OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects

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WHY MIDSIZE SERVICE FIRM LEADERS MUST THINK LIKE ENTREPRENEURS TO GROW

ARE YOU A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES PRACTITIONER OR AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Originally published on Forbes.com

Most successful professional service firms can grow by way of referrals up to a point. Then they hit a plateau. After serving more than 50 midsize service firms over the last 21 years, I’ve discovered that the mindset of the firm’s leadership is the No. 1 factor that determines whether or not the firm will break through revenue plateaus.

If the firm leaders see themselves as practitioner-in-chief, the most important producer of work product for clients, the firm is not likely to break through the plateau. But if the firm leaders see themselves as entrepreneurs, they’ll greatly increase the odds of breaking through. If you are the leader of a successful midsize service firm that has plateaued, I’d like to share with you some ideas for changing your mindset and your personal example so you can reignite growth.

Why Midsize Service Firms Hit Plateaus

When I talk to leaders of midsize service firms that plateau, they often tell me they want to grow, but they don’t give me specifics. They’ll say, “We just want to grow.” Then I’ll ask, “By how much? Is this growth in revenue, profits, clients, geographic expansion or what?” Usually, they’ll pause for a second and answer, “We want all of that.”

But here is what I’ve learned: If you don’t set a specific target in each of these areas, you can’t really build a plan to get there. Why? Because growth requires a plan to go from where you are now — which needs to be fully documented — to where you want to be in the future.

You can hope to grow or plan to grow. But hope is not a plan. The No. 1 reason most midsize service firms don’t grow is because they don’t have a realistic plan for growth. They have ideas and they talk about growth, but they don’t actually execute against a long-term plan year after year.

So here is my advice, in plain and simple terms: If you really want to grow, then build a plan.

Are You A Practitioner Or An Entrepreneur?

I want to say, for the record, that I don’t think strategic plans alone are the solution. Many service firms hold strategic planning sessions for the year to come, where they set all sorts of goals and plans. That’s all well and good. But it won’t work unless you execute the plan day after day with a sustained focus on the goals. This is what I call “the grind,” and it requires primarily a change in mindset and some smaller changes in behavior.

This is what differentiates entrepreneurs from practitioners. I can know, in just a few minutes of talking to someone, whether their mindset is geared toward being a great producer of work product — a practitioner — or an entrepreneur. How can I know?

I ask them one simple question, “How do you start your day?” Practitioners typically start their day by addressing client emails and open projects. Entrepreneurs start their day by asking themselves, “What’s one thing I need to do today to move this company forward?” Then they prioritize that one thing.

Here is another important question, “How much work product comes from you?” Successful midsize service firms that really grow have subject matter experts at the top who could produce a lot of work product but don’t. Instead, they lead the business by focusing on the top priorities and getting others to do the same.

These leaders know that their primary responsibility is to inspire and coach other people at their firm to produce the vast majority of the work product. This puts their business in a position to scale because they are not a bottleneck to growth by trying to do too much themselves.

What Example Do You Set For Your Team?

Entrepreneurs set the right example for their team by talking about the right things. So, if you really want to grow, my recommendation is that you begin to talk to your staff about those things that matter to an entrepreneur. This is how you get subject matter experts to begin to think with you, to think like an entrepreneur. This unleashes your growth potential. How so?

Every day, your staff makes hundreds of little decisions about how to spend their time and energy. Those little decisions add up to big results if they are directed toward outcomes that matter to the business. So I want to ask you:

  • Do you talk about EBITDA?
  • Can people on your leadership team read a P&L and balance sheet?
  • Do you know the status of your pipeline and talk to your people about it
  • Do you talk about the one thing that needs to get done right now?
  • Can you and everyone on your leadership team articulate your value proposition?

If not, I recommend that you start talking to your people about these things right away. Here is what I’ve seen from midsize service firms that really grow. Their top people can answer all of those questions and with real clarity.

If It Walks Like A Duck And Talks Like A Duck, It’s A Duck

If you want to grow, you have to set the right example by walking the walk and talking the talk. Growth starts at the top — with you. If you walk and talk like an entrepreneur, you will inspire other people in your firm to do the same. The example you set, what you do with your time, what you talk about, what you prioritize — all of these things communicate your mindset. You unleash the growth potential of your firm by adopting an entrepreneurial mindset.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects