Implementing Business Model Changes To Your Consultancy

Three steps to put those ideas into practice.

This post is part of a series on consulting business model innovation.

During the last two weeks, we've been discussing business model innovation for boutique consultancies. Today it's the time to close this series. And to do that I'd like to answer a reader's question:

Hi Danilo. Absolutely love the Boutique Consulting Canvas, and have already set aside some time to go through it with my business partner to rethink our practice. Question: Once we identify issues or desired changes, how do you recommend we prepare to implement them?

Thank you for the question. Reviewing our business model review can feel a bit abstract, since we need to zoom out and distance ourselves from the consultancy as much as we can. But it's worth nothing if we don't put those changes into practice.

From my experience, implementation always needs to be tailored to each consultancy. Context matters a lot, and things that have no importance in one firm might be the source of all the execution problems in another. With that said, there are three activities I'd recommend to every consultancy.

  1. Break down changes into projects;
  2. Document and reallocate your resources;
  3. Add management best practices.

Break Down Changes Into Projects

Once you and your partners (if you have them) have reached a consensus and agreed on which business model changes you'd like to prioritize, you will probably get stuck. The work is simply too big and complex. You don't know where to start.

The science-backed answer is simple: Start small. And the best way to do it is to zoom in and start listing all of the initiatives that you'll likely need to implement to make that big change.

If your goal is to improve your value proposition by decreasing time to value, for example, you could include:

  • List existing offerings you want to review;
  • Identify the friction points that slow time to value in consulting, which might include onboarding, communication, project delivery, etc.;
  • Research or consult an advisor to identify ways to reduce or eliminate those friction points;
  • Prioritize changes based on cost, feasibility, client demand, or any other relevant factors;
  • Implement each change in your offering delivery;
  • Review your value propositions and marketing messaging to include the new benefits and differentiation drives.

This is a fast way to get unstuck and start moving forward.

Document And Reallocate Resources

To make changes and implement any new initiative in your consultancy you will need resources. This sounds obvious, but time and time again I see founders adding a huge list of projects to their plans only to find out they don't have enough time or people to actually complete them.

You get no points for trying. Ideas without implementation won't grow your consulting business. Document what and how many resources each project will require, compare it with those you have, and prioritize accordingly.

Add Management Best Practices

Once you're done with the strategy part, it's time to pull out what every consultant loves: best practices. They will save time and reduce the risk of your projects getting stalled.

I won't get into details here, but this is the basic stuff that many micro consultancies still don't do right. Asking, "one of you, please get this done" will result in no one doing it. There clearly needs to be one DRI (directly reponsible individual), a due date, and a way to later check if that person actually completed the task.

It doesn't matter if that person is you or an employee, what typically happens next is people get stuck once again: they face the knowledge-action gap. They know what to do but can't seem to make themselves do it. Accountability systems and external support can go a long way to help here.

Last tip: If you are the one responsible to implement any business model change initiative, set it as your top goal. Those projects have a long-term and disproportionally large impact on your consulting business. Better take them seriously.

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