Consultants, engineers, accountants, designers and other professionals who make a living by essentially selling their expertise all have a huge problem that effectively chokes their business growth. That problem is time—there are only 168 hours in a week, and no amount of creativity can get around this fact.
Professionals are basically in the rental business. They rent the use of their brain for a certain amount of time to solve problems or develop responses to client requests. Even the most highly sought-after professionals can’t get around the fact that the number of hours they can rent each week is capped and can't be increased, no matter how much they try.
The typical way to increase your revenue after you’ve maxed out your rental time is to charge more per hour. But even this tactic has a limit: Very few professionals can charge significantly more than the going rate for their industry. In fact, you really have to be among the top 1 percent in your industry to charge a premium for your time that's large enough that it would significantly increase your revenues.
So if you want to grow your professional services practices, how can you do it in the face of such powerful constraints? Here are three proven ideas:
Change From Renting Your Time to Selling Your Brand
When you rent your brain time, clients want to see your face; part of what they pay for is the handholding and assurance that your presence offers. But this face time restricts your ability to grow even further. If you have a good reputation in your industry, then you have an opportunity to fix this problem.
Start promoting your company’s brand more than your personal expertise. Don’t eliminate your role, but instead focus on presenting your company (even if it's just two of you) as the solution. This allows you to hire salespeople who can work on generating new customers. When you rent your brain time, you may feel awkward at first to have someone else sell it for you, but this is completely acceptable when what's being offered as the solution is your company and not yourself.
Create a Mini-Me Army
After working on multiple projects over the course of many years, most professional service providers will start to recognize patterns in their clients' problems and in the solutions they're able to offer. These patterns usually contain elements that can be taught and internalized by others. A painter, for example, may be the only one who can create magic on the canvas, but he certainly doesn’t need to be the one buying the canvas, purchasing the paint, mixing the colors or even delivering the finished work. Similarly, consultants should identify which elements of their solutions can be taught and replicated.
The next step is to hire talented workers who can focus on these replicable elements of the project. In some cases, this could free up as much as 75 percent of your productive time, allowing you to quadruple your current business.
Offer a Do-It-Yourself Solution for the People Who Can’t Afford You
Many people who need your services likely can’t afford you. And most professional service providers simply take that as a given and ignore that market. But that’s an expensive mistake.
If these people can’t afford to hire you, then give them a substitute product that may not be as profitable but will allow you to tap into a large market that, with scale, can prove to be lucrative. Seminars, books, mobile apps and do-it-yourself kits are excellent ways to expand your business, augment your reputation as an expert and help people who need you even if they can’t afford your premium services.
When executed correctly, implementing one or several of these strategies should help you achieve massive revenue growth that will eclipse what you make now by simply renting out your brain.
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