Hand building a tower of colourful wooden toy blocks

In reflecting over the time I have spent consulting to large and small organisations, I have always been intrigued by the stark differences I have seen between those that are focussing on growing their practice rather than focussing on building a sustainable and successful long term business. It might sound as you read this that it is only a slight language difference, they mean the same, right?

Wrong. There is a major difference between growing vs. building a consulting practice. Not only in terms of language but also in terms of intent and the way this is adopted and heard from the team, stakeholders and other personnel. The focus on growth very much drives growth at all costs which may benefit you in the short term whereas the building is around focussing on key areas, markets and clients that align to your vision, plan or strategies.

To illustrate, the following table outlines the differences in the approaches:

Building versus Growing a Business

Too many focus on growing their consulting practice and forget to build a consulting practice. It’s far easier to grow, work hard, put in more hours and more money. What we should be doing is intending to build a practice that makes money even when we are not there so that we can focus on the areas of our life that are important to us. I have had the benefit of seeing consultants that actually do build great practices so I know it can be done. Given this, why do people find it so hard to move from being busy to truly being productive around the hard things it takes to build a practice?

A question to ponder is have you started your practice with the intention of working hard and making money but not having a life and planning to do this indefinitely? The reality is that we get what we intend and not what we hope for. The definition of insanity is to do the same things and expect a different result. Analyse where you are putting your effort and make the changes you need to make to really build something you not only will benefit from financially but you will bring to life the others reasons you built your business for.