As the saying goes, "If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there." It's impossible to create a growth strategy without first (1) defining what growth means to you and (2) clarifying exactly what you want to achieve.
Actually, the right word is not impossible but useless. What is your plan of action supposed to achieve, and why? If you can't answer that, there's really no point in strategizing anything.
During the last few days I wrote about the first point, defining success (here and here). So let's talk about clarifying what you want to achieve. Documenting your vision.
Based on my previous experiences, many branding and strategy consultants rush this process. To be clear: It's not a matter of time invested in the process. Some firms manage to convince clients they need months-long workshops to clarify a vision. While that might be true for Fortune 100 corporations, it makes no sense whatsoever for solo or micro consultancies. You can (and probably should) craft your vision in a single day.
When I say many consultants rush the process, what I mean is they the cart before the horse. They get too specific, too soon. And this creates mental boundaries of what the consultancy can or can't do in the future, which reflects limiting beliefs of the founders and partners.
That's why I recommend you do to divide the work into two. First, you create a "zoomed-out" vision for your business. Then, you document it in detail in a "zoomed-in", or official vision statement.
Your "Zoomed-Out" Vision
Your "zoomed-out" vision is a high-level description of where you want to take your consultancy. It should answer:
- How big do you want your consulting business to become in the next 2-5 years, in terms of revenue, profit, and employees?
- What is your primary driver for achieving your mission? Will you focus on prioritizing flexibility and fun, or building wealth and maximizing impact?
- Imagine your business 3 years from now - what is the role you want to play in the consultancy?
Instead of providing absolute numbers or measures, use ranges. Remember the goal here is not to paint a portrait with so many details it looks real. Is to create a first sketch that allows you to add other elements and use different colors later.
Putting Thoughts Into Paper
This exercise cannot happen in your head. You need to put your thoughts into paper - we gain clarity through articulation. I have two resources that can help you do that.
First, attending one of my boutique's journey workshops. Every founder or consulting partner thinks that their vision and ambitions are unique, but when we look at data we discovered the journey is way more predictable than we think. In it, I present the 3 vision concepts most consultancy founders end up attracted to. It's free, and you can check the next dates here.
Second, journaling. I've put together this spreadsheet with 10 questions you can use as a starting point. Feel free to make a copy and fill it out online, or simply print it for brainstorming.