they don’t have, or access to a sector they have been unable to break into.

Speaking during our recent webinar: “Driving Top-line Growth Whilst Building Equity Value: Building Your Business for Sale”, Marc Jantzen founder of the Consultancy Growth Network, said: “Once you got your value proposition, you really need to be able to convey that in a compelling way – what you do, how you do it and why it’s different and why people should buy from you. And in an ideal world, you want your whole team to be able to articulate that.”


Have written processes in place

It’s an adage that if you take yourself, or any other individual out of your business and it falls over, then it’s not really a business. Regardless of how many employees you have, the only way you can scale a company is by documenting your procedures and limiting the reliance on individuals.

However, in a recent survey held during one of our webinars, 61% of consultants revealed they didn’t have a clearly defined and embedded sales process.

This is critically important when negotiating the sale of your business. Acquiring firms obviously want to limit any risk. And a glaring warning sign is if sales and revenue are impacted if critical members of the organisation are focussed on selling the business.

A potential buyer wants to see that the organisation can achieve consistent growth through the processes, rather than the individuals, that are embedded in the firm.


Find out more

To learn more about how you can prepare your consultancy firm for acquisition take a look at our recent webinar “Driving Top-line Growth Whilst Building Equity Value: Building Your Business for Sale”, where you can hear expert advice from our partner Marc Jantzen founder of the Consultancy Growth Network.

To talk to us more, please get in touch by emailing info@sbrconsulting.com or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.

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