4 pillars every successful service business should have to reach maximum potential

By Matthew Sampias, SME Business Consultant on

Building and growing a successful consulting business

Ah the professional services industry...a nebulous industry constantly striving to provide elusive value to customers by employing mavens of various types to help clients gain an edge in any number of disciplines and anyone who hass hired a consultant recently from the $200+ Billion consulting industry will tell you, there's quite a variety when it comes to quality.

Indeed while the fundamentals of the professional service industry are simple (providing a defined service, or advice, for a fee), building and growing a successful consulting business require a much more honed approach to management.

The four pillars every successful every consulting business should have

While each of these four pillars are a challenge to achieve success in by themselves in any business, success in the professional service industry requires that executives achieve a tightly tuned balance between the four, balancing all at once.

  1. Sales - Your ability to win new business and uncover new projects.
  2. Delivery - Your ability to deliver projects as you promised, on time and budget.
  3. Operations - Your ability to optimise your time and the time of your staff to be the most profitable and productive.
  4. Human Resources - Your ability to attract and retain top talent to be your "thought leaders" for your clients.

Finding the right consulting business balance

  • Have a consultant rolling off a project?
  • Where will they go next and how will that impact your revenue stream?
  • Just won a new project?
  • How will you deliver that project and what staff will you assign?
  • How long does it take you to get paid after a project?

All these are fundamental questions that underline the need for a fine balance between these four aspects.

Indeed, a recent IDC industry brief on professional services indicated that

Business which are able to achieve advanced levels of this coordination earn 1.4 times more revenue per employee, are 8 times more likely to grow their practices organically by attracting top talent, and are ultimately more likely to have a more diversified customer base.

Finding the right technology solution to support growing business

That's great, but how to achieve this balance you ask?

Well look no further than our friend technology. While there's quite a few software packages out there, the important thing to look at is one that is going to help you provide consistent results across the four pillars time and again.

This means finding an operational solution that can provide the following modules:

  1. Business development and sales: - Businesses that took advantage of digital transformation for this function achieved a 15% increase in qualified leads and sales.
  2. Project management and managed services: - Businesses that digitised this aspect achieved a 15% increase in productivity on services delivery.
  3. Talent Supply Chain: - Certain businesses were able to achieve a 100% automated recruiting process.
  4. Operations: - Automation in this area had one of the most measurable impact on businesses, resulting in a 12% reduction in days sales outstanding, a four day reduction in closing period work, and 50x faster creation of dashboards and reporting.

SAP Business ByDesign for Professional Services

Indeed in order to reach these levels of productivity its important to select a software tool that provides for integration across these major functions, such as SAP Business ByDesign.

These types of tools offer the flexibility of a cloud hosted solution, while also providing robust integration across the major functions of professional services. forget using spreadsheets to manage data, or having to manually upload and download information between systems.

With an integrated cloud based solution such as SAP Business ByDesign, you can efficiently run your business wherever you are, whenever you need to. And with such robust and growth oriented integrated solutions available, you can rest easy that you will never outgrow your new system.

It takes more than meets the eye to be successful in the consulting industry. Take advantage of the technology options that are out there and help your professional service business achieve its full potential.

Originally from the US, Matthew Sampias is a Business Consultant specialising in growing businesses in Melbourne, Australia. He has helped a variety of businesses achieve their growth goals through people and process innovation.

For a free copy of the IDC report mentioned in this article, or for a free consultation on your growing business, call +61 3 9834 9916 email matthew.sampias@oxygenforbusiness.com

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Discover how Oxygen and SAP Business ByDesign recently transformed Stork Technical Service's technology component.

Provisioning IT used to be complex and totally reliant on one or two people. Now, with SAP Business ByDesign we have managed to remove the whole technology component by outsourcing it to SAP. With the cloud template, it is easy to scale up or scale back based on business demands. It’s also much easier to deploy additional functionality."