In 2017, we decided to interview a few of our Consultants to gain some insight as to why they took the leap into consulting. We have had the privilege of working with Thomas Leonard of Leonard Strategic Advantage since 2009. He has established a successful and sustainable consulting practice and here is a bit more about his personal journey from corporate life to having his own business.
Trusted Advisors: You have been consulting for how many years?
Tom: I am in my 8th year – started during the summer of 2009.
Trusted Advisors: Why did you decide to take the leap into consulting?
Tom: Honestly I didn’t plan to. After my fifth role as company president, role number six did not present itself. I liked corporate life and operated very well in it.
Trusted Advisors: What happened or what was going on in your corporate experience that confirmed starting your own consulting practice was the right call?
Tom: As per my answer above, role six did not present itself in 2009. Neither the Great Recession nor being age 60 in February of 2009 helped me secure a desired President job.
Trusted Advisors: What was your biggest fear/s in making the leap to consulting?
Tom: My biggest concern was finding customers. I didn’t know a person in 2009 in my new location.
Trusted Advisors: How would you define your market niche?
Tom: Simple, I facilitate a dozen or more strategic plans per year, plus try to do targeted classes on topics such as sales, management, or leadership in 3 of 4 quarters. I don’t do any summer classes due to my proximity to the beach.
Trusted Advisors: What are your most successful marketing activities that generate the best leads?
Tom: Solicitations: asking for meetings whether in person, via email, via mail, or via referrals, and Networking: I average 2-3 events per week.
Trusted Advisors: Looking back, what would you have changed or done differently?
Tom: Learning more quickly that I have to average one solicitation per day to keep the sales funnel growing.
Trusted Advisors: What is your biggest piece of advice for someone considering starting a consulting practice?
Tom: You need to have the fortitude to ask for meetings and build relationships.
Trusted Advisors: How has making the move into consulting changed you personally and/or professionally?
Tom: I have always set SMART Business Goals (having started with P&G), the Trusted Advisors Processes helped me add the “Personal Wheel” to my goals, and I have had more life balance over the past 7-8 years.
Consulting has clearly kept me from getting bored, and I have learned a lot about different businesses; however, it reinforced that “the basics” of attracting and retaining customers using Peter Drucker’s Strategic Planning and Goal oriented MBOs still work very well in the 21st Century to make organizations even better!
If you want to learn how consulting might work for, you please feel free to contact Trusted Advisors.