According to the 2014 survey from IDC ‘Managing your Consulting Firm for Growth’, consulting firms in North America and Europe are bullish about the future. Revenue is up 41% and many are expecting further gains in both revenue and profit, leading to strong opportunities for growth. But it’s not without its hurdles.
The consulting firms surveyed listed their top three challenges as:
- Increasing revenue: 35%
- Maximising profits: 27%
- Better financial management: 24%
Training to win
So how can your consulting firm overcome such hurdles and sprint forward to win the bidding race?
Like any fine-tuned athlete, preparation is everything. Business growth doesn’t just happen overnight, it’s planned. I’d say these three strategic steps are essential for any consulting firm when preparing for growth:
- Study your project analytics to understand what your most profitable and highest demand services are.
- Capitalise on the findings by perfecting those particular services and outpacing the competition.
- All of this is made possible with the use of a project-based, integrated system, with one version of the truth and 360 degree visibility.
In other words, when applying these steps, your consulting firm will obtain an improved and transparent project management approach which maximises your efficiency and leads to more accurate bids and a better representation of what your business can actually offer your clients.
Right tools for the job
If you’re training to win, you need to make sure you have the right equipment to succeed. The same can be said for your business - the right tools are imperative to improving performance. Which is why an industry-specific project management system is required.
I would claim that project-based ERP is the only way to get the visibility you need of everything in one place, contrary to generic ERP which is not built around projects. Surprisingly, the IDC report highlights that the majority (around 80%) of best-of-breed consulting firms don’t have an industry-specific system in place. A major oversight and missed opportunity.
For your business to manage its own growth through executing winning bids, real-time informed, data-driven decisions are imperative.
ERP systems which have been designed specifically for Professional Services firms give you the tools to make effective decisions in core business areas such as the business lifecycle process and profitability. This helps you to secure future growth through winning bids based on an understanding of the past, learning from it and ensuring your business avoids repeating historic, unprofitable mistakes.
If you want your business to outgrow the competition, then getting the right tools are imperative as Jack Welch notes: “An organisation’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”