Primary Blog/I Built A Fractional Consulting Business

I Built A Fractional Consulting Business

Thursday, February 15, 2024

I Built A Fractional Consulting Business

And how you can do the same!

In the world of consulting, the fractional model has emerged as a game-changer for me.

I started off supporting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in America, and this has now expanded to connecting experts from every discipline and vertical you can imagine with large corporations across North America and the UK.

‚ÄčAnd we'll move into APAC by the end of 2024!

This innovative approach allows companies of every size to access seasoned experts via a variety of flexible engagements, making access to their experience and knowledge more affordable and accessible than ever before.

In the next few paragraphs, I share the steps I took to build a successful fractional consulting business, hopefully offering insights and inspiration for those considering this game-changing model.

Embracing the Gap in the Market
The inception of my fractional consulting business began with a simple observation: many SMBs struggled to afford senior executives or consultants, the type I had been surrounded by and learned so much from during my time as a traditional contractor.

Yet they desperately needed strategic guidance to grow, compete, and for some, exit their business

Recognising this gap, I built a business in the US to offer expertise on a fractional basis to SMBs, providing flexible, strategic guidance at a fraction of the cost of a full-time consultant.

Laying the Foundations
Building a successful fractional consulting business started with defining my niche.

With a background in finance, ERP implementations, and general programme management, I focused on industries where I could leverage my strengths and experiences.

Establishing a clear value proposition was crucial; I aimed to not just fill a temporary gap but to become an integral part of my clients' strategic planning and execution processes. Networking played a pivotal role, and I had 'dug my well' for many years prior to starting this business.

I was able to tap into a network of experts I had curated for over 20 years, and together we were able to deliver true outcome-based value.

Word of mouth and referrals became powerful tools as satisfied clients shared their positive experiences with peers.

Structuring the Business
One of the first decisions I made was how to structure my services.

I opted for a flexible approach, offering various engagement models to suit different client needs, including project-based, retainer, and ad-hoc consulting arrangements.

This flexibility allowed me to cater to a wide range of clients, from SMBs needing strategic direction to established businesses looking for specialised advice on specific challenges.

Setting clear expectations from the outset was key to building successful client relationships.
I focused on establishing transparent communication and setting outcome-based deliverables.

Again, this was a powerful proposition because of the global talent I could 'activate' when the client needed extra support. This approach helped build trust and credibility, leading to longer-term engagements and repeat business.

Growing and Scaling
As my business grew, I faced the challenge of scaling without compromising the quality of my services.

My clients wanted me, and selling more of my time for money was not the goal I had set for myself. So when one client said, "help us find more people who deliver like you" the seeds were sown.

I already had a successful coaching business (The Contractors Academy), and as I looked at the group, I could clearly see that with a few changes to the training program, many of the contractors could pivot to this model.

So I built the first cohort to test this hypothesis, and we now have a robust learning journey that will set any expert up with the structure, processes, and tools to build their own fractional consulting business.

This cohort grew into an equitable partnership model, which allows the growth and scale our clients have been asking us for while I protect the reputation of the brand I've worked so hard to build.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation
The consulting landscape is ever-changing, driven by industry trends, technological advancements, and evolving client needs.

Staying ahead required continuous learning and adaptation.

I committed to ongoing professional development, keeping in touch with industry trends, and regularly seeking feedback from clients to improve our services.

I invested in access to mastermind groups with some of the best business gurus on the planet, and the members of our Fractional Academy now benefit from the insights and access to new ideas and opportunities these groups offer me.

Conclusion: The Path Less Travelled
Building a fractional consulting business has been a journey of discovery, learning, and adaptation.

This is not an 'overnight success', but it has allowed me to leverage my expertise in a flexible, impactful way, providing value to clients while also building a very fulfilling business.

For those considering this path, my advice is to focus on your niche, build strong relationships, and remain adaptable and visible.

The road may be less travelled, but the opportunities and rewards can be substantial.

By embracing the fractional model, I've been able to create a business that not only meets a critical market need but also offers rewarding and flexible opportunities for many people.

It's a compelling option for consultants looking to make a significant impact while enjoying the autonomy and diversity of projects that fractional consulting provides.

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