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How to Grow a Consulting Practice - With Michael Zipursky

Aug 09, 2021

Tom Bailey, founder of Succeed Through Speaking, interviews Michael Zipursky.

Michael Zipursky is the CEO of Consulting Success® where they specialize in helping entrepreneurial consultants grow profitable, scalable and strategic consulting businesses. He has advised organizations like Financial Times, Dow Jones, RBC, and helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets, but more importantly, he’s helped over 500 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add 6 and 7 figures to their annual revenues.

Why you've got to check out Michael's episode:

- Discover how Michael supports entrepreneurial consultants i.e. solo consultants or firm owners who want to build a business, be strategic about it and make great impact while they are doing it.

- How a lot of his clients are struggling with both growth and growing in a consistent way, and the need to ensure they are making the right decisions.

- Why a lack of confidence and self-esteem can lead to business owners sometimes jumping around from one shiny object to another. And how important foundations are for these business owners.

- Understand the several key areas that are critical for business growth - including finding clarity around client identity, defining a magnetic message that will resonate with your audience and how marketing tactics stop working if you don't get these two right first.

- The importance of a strategic offer when you are providing a service that people really want to buy, and how your offer aligned with your personal business needs.

- How to get access to a FREE Consulting Success Blueprint to dive deeper into a lot of the topics covered in today's episode.

Resources / Links


Tom Bailey: Hello and welcome to Succeed Through Speaking the place for experts and entrepreneurs who want high value ideas to boost business results.

Hello, I'm Tom Bailey. And in today's episode, I'll be getting to know Michael Zipursky, who is the CEO of consulting success, who specialize in helping entrepreneurial consultants to grow profitable, scalable, and strategic consulting businesses. So, Michael, hello and a very warm welcome to today's episode.

Michael Zipursky: Yeah,  great to be with you, Tom. Thanks for having me.

Tom Bailey: Appreciate it, and just out of interest for people listening, whereabouts are you in the world right now?

Michael Zipursky: I'm in Vancouver, BC at the moment. If it wasn't in the times that we are in, I might be somewhere else. Cause I do like to travel the world as much as possible with my family.

Tom Bailey: Absolutely hoping that hopefully that world opens back up for even the next coming months.

Michael Zipursky: I look forward to it for everybody. 

Tom Bailey: Yeah. Great. So I’m just gonna share a little bit more about you before we do get started. So, Michael has advised organizations like the financial times, Dow Jones, RBC and Panasonic. And in addition has helped over 500 consultants from around the world in 75 different studies add six and seven figures to that annual revenues. The title for today's episode is How To Grow A Consulting Practice. And Michael will show us how to do that in just seven minutes. So question number one today is who are your ideal clients?

Michael Zipursky: Yeah, you mentioned that Tom, I mean, they are entrepreneurial consultants and that really means it's a concern. That might be a solo consultant or a firm owner, but they want to build a business. They're not just thinking about doing the work, which can you still call yourself a consultant, but you could essentially be a contractor entrepreneurial consultants or those that really want to build a business, be strategic about it and make a great impact while they're doing it.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic. Great. And when you look at your typical clients, what would you say is the main challenge that they face.

Michael Zipursky: Yeah, it's growth and growing in a consistent way. So really feeling confident that they know what they're doing, that they're focusing on the right activities. They have the right strategy, they have the right tactics and they're seeing their business growing in a consistent way. That's what, that's what most people are lacking, what we're looking for support with.

Tom Bailey: Great. And then you mentioned consistency a few times there, so let's think. Inconsistency. What's the biggest impact that that might have on their business or themselves?

Michael Zipursky: Yeah, I mean, it's, first of all, internally, it's a feeling of a lack of confidence. Sometimes it can impact your self-esteem. You might wonder, am I doing the right thing? Externally what, what you might see as people jumping around from one shiny object to the next kind of in each of the, you know, the golden goose or the, the golden egg, you know, that, that secret that shortcut that somehow will magically get them to where they want to go to. But most often that's not the case. What we've seen pretty consistently is that, you know, you need to have a foundation.

Tom Bailey: Yeah. Got it. Okay, perfect. So, I guess foundation is a good starting point as ever. What are the, or what one piece of advice would you like to give to somebody to say, you know, this is what you need to do to really get started.

Michael Zipursky: Yeah. So, if we look at there's several key areas that are really critical very often when people say, you know, I'm, I'm having a problem, generating leads, my marketing is working for me, or I'm not seeing growth the way that I'd like to. I know that I have more potential inside of me and just, I'm just kind of hitting a wall or at a plateau when we kind of analyze where they are. In almost all cases. We see the number one, they don't have clarity around who their ideal client is. They're too broad. They're too wide. Number two, they don't have what we call a magnetic message. That's a message that gets the attention and interest of your ideal clients. Get some raising their hand.

They say, yeah, you know, I want to have a conversation with you. Those two have to go together. You can't have a message. That's going to resonate with somebody. If you don't know who you actually want to get there at 10. And, and that's those two, the lack of those two often lead to marketing that doesn't work. So, people that are hunting around trying to find the right tactic to work for them, and they're not getting results with it. It's usually not a tactic it's they don't have the foundation around those two elements. The third is that what we call strategic offers. And this is really about how you take all of your years of experience, your expertise.

How do you package it, position it, place value on it and price it strategically. So that number one, it aligns with what your ideal clients actually want to buy, which therefore makes that kind of dirty word of sales fuel really great. Cause you end up just providing somebody what they want to buy. But also you, when you are strategic about how you think about your strategic offers, you really are building it building your, your offers and your, and you know, your services in a way that aligns with your business model.

And that's really important so that you don't wake up one day and go, wow, I've built this beast. All I've really done is create another job for myself. I'm working more hours than I was from mine, a lawyer before, and I'm not really making that much more money. And so, you want to be very intentional, intentional about what your offers are and how they all go together and kind of leverage do they, do they have the right pricing strategy, all that. So it's packaged in a way that works both for the market and the client that you want to serve and for your own.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic. Love that. So, like you said, a lot of importance of niche and getting that right message in front of the right market. And then obviously coming up with that strategic offer to make sure that it does land really well in, in front of that market. Fantastic. And to help people with this, do you have any resources or anything you can offer to help people get stuck?

Michael Zipursky: Yeah, I mean, so we've actually put together some of our most popular articles and resources that, that go in a lot more depth than the seven minutes or seven questions that we have today. If anyone wants to, you know, you can get a free copy of that. It's called the consulting blueprint. If you go to / blueprint it's a 47 page guide, a lot of detail on these topics in here, feel free to grab a copy of that.

Tom Bailey: Incredible. And what I'll do then is I'll put that into the show notes and that link again is consulting And like I said, you can click on that in the show notes and jump in. So interesting. Yeah. Question then about yourself, Michael, mainly cause I'm interested. What would you say is one of the greatest either mistakes or failures you've made either in life or business and what did you learn?

Michael Zipursky: Yeah. I mean, so the first thing just to be very transparent is I don't look at really anything that I've done as, as a failure. Yeah. I don't use the word failure because to me, every quote, unquote failure is just, it's a lesson learned that's the first just to, to hopefully share with people. And you know, I'm very intentional about that. But when I look at areas where I've had some great lessons and you can certainly call them mistakes or errors in judgment at that time or wrong decisions. I think that most of them come back to this idea of thinking short-term over. Long-term. So earlier in my career you know, I made decisions around certain investments where maybe I was drawn to the more, because I saw that they could provide a really good return or, you know, I thought that it would be a very positive return in a short period of time.

Excited about that. And didn't really think through the long-term consequences or what you know, I didn't weigh the risk and rewards. And so that's something that I've been much more intentional about over the years that to try and always think long-term and everything that we do, because especially when you're in a business like the consulting business it's a relationship based, but. And your reputation and the relationship that you have with people or even the marketplace of the community that you serve is, is absolutely critical. And so, it's really important that you're always thinking long-term

Tom Bailey: Fantastic, great perspective on the growth mindset in terms of switching a failure into a learning opportunity. And then obviously, like you said, that long-term view as well. So last question from me today is what is the one question that I should have asked you that will also bring some great value to our readers?

Michael Zipursky: Yeah. I mean, if there's so much that we could always talk about Tom, when it comes to building a successful consulting business, I think one topic that can benefit a lot of people would be around delegation and how to really shift from being a solo consultant or solo. You know, whether you're a speaker or an agency owner or whatever, area, you know, kind of what are type of entrepreneur you're in to really thinking about building a team in a way that is strategic, where there's leverage, where it's profitable. I mean, there's a lot that goes into it. So, a big topic. I have some of that in the, in that consulting blueprint that we mentioned earlier, but happy to share anything that would be helpful in the time that we have today.

You let me know, but that's definitely an important transition that I think very often people put off way too long and they tell themselves all kinds of reasons like, yeah, you know, I don't want to pay somebody. I could just do it faster myself, or I can do it better, but it takes too long to train somebody. I don't want to manage people. But it's, you know, you will always reach a point. There's very few people that are able to consistently make greater and greater impacts. Higher and higher levels of success all by themselves. The vast majority of people will need at some point to look at ways to bring in more leverage, whether it's through productization or some other form or building a team and delegating. And so I think that's an area that a lot of people could benefit from, you know, studying and going deeper.

Tom Bailey: Fantastic really important point to end on, and it's amazing how much you've packed into that seven minutes. Really appreciate it. And thanks again for coming on today and yeah, thanks for coming in and sharing such great value with that one.

Michael Zipursky: My pleasure, Tom, you, you put a kind of a big task too on how to build a successful consulting business. Seven minutes. I don't think I did that anywhere near justice, but I hope there's a few ideas or points in there that are helpful for people.

Tom Bailey: Of course. And plenty more advice on consulting