A couple of weeks ago my little team and I went through our quarterly planning process. We took some extra time to look at the market and review notes from dozens of conversations with clients and prospects. The goal was to take a high view of where we were standing.
What we realized is that changes are happening, yet very few consultants and advisory firms are innovating. Some have made important shifts and will start to reap the reward in 2023 (several of which are included in our upcoming report). But most consultancies are working under the assumption that, as long as they keep doing what they've been doing so far, they'll do fine.
But the market is changing. Clients are thinking differently. It's up to you to adapt.
One of those changes is clear: Consulting clients are tired of "efficiency". They don't want to hire a machine. They want someone who can offer them an exclusive, intimate, and customized level of service.
How do you adapt to that? There's not a single way to do so, but here's what I decided to change for my own consulting practice (starting from 28th Oct):
"I do not advise more than 6 clients at any given time (down from 8). Once I hit 6 active clients, everyone else goes on a waiting list. This is how I can make sure I have enough bandwidth to give them undivided attention and be available for them when needed. This is how I'll protect and guarantee an excellent client experience. But this is also how I increase the perceived value from my advice and the impact of my work."
This is a hard decision to make, since by the end of this year it's very likely I'll have already filled the 6 spots. This means I'm consciously leaving money on the table. And saying no to money is universally difficult.
But I truly believe this is the right move to make my game work. If clients value and request intimacy and customization - and you put their interests first - reducing the number of 1:1 advisory work is a requirement.
Does this mean I'm giving up growth, or reducing the total capacity of my consulting practice? Not at all. I'll continue to offer audits and group training, services that demand less time and personal access to me.
If you believe your clients' behavior and worldview will never change, think again. I'd rather carefully navigate and adapt to their new demands, than get caught by surprise with a wave of problems and be forced to quickly reinvent the firm later.