After eight years, I have a pretty good handle on how to run a successful software consultancy. These are my three biggest takeaways.
1. Define success.
Someone who has 100 employees and $10 million in annual revenue isn’t inherently more successful than you are. Success is getting what you truly want, not what you think you should want.
Do you want a lifestyle business where you can work 20 hours a week from the beach? Do you want a small team to help you get there and all share in the spoils of war? Figure out what you want and work backward from there. If you don’t, it’s really easy to fall into a business you don’t want.
2. Act like you have a business, not a hobby.
You may have started your business partly so that you can do all the parts of the job you like. Unfortunately, you’re now also stuck with the parts you don’t like until you can hire someone to do them for you. This includes maintaining professional communications with your customers. If you want that professional money, you have to do a professional job.
3. Put an actionable plan in place.
If you’ve defined success, how do you know if you are on the right path? Set a goal of what things look like for you three years into the future. Things such as:
- How many employees do you want?
- What is the office environment?
- What is the culture?
- How much money do you want to be making?
Break that down into what do you have to hit at the end of this year and next year to hit your three-year goal, but don’t stop there. Take each of your annual goals and start making them quarterly items that need to be completed. Then, work backward into weekly tasks.
That’s it. Do those things and follow them up with some hard work, and I have every confidence you can have a successful software consultancy for as long as you want. Or at least until computers learn to program themselves and take over the world.