Best Practices to Grow Your Consulting Business

I recently moderated a panel discussion for WIC on Best Practices to Grow Your Consulting Business titled “If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now”.

Panelists were Jan Robertson of SiVal Advisors, Kelli Richards of All Access Group and Norma Watenpaugh of Phoenix Consulting Group.  My company is Strategic Marketing Solutions.

We’re all veteran consultants and shared our lessons learned.

Our Key Takeaways and Top Tips were:

  1. Don’t do everything yourself
  2. Listen more, ask questions, talk less
  3. Plan on continuous improvement
  4.  Stretch yourself
  5.  Charge value-based fees
  6.  Experiment with new business models
  7.  Referrals / Relationships / Networks are paramount
  8.  Choose your ‘people’ well
  9.  Fix mistakes
  10.  Know your Unique Selling Proposition and how you’re differentiated
  11.  Focus on what builds the business
  12.  It takes longer than you think

I’ll post more detail on each of these.  Were you at the meeting?  Which resonates with you?  Do you have experiences to share?  Please comment below. We’d love some feedback from you!

About Deborah Siegle

Deb Siegle, Past President of Women in Consulting and Principal of Strategic Marketing Solutions, is an astute marketing leader and strategist with a talent for aligning a company’s products, solutions and messages with the customer’s needs. Deb was named one of the Top Women of Influence in Silicon Valley. She delivers practical and actionable insights to business executives and entrepreneurs. Deb is a recognized consumer and business marketing leader, problem solver and communicator who is an authority in market research, strategy, market and product development, and customer loyalty and experience. Deb is also the former president of Women in Telecommunications (WiT) and has also held leadership positions in other industry associations. Deb holds a M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan.


  1. How do you know if you have chosen your people well? I am just finding my associates now. One of them does not look for business at all and does not network . Is that my job only?

  2. Quite often you have different roles for different people. Sometimes you have people to help you complete the work and nothing else. Other people might be responsible for back office functions. Others might be expected to help with business development. And, a special set of others might be seen as partners.

    It all depends on what expectations you have set with them and the matching of their capabilities with your needs. You do your best upfront to choose the right people for the right roles. However, there is always the quality control requirement.

    One of the main messages around “Choose your people well” is that if it is not working out, be proactive to course-correct. Provide feedback on what will make performance and deliverables more satisfactory. And, if it turns out the fit is just not right, take action more quickly rather than dragging it out.

    Also see Top Tip #11 – Focus on what builds the business.

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