150 Pieces of Advice I Shared with Consultancies on LinkedIn in 2023

We had two years of almost unlimited post-pandemic growth in consulting in 2021 & 2022. These were, in fact, ‘outlier years' and not really a regular revenue growth continuation from the 2018-2019 years.

Since late 2022, however, economic uncertainty has hit the consulting business quite heavily, caused primarily by fluctuations in the global economy, geopolitical tensions, and cost inflation (to name a few).

This has presented severe challenges for most consultancies: reduced client budgets, project indecisiveness, and lack of consultancy revenue reliability. In parallel, clients’ budgets, needs and expectations have evolved rapidly, requiring consultancies to be more agile, innovative, and client-centric than ever before.

Many of the consultancies I've worked with this year came to me because they were struggling to grow – or even maintain – their business. So I dedicated a lot of energy in 2023 to sharing advice and observations with my audience on how to organically grow consulting business in the times of uncertainty. Not just that – but how to use the changes in clients' and prospects' behavior that are caused by the uncertainty to turn a struggling consulting business into a high-performing one.

I make sure to share my learnings with my audience on LinkedIn. This is by far the most important platform for me. It's my live conference room. I use LinkedIn to not only share my advice and knowledge in bite-sized form, but to create a feedback loop with my audience of consultancies. 

I read every comment, respond to requests for additional information, identify new topics to cover in my blog posts, take note of various perspectives, gauge the level of engagement for different topics that I post about, etc.

This is an invaluable exercise that allows me to remain constantly connected to my target audience – boutique consultancy owners and leaders. The engagement on LinkedIn helps me better understand their pain points, what their current challenges are, what they are prioritizing and why. It supplements the one-on-one conversations I have with clients and prospects.

I encourage consultancy leaders to use LinkedIn to stay close to their target audience. To stay engaged. To deepen their expertise.

So, in this post, I present my library of 150 pieces of advice that I shared on LinkedIn in 2023.

  1. Digital-first business development in consulting is here to stay.
  2. The decision of whether or not to widen a consulting service offering can be a daunting one.
  3. Take a deep breath, narrow the focus and become the very best, top-of-mind consultancy for just ONE thing.
  4. Consulting firms love to talk about ‘the benefits’ of buying their services.
  5. Poorly positioned consulting firms have no choice but to compete on pricing.
  6. Educating your target audience is difficult?
  7. Business development in consulting is rooted in educating the target audience.
  8. The plain truth is that your consultancy’s expertise is NOT UNIQUE.
  9. I’ve built 2 successful consultancies with ‘target audience education’ as my go-to-market strategy.
  10. Variation in consulting is tiring. And it doesn’t sell.
  11. Prospects will struggle to get approval for working with a poorly positioned consultancy.
  12. Why are consulting leaders lagging in driving digital growth?
  13. I had a surprising 2023 new year’s call with a (very) tired consulting leader.
  14. Breaking the myth: a narrowly positioned consultancy can still offer a wide range of services.
  15. Poor value propositions in consulting are epidemic!
  16. Winning new consulting business is the #1 challenge.
  17. A laser-sharp positioning as a consultancy is the foundation of rock-solid employer branding.
  18. Is there too much focus on revenue in consulting?
  19. Laser-sharp positioning drives a consultancy’s efficiency and profit.
  20. I turned down a prospect and here’s why.
  21. Do you retain existing consulting clients at all costs?
  22. Luk, how to answer the question ‘Why should we hire your consultancy?’
  23. Unveiling the gold medal: a peek into the high-performing consultancy firms.
  24. Swim lanes are there for a reason, yet consultancy co-owners frequently jump lanes.
  25. Experts don’t sell. They reduce the fear of failure.
  26. Is the expertise of your consultancy perceived as an essential spend?
  27. “Our older C-level prospects don’t read our thought leadership content”.
  28. For years, I struggled with managing and forecasting my consulting pipeline.
  29. The positioning book ‘Obviously Awesome’ had a significant impact on me. The author: April Dunford.
  30. Does the consulting team need to become more sales-driven?
  31. Most consultancies' market positioning sucks. That's what I said a while ago.
  32. 7 Reasons why focus and project repetition in a consultancy pays off big time.
  33. Here’s how a BPE approach transforms consultancy positioning.
  34. Too many consultancy owners operate their businesses in an ad hoc way.
  35. Lots of new projects but struggling to pay the bills and the team salaries?
  36. What is the link between consultancy positioning and my gravel bike?
  37. The sales success of a high-performing consultancy is a side effect.
  38. The story of a consultancy cutting back 30% of services and improving its profitability.
  39. The Consultancy Paradox: Selling Harder Destroys Trust!
  40. Break free from your self-glorification bubble!
  41. Your consultancy website isn't a party, and nobody's coming to hang out!
  42. How one mistake in my early consulting years taught me the value of stability.
  43. The Art of Persuasion: How to Get a Prospect Hooked on Your Consultancy?
  44. The Trust Deficit: How Consultancies Are Shooting Themselves in the Foot with Aggressive Sales Tactics.
  45. If a consultancy leader can’t explain the prototypical outcomes of the work, it’s not a leading consultancy.
  46. Do your existing consulting clients hold too much power in the relationship?
  47. 10 Reasons why consultancies should generously share their expertise.
  48. What sets apart a profitable consultancy from one that's struggling?
  49. Too many consulting firms are selling ‘availability’ at too low rates.
  50. Do you really need new services to grow a consulting business?
  51. Why 'hiring to scale' is a losing battle for mid-sized consultancies.
  52. Let me challenge the notion that a 50-person consultancy can truly excel across numerous expertise domains.
  53. If consultancy owners don’t fanatically tackle these 4 underlying challenges, they risk compromising the performance of their consultancy firm, and their mental health will be at stake in the long run.
  54. We live in a world full of restlessness and indecision.
  55. Consultancy owner: “We were so bad at consulting business development”.
  56. Dear consultancy owner, is your consultancy living invoice to invoice? Or project to project?
  57. Why do consulting firms keep piling up services like there's no tomorrow?
  58. Why do mid-sized consultancy firms call me for help?
  59. Consulting leaders keep telling me: closing new contracts takes more time.
  60. 95% of consultancy owners have nothing to say. Their Linkedin is ‘empty’.
  61. "Luk, I don't have time to educate my audience".
  62. Think every consultancy client is a good client? Think again.
  63. Industry knowledge is valuable but not the starting point for a successful consultancy.
  64. Is your blood, sweat, and tears investment stuck in an exhausting cycle of unscalable consultancy growth?
  65. Ever wondered what it's like to be in the upper quadrant of consulting success?
  66. I watched a Titan of consultancy turn into a Chameleon.
  67. “We just lost a pitch”: a real story from a consultancy client.
  68. Just when I think I've seen it all, I'm left speechless again: the poor knowledge of consultancy KPIs.
  69. Is your consultancy designed to succeed?
  70. [Case study] Here’s how 2 consultancies transformed their positioning.
  71. Is your consultancy stuck in the churn and burn cycle of new client acquisition?
  72. If I’d start a boutique consultancy from scratch again…
  73. Do your prospects have a budget for the problem your consultancy can solve?
  74. Dear consultancy owners, aren't you fooling yourself?
  75. Here’s what you can learn from my thought leadership model as a consultancy owner.
  76. Cracking the code: let me try to ‘dissect’ consultancy owners’ personalities into 3 archetypes
  77. Dear consultancy owner, is your consultancy designed to succeed?
  78. No matter how experienced, most consultancy owners live and work in a constant doom loop.
  79. Do you know that your consultancy proposal win rates tell a compelling story?
  80. Too many consultancies I meet don’t end up where they had hoped.
  81. Co-owner misalignment undermines a consultancy’s success.
  82. The 4 KPIs I prioritise when analysing the performance of a new consultancy client.
  83. The 4 KPIs I prioritise when analysing the performance of a new consultancy client (part 2).
  84. The 4 KPIs I prioritise when analysing the performance of a new consultancy client (part 3).
  85. I spend much time talking to hugely successful consultancies.
  86. Most consultancies make the mistake of explaining what they do.
  87. It's time to bury the old-school, linear growth model in the boutique consultancy.
  88. What is the best way to improve the performance of a consultancy?
  89. Think you know your consulting clients because you've sent an NPS survey?
  90. Question to consultancy owners: what value does your consultancy bring to the client?
  91. I am always shocked by consultancy owners’ answers to this simple question.
  92. Do you know the golden triangle of consultancy success?
  93. Here’s a game-changer that can revolutionise your boutique consultancy!
  94. Are you stuck in the cycle of one-time projects? You might have hit the project wall!
  95. Rising to a high-performing consultancy is a deliberate, crafted journey.
  96. ‘What do you think of our value proposition, Luk?’
  97. Do you underpay yourself as a boutique consultancy owner or partner?
  98. Too many consultancies are hitting ‘the project wall’.
  99. "Luk, I don't have time to educate my audience".
  100. Think you know your consultancy inside out? You might be missing the story beneath the project surface!
  101. Flawed Focus, Flawed Data, Flawed Consulting Quality.
  102. The Google mirror doesn't lie about a consultancy's digital capacity.
  103. It's time to redefine differentiating value in the boutique consultancy!
  104. Consultancies often emphasise the 'benefits' of purchasing their services. Improvement needed!
  105. Lack of clarity in consulting is revenue hell.
  106. Most consultancy ventures start with a handful of talented founders with specific expertise and a strong service delivery mindset.
  107. Boutique consultancies should generate at least 70% of revenue from existing clients.
  108. For almost 10 years, I have been documenting high-performing consultancy characteristics.
  109. If I were to start a boutique consultancy again…
  110. Had I known the power of pipeline management…
  111. Did you know? A new consultancy service might take up to two years to fully mature.
  112. Consultancy owner, if you're not watching your numbers, who is?
  113. “Luk, do you like our new Mission & Vision statement on our homepage?”
  114. Are you running your consultancy, or does it run you?
  115. Finding Your North Star: The Consultancy Specificity Quadrant.
  116. Are you selling standalone workshops in your consultancy? Stop doing that!
  117. Too many consultancy owners and partners are way too involved in service delivery. 
  118. Too many consultancy founders or owners live and work in a constant doom loop.
  119. You don’t yet have the ‘Revenue per FTE’ ratio on your radar screen? Time to change!
  120. “We do full customisation”: what a horrible boutique consultancy narrative!
  121. We've all heard it from our consulting clients: 'Our challenges are unique!'
  122. “Luk, we got caught in an endless loop of consultancy KPI’s”
  123. Most tech consultancies bombard you with jargon, hoping you'll be impressed. Wrong!
  124. Have you ever wondered what sets a high-performing consultancy apart?
  125. Since 2020, I've committed to something radical.
  126. Here’s another consultancy’s positioning that sucks.
  127. Years ago, a burnout stormed into my life.
  128. The painful move from a wide-ranging to a more narrow consultancy service.
  129. Consulting tech jargon is out. Business clarity is in. Or what?
  130. Why Chasing New Clients Could Be Chasing Away Your Consultancy's Stability!
  131. Most consultancy owners/partners totally misunderstand LinkedIn.
  132. Transforming Consulting Offerings: How Service Design Can Make the Difference.
  133. Is your consultancy a destination consultancy?
  134. If I only had 1 hour to assess a boutique consultancy’s performance…
  135. Without service design, a narrow focus in a consultancy might be in trouble.
  136. Will proposals become more outcome-driven in the coming years?
  137. Boutique consultancies should generate at least 70% of revenue from existing clients.
  138. Best revenue practices to tackle economic slowdown in consulting.
  139. The consultancy’s proposal win rates tell me almost everything.
  140. Is your consultancy stuck in the cycle of low revenue, one-time projects?
  141. I recommend that every consultancy assesses its expertise reputation regularly.
  142. Every consulting service can be productised!
  143. Consultancies that cannot develop existing clients have an existential health challenge.
  144. Luk, how much risk do you see in saying yes to non-fit projects with existing (good fit) clients?
  145. The year 2023 in review, part 1: books that had an impact on me.
  146. The year 2023 in review, part 2: my most popular LinkedIn posts.
  147. The year 2023 in review, part 3: The impact of the market slowdown.
  148. The year in review, part 4: Every consulting service can be productized! 
  149. The year in review, part 5: the struggle to adjust to the new market realities.

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