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6 ways consultants can handle capacity issues
From hiring a client project coordinator to being brave with change, here are six answers to the question, "Often, consultants find themselves too busy delivering on consulting projects they neglect to work on their actual business. Can you share your best tips for how consultants can optimize their workflow to best handle capacity issues and take back control of their business?"
- Hire a Client Project Coordinator to Grow Your Business
- Understand the Balance Between Supply and Demand
- Learn When to Say "No”
- Prioritize Carefully and With Intention
- Create and Stick to Boundaries for Optimal Success
- Don't Be Afraid to Change Things Up
Hire a Client Project Coordinator to Grow Your Business
Realizing that your time is most valuable when meeting and interacting with clients, delegating or offloading all other client projects such as research, email communication, scheduling, invoicing, and follow-up will provide you, as the consultant, more bandwidth and time to work on your business.
You will then be able to add more clients to increase revenues and margins to hire more client project coordinators. This will require training of client project coordinators and additional consultants on your team, and this model will help you scale your consulting business.
Understand the Balance Between Supply and Demand
This conversation is one that I have frequently with other consultants or entrepreneurs starting out on their journey. For me, the most important thing to do is to understand the balance of your business's supply and demand.
To elaborate, there is nobody who knows your current workload, future pipeline, or what your company's trajectory is better than you. If one side of this is too heavy and your current workload is greatly outweighing what is being demanded in the future, you will struggle to find time to work on growing the business and never experience growth.
By mapping out your S&D, you can craft a schedule that gives ample time for both client work and personal company work, to then allow both to thrive and scale effectively.
Learn When to Say "No”
When you first start out as an independent consultant, you tend to say "yes" to every opportunity that comes your way. After several years, though, I think each consultant should strive to excel at one, or maybe two, very specific services.
In my case, I've chosen a specific online platform to become an expert in. If a client wants a website built or managed on a different platform, I politely decline. By turning down work that isn't in your precise wheelhouse, you give yourself more time to focus on your business, on delivering high-quality work, and on getting better and better at that one specific thing.
Hopefully, it's something that gets you excited most days. The goal is to become so good and so efficient in this one offering that your clients provide referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to organically grow your business as a consultant.
Prioritize Carefully and With Intention
Every week and each day, review and list goals and to-dos for consulting projects and actual business. After you have your comprehensive list, look at everything again and determine what you can reasonably get accomplished within that specific timeframe.
Don't forget to consider the balance between your personal and family obligations and aspirations. Then, assign each line item a priority code, starting with something like A1, A2, A3, etc for the most important and B1, B2, B3, etc, for the items that will be great to get done if there is time remaining for that day. It always gives me a great sense of accomplishment to check off all the things I get done and see that I have achieved my goals.
Ann Krauss, CEO, Fractional Marketing & PR Executive, Ann M Krauss Marketing and PR
Create and Stick to Boundaries for Optimal Success
Setting boundaries can help consultants manage their workload and prevent over-committing by limiting the amount of work they take on and setting clear expectations with clients. This can also help consultants work more efficiently and effectively. Boundaries can also help consultants take back control of their business by setting limits on their time and energy, such as only checking emails at certain times or setting aside time for self-care.
By setting these limits, consultants can prevent burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance, leading to better overall performance and satisfaction with their work. Enforcing boundaries takes time and practice, but with consistent effort and communication, consultants can create and maintain healthy boundaries.
Don't Be Afraid to Change Things Up
In business-especially in our technology-based world-methods, best practices, workflow tools, and more are constantly changing and developing. As consultants, it's important to frequently look at how we're managing our tasks to ensure that we're making the best use of our time. The flexibility and experiences we have the potential to earn as consultants are unmatched, but we have to make sure we're keeping up with the times and trends, and that includes how we're managing ourselves. Don't be afraid to change things up.
Jenna Martell, Marketing Consultant