Growth and Improvement at a Service Company

Identifying opportunities for growth in an intangibles-heavy company can be an exercise in abstraction. The key assets of a service company are its people, its knowledge, its processes, its relationships and even its strategy. There are no standardized sources of information on these assets. That’s why this relatively young consulting firm decided to take a baseline assessment of its intellectual capital before embarking on a strategic planning exercise.

This firm had just completed its second year in operation. It had scored some big wins with name clients. But now it needed to scale its revenue base to increase profitability and consolidate its early gains. This firm is actually a member of the IC Rating network so it decided to use the tool on itself and set up rating interviews with staff, clients and industry partners. The principal weakness highlighted by the rating was the immaturity of the firm’s business processes. Not a surprising finding for a young firm. But the results showed that it was time to grow up—it was clear that the lack of a knowledge-sharing mechanism was holding the firm back. So was the lack of a sales process—clients reported that the firm was not taking advantage of incremental sales opportunities with their companies!

The bottom line—you often don’t know until you ask. This firm received great, free advice from their own stakeholders that helped them jumpstart the next level of growth for their firm. They implemented a CRM system, a strengths-based personnel development approach and a know-how wiki. They also made a strategic new hire and implemented new branding efforts. The exercise was quick and powerful—positioning the firm for a very strong future.

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