5 Reasons Your Consultancy Isn’t Scaling

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 24/04/2022
consultancy scaling

Every business pursues success. If you’re a consultancy owner and your business is struggling but you can’t put a finger on why - this article is for you. Our goal is to identify the most common reasons why your consultancy isn’t scaling so you can start working on a solution right away.




When one starts a business, they have a vision. While, of course, generating profit is undeniably one of the driving forces of every company so it can sustain itself, there is always a purpose. And it can get very frustrating when no matter the effort you put in, your business isn’t growing.

It is especially true with consultancies. Due to the popularity of this business model, it is increasingly difficult to cut through the noise, which makes attracting and retaining clients challenging. If you are not generating enough profit, you cannot hire more staff - meaning you cannot take on more clients, and therefore you cannot generate enough profit. This is the loop many consultancies find themselves in - they are capable of sustaining themselves as they are, but they can’t scale.   

Scaling a Consultancy Requires Consistent Effort 

Due to the competitiveness of the market, consultancies are particularly high maintenance. Simply put, the moment you lay off the efforts, your competitors will take over. With that said it is very clear you can’t have a burst of initiatives and hope to ride that wave permanently. Instead of implementing many new things at once, it’s best to create a process you can stick to.

The best first step is identifying the roadblocks that prevent you from scaling. Curiously, the reasons why most consultancies fail are usually the same and are often easily solved if recognised. So, let’s define them.

1. You Are Trying to Sell 

The days of aggressive marketing and sales are over. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to lay off your sales rep and expect the clients to find you themselves. Both elements are as important to your success as they’ve always been if not more. What we are talking about is the mindset. The customer of today is empowered: they research you long before your sales team gets in touch with them. A competitive landscape also gives them the power to simply go elsewhere at every minor inconvenience - for example, over their inquiry taking too long to be answered.

With that said, if you want to be successful you need to stop focusing on an effort to sell and instead shift into the effort of adding value. From the moment they land on your page up and for the entire time from when they become a client, every interaction you have must be meaningful and aimed at solving their issue. You need to prove that not only will they be getting their money’s worth, but also a trustworthy companion who is genuinely interested in bringing them success. 

2. You Waste Time on Manual Labour

Time management is the key to any successful business. It is therefore among the vital skills for a quick-paced environment such as consultancy. The problem we have observed with many of our consultancy clients is that while they are aware of the fact and follow strict to-do lists… They still find themselves having no time for the execution of tasks that would drive the growth of their business. Instead, they are stuck in a never-ending cycle of repetitive yet crucial tasks such as invoicing and others.

Do you find yourself needing to dedicate 2-3 days a month to put together monthly reports? Or do you need to chase every new client for days on end to ensure you have all the documentation you need from them? These and many others are the culprits preventing you from putting time and effort into scaling-driving tasks such as strategising, building relationships and improving your services. The solution to this is simple - automate the processes you have to repeat often. Not only will this grant their quicker execution but also reduce the risk of an error. Depending on the software you use and its integrations, you might also get a lot of new data and insights you can then use to identify new opportunities. 

3. You Outgrew Your Software 

If you’re already using some sort of software to automate your workflows as the previous point suggested - it might also be the root of the problem. Not every digital tool is designed to scale with the user and when that happens, the refusal to upgrade becomes prevention to growth. For example, if you are using a CRM that is limited to 50 contacts with no options for expansion, it means the very maximum of clients you can have is 50. This will prevent you from attracting and nurturing new leads, therefore staling your growth.

The wisest course of action is to choose the solution with the ability to grow alongside your business. When looking for one, study the packages offered - can you add new functionality as you go, or is it limited to a precise SLA? The flexibility of the plan indicates the software can be adjusted to your needs as opposed to having you build your work around it. Another telling factor is integrations - whether they are available, who with and if the vendor is offering a custom API option. Integrations add new functionality to the solutions you’re using, therefore expanding your reach and supporting your growth. 

4. Your Processes Are Outdated 

One thing about automation is that it isn’t the ultimate solution nor the quick fix. Simply put, the software will be doing exactly what you’re telling it to. If you have outdated or downright broken processes, you won’t be getting new results from automating them. Instead, you’ll be getting the same outcome alas faster. So, if you have new software, have put it to work and it’s not paying off - it’s time to have a look at your internal operations.

The clearest signs of your processes not being effective are the fact you need to work around them, lack of remote work support and inefficiency. Think about your day-to-day operations. Is there something your business does differently that is not very convenient? For example, do you copy-paste information from a spreadsheet into software instead of exporting/importing a .csv file? Are there some tasks your team can only perform when present on-site, like putting a project plan together? Do you knock all of the items off the to-do list and still feel as if you haven’t moved from where you were at the beginning of the day? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions - the issue is within your processes and they need to be reviewed. 

5. You Don’t Know Your Customer 

The reality is that the way you perceive your business is most likely very different from how your clients do. For example, if you’re an IT consultant, you may think that the key service you provide is disaster recovery and backup, but your clients are actually most drawn to your cyber security services. That means that if you continue putting your efforts and emphasising disaster recovery, you won’t be striking the interest of your potential clientele. With that said, it doesn’t mean they won’t be in need of your key service; but the primary reason for their interest in you is different. In other words, you are going back to our first point and are trying to sell rather than solve the issue.

Finding out if that’s your issue is probably the trickiest on the list as you will need to analyse your current clients, their buyer’s journey and interview them about their experience with you. We strongly suggest following the Jobs-To-Be-Done methodology in identifying the audience’s perception of your services. From there on, you can start working on aligning your communication and messaging to what works best with your potential audience. In other words, this would address the direct problems your target audience is trying to solve, positioning your services as the best solution.


While the consultancy market is densely populated, it’s not impossible to succeed. Most businesses run into the same set of problems that, in their essence, are not very difficult to sort. The challenge lies in identifying them correctly. The reason why your consultancy isn’t scaling is most likely within the five we’ve listed above, or maybe even a couple of them. Be honest with yourself because if you want to solve the problem, you first need to admit to having it.

No business is perfect, and hardly anyone gets it right from the get-go. There is no shame in making mistakes, however, there is no worse thing to do than deny yourself growth by abiding by the ego. Consultancies are often created by senior specialists that know all ins and outs of their industries, therefore it may be difficult to admit the wrongs - but being a good specialist and running successful consultancies are two vastly different things. View your business growth as a journey filled with learning opportunities as opposed to a challenge questioning your expertise.

Are you ready to set on that journey? Because we are - just give us a call.

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