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Eduardo Africano on Developing a Successful Consulting Practice
Opening a new consulting business is easy. Developing a successful consulting practice is not. With the necessary skills and experience to offer exceptional consulting services, building a successful practice is possible. However, it’s important to understand the additional requirements necessary to create a profitable firm. By fully committing to all of these aspects, you can ensure business growth and sustainability.
As a management consultant, Eduardo Africano knows what it takes to develop a successful consulting practice. He specializes in developing lasting and profitable business relationships between businesses and large corporations. Currently residing in Weston, Florida, Eduardo provides his expert consulting services on an international scale. Today, he plays a major role at the consulting firm, AXIOS Consultants. AXIOS Consultants is an independent business advisory firm providing services in commercial business operations, sales and market penetration, financial advisory, risk management, contracts and legal analysis, tax and more... He shares his advice on how to develop a successful consulting practice.
Manage Your Time Wisely
In order to create a successful practice, it’s important that you not only focus on providing great service but also on acquiring new clients. Business owners, particularly those in the consulting field, are required to manage daily tasks for clients, as well as for their own practice. This may include managing a team, billing, and seeking out new clients. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you are able to manage your time wisely and to distribute it appropriately among various activities. Eduardo Africano suggests creating a schedule for yourself and setting aside time to focus on business-related activities like billing, client development, and planning.
Spend Time Acquiring New Business
To build a successful consulting practice you’ll need clients. Therefore, it’s important that you include time in your schedule for business development. During this time focus on acquiring new business. Whether this is through networking, attending industry-related events, or participating in online discussions, it’s important that you devote time and energy to growing your business.
Foster Strong and Positive Relationships
When it comes to consulting, strong and positive relationships are imperative. Without strong client relationships, you won’t have consistent work. Without positive employee relationships, your team won’t be productive. Above all, if you fail to build and nurture relationships with peers and mentors in the industry, you may have a hard time getting your feet off the ground in the first place. As an experienced management consultant and a commercial business executive, Eduardo Africano advises focusing on building and maintaining positive relationships as your number one priority, especially when you are first starting out. Make time to meet face-to-face with clients, connect with peers and mentors over coffee or lunch, and focus on ensuring you are creating an approachable image and positive work space for your employees. What ever you commit to do, do it. No matter what, you have to deliver as you contracted without failure to foster a strong relationship with client. These relationships will go a long way in helping you and your consulting practice thrive.
Implement a Client Relationship Management Tool
A client relationship management tool, or CRM, can help you and your business in many ways. Most significantly, it will help you foster ongoing relationships with your clients. Eduardo Africano recommends seeking out a CRM that specializes in consulting services. This tool will allow you to store client data, including contact information and project details. In addition, many CRMs offer businesses the ability to manage and delegate tasks, as well as keep track of progress and promote follow-up. These services will not only help you effectively manage current clients but also nurture leads and gain new business.
Focus on Communication
In order to keep a consulting practice running smoothly, you’ll need to ensure effective communication. Sharing the details of new projects, client feedback, and any other applicable information will help to keep you, your team, and your other stakeholders on the same page. To help upkeep positive client relationships, be sure to clearly communicate your expectations and details about project progress and outcomes. In order to ensure effective and efficient communication within your practice, Eduardo Africano endorses adopting an app or platform where you can easily communicate with your team on a regular basis.
Establish a Niche
As a consultant, you are offering your expertise and experience to others. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to be an expert on every topic. Therefore, it’s important to focus on what you know best. While you might recognize your strengths as a consultant from the beginning, it is inevitable that you will eventually begin to develop a niche in the industry. When you first start your consulting business, you’ll most likely be willing to accept contracts in many different areas. As your practice grows, a natural specialization will develop. One of the best ways to find a profitable niche is to uncover a gap in knowledge that exists in the market. If you can identify this gap and you’re able to provide the missing knowledge, then you will have a profitable opportunity to focus on.
Practice the Principle of Lifelong Learning
As with many industries, professional development and lifelong learning are essential in the field of consulting. Even experts can continue to learn more, adapt to new trends, and adopt new strategies. To stay relevant and up to date, seek out the latest technology in your industry and implement it in your practice. To stay on top of the latest industry knowledge and trends, Eduardo Africano recommends reading topical research, trade journals, and articles online. In addition, don’t be afraid to learn from others. Ask your peers and mentors for their advice and opinions.
Eduardo Africano on Establishing Measurables or Metrics
Undoubtedly, your clients will want to see the results of your work. However, keeping track of your outcomes and accomplishments can also help you acquire new clients. As Eduardo Africano notes, it’s not enough to just tell clients what you’ve been able to accomplish in the past. You must be able to show them. When beginning your consulting practice, make sure to set up ways to measure your success. Ensure you can show current and future clients how you are improving their processes, solving their problems, and setting them up for success. In addition to project results, it’s important to develop an effective method for tracking budgets, billing hours, and progress.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes