When running a consulting practice, it’s hard to find the time to nurture your own business. Every engagement seems too pressing. Every client request is too urgent. However, leadership consultant Wendi Peck reminds us that “tending your own garden” is key to long-term success.
Wendi and her husband and fellow consultant, Bill Casey, run Executive Leadership Group, Inc., based in Colorado. In the past, the pair was always so busy focusing on clients that they didn’t allocate much time and energy toward cultivating their own business. But to stay competitive, they knew things had to change.
“We’ve had to work ourselves into the discipline of having conversations about topics like networking and business development,” she says. “You need to discipline yourself into an official weekly meeting. Otherwise, you don’t do it.”
So every single week, Wendi and Bill meet to review what she’s dubbed “my radar screen.” It’s simply a document that, at any point in time, consists of a variety of categories – such as Client Work, Business Development, and Resource Development – and notes about each.
For instance, for Business Development, the two discuss any updates or plans for their website or online marketing efforts. For Resource Development, they cover how they’re maintaining ties with their team of sub-consultants.
“It’s really important to keep those relationships in tact – they’re just as important as client relationships,” says Bill. “We can’t compete on engagements if we don’t have these partnerships with other consultants. But there’s nothing to trigger nurturing them, so you have to plan it out and make the effort.”
Whatever they happen to be discussing during their meetings, both Bill and Wendi agree that disciplining yourself to focus on your business consistently – even if it’s just once a week – is well worth it. “It’s hard to nurture your own business,” admits Wendi. “But by allocating time for things like our website and touch points with our partners, it strengthens our business in the long run.”