Clients have simple expectations of you as a consultant. They want you to be knowledgeable, be available when necessary, and always deliver quality work on time. Keeping these principles at the forefront of your mind and decision-making will ensure that your consultancy is a resounding success.
However, once this business starts growing, you will face challenges juggling multiple clients and delivering on your promises. Unfriendly timeframes and competing priorities have been the downfall of many consultants. Here is how you can avoid a similar fate:
Track time spent to eliminate waste
You would be surprised how much of a consultant’s day can be spent idling without getting anything substantive done. Whether it is fielding phone calls, checking social media, or staring into space while enjoying a rejuvenating cup of coffee, time wasted is money wasted. There will not be a client to bill for that time when month-end approaches.
Clients do not like to feel that you are overcharging them, and using CPA time and billing software avoids this. Track precisely how much time you spent on each customer’s interests and present them with a bill accurately representing time devoted to their needs. Imagine Time’s software converts time entries into invoices for billing clients, taking the fuss out of this time-consuming task.
Use a calendar
While consultants tend to use a calendar or diary to schedule and keep appointments, this should not be where it ends. A calendar can do so much more than that, whether you choose to keep a traditional hard copy or prefer an electronic option. Input as many events as possible on your calendar and block off times for completing tasks for clients.
If you use an electronic calendar, set up a reminder system that gives you sufficient time to prepare for meetings or other work. Even if you have a handwritten calendar or diary, list your priorities and looming deadlines on it to manage your time.
Create a routine
Replying to emails and texts or returning calls can chew into your workday. Therefore, start each morning with 45 minutes blocked off to perform such tasks. With daily administrative functions out of the way, you are free to continue with appointments and tasks in your daily schedule. Block off an additional 15 minutes at the end of your workday to deal with anything urgent that cannot wait until morning.
It is easier to deal with such tasks in one sitting than trying to squeeze them in between other events. By concentrating on doing this work, you will likely get it done more efficiently and effectively.
Your calendar or diary will include tasks that need to be completed by a fixed due date. Schedule them for a few days in advance in case you run into an unexpected challenge. The stress of trying to do everything at the last-minute makes consulting an even more challenging juggling job than it should be.
Your clients pay good money to ensure that you deal with their matters timeously. If you prove yourself to be unreliable when it comes to sticking to deadlines, they might take their business elsewhere.
Clients appreciate honesty and prefer that you tell them you cannot meet their needs within a stipulated time frame. Saying a no is better than telling a customer you can complete a task and then letting them down as your reputation could suffer irreparable harm.
Customers will no longer use you as a consultant if they see you have too many clients and do not devote the necessary attention to each. If your business grows, it might be time to consider hiring employees or freelancers.