Consultants hate to turn down opportunities. A new interesting project outside your field, a quick engagement with a company that is not in your industry, implementing a set of actions you never did before. Our curiosity (at least for established consulting firms) pushes us to say yes to all of them.
Counterintuitively, closing the door to these is exactly what we need to grow our consulting businesses.
When you choose a specialization, you are publicly declaring you will not work for everyone and anyone. By taking clients outside of your niche you are not only eroding your credibility, but serving companies that won't help you build the relationships and reputation you seek. There's no compounding in it.
When you document your methodology and create unique offerings for your target audience, you highlight where your expertise lies. Selling custom engagements that are not in your circle of competence is a recipe to undermine your own career. You add risk to your reputation by making marketing promises you're not confident you can deliver.
If you have extra capacity, there are many better ways to invest your time in:
- Business development and marketing initiatives.
- Development of IP, and content creation.
- Self-development through continuous learning.
- Building and improving your business systems.
- Coaching or mentoring colleagues and staff.
If you're not investing in any of those items, your firm will eventually hit a ceiling. You can either pursue long-term growth or make quick money in the short term. But you can't do both at once.
Your time, energy, and attention are limited. Act accordingly.