Climb In Consulting

"Climb In Consulting" podcast interviews leaders in the management consulting field.

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Peter Reid

Latest Episodes

Episode 140: Unlocking Growth: Proven Strategies for Scaling Your Consulting Firm with Marc Jantzen

Episode 140: Unlocking Growth: Proven Strategies for Scaling Your Consulting Firm with Marc Jantzen

There are countless paths to achieving a successful consulting career, and on Climb In Consulting, we thought we’d heard them all. But who knew the secrets to scaling successful consulting firms could be learned while managing a fast-food franchise? Marc Jantzen’s unique journey to becoming the consulting expert he is today, is a masterclass in reinvention and resilience. Get ready to dig your teeth into Marc’s story, which proves that sometimes, it’s the most unexpected paths that can lead to the most exciting careers. After deciding the world of bean-counting wasn't his cup of tea, Chartered Accountant Marc took a radical leap into hospitality, taking on the role of managing a whole region of restaurants. Having gained extensive management experience in that role, Marc joined his sister's firm, Blue Sky, and together they navigated the ever-changing landscape of the consulting industry for 17 years. Their journey culminated in a major coup – selling the firm to Capita, a testament to their strategic savvy and entrepreneurial spirit. But instead of relaxing on a beach with a piña colada, as many others might have done, Marc embarked on the next stage of his adventure, advising other consulting firms on how they could achieve the growth that he and Blue Sky had. That’s when he noticed a recurring pattern – common business challenges that were specific to the consulting world. And thus, The Consultancy Growth Network was born. Something Marc and Nick talk all about in this episode. In this wisdom-packed interview, Marc shares his decades of knowledge on how to build a successful consulting firm, including: Why working for KFC head office inspired him to pursue his own consultancy. - The common challenges he sees consulting firms facing, time and time again – and how to overcome them - Why defining, and refining, your value proposition might be the most important thing you do - And how Blue Sky went from £30,000 profit one year to over £800,000 the next, and the lessons you can apply to enable your firm to do the same If you’re currently planning how to scale your consultancy over 2024 and want to know the critical steps you can take to rapidly grow your firm, then this interview is a must listen. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Marc: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thebusinessgrowthspecialist/ Learn more about The Consultancy Growth Network: https://hubs.la/Q02kQTTc0 Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: Beyond Performance by Scott Keller and Colin Price SuperCoach by Michael Neal Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
Episode 139: No Partners, No Promotions: The unorthodox path to consulting success with Simon Dixon

Episode 139: No Partners, No Promotions: The unorthodox path to consulting success with Simon Dixon

There are countless organisations out there claiming to do business differently. So much so, that ‘disruptive’ has become a permanent fixture in games of buzzword bingo. But very few organisations are actually breaking the mould, and only the rarest exceptions can truly back up their claim of disrupting the way traditional business is done. Our guest on the latest episode of Climb in Consulting is one such exception. Simon Dixon is Founder and CEO of Hatmill, the UK’s largest logistics consultancy, and no.1 in the Great Place To Work® list of the UK’s best small workplaces. The 60-strong consultancy, established in 2009, delivers end-to-end supply chain and logistics support to deliver improvements across warehousing, transport, forecasting and inventory. Hatmill was always going to be different. It arose from Simon’s dissatisfaction with the employee experience in conventional consultancies – the hierarchical structures, grades, pressure to achieve KPIs and targets, and the assumption that everyone wants to climb the greasy ladder to make partner. With Hatmill, Simon stripped all of that away. There are no grades, no managers, no sales targets and no KPIs. And while this approach may sound counterintuitive, it’s helped them build a successful consultancy that’s also recognised as one of the best places to work in Europe. In fact, in its 2023 survey, 100% of its employees said it was a great place to work. In this episode, Nick and Simon cover a lot of ground, delving into the details of how Hatmill has grown, and how it’s managed (or rather, self-managed) on a day-to-day basis. You’ll find out: - How Hatmill have built a self managed team and the key tenets that underpin their unique business model. - The reason Hatmill doesn’t have grades or promotions, and why this has been a huge contributor to their success. - Why Hatmill eschews the traditional, corporate appraisal model – and why their only measures are whether employees are living Hatmill’s values, and performance against other people’s expectations - The reason Hatmill doesn’t have traditional HR policies, and why, in an ideal world, Simon would prefer there to be no CEO at all. If you’re looking for a fresh approach to running your consultancy, this could be just what you need! We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Simon: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simon-dixon-hatmill/?originalSubdomain=uk Learn more about Hatmill: https://hatmill.com/ Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, by Frédéric Laloux The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, by Chris Voss
Episode 138:  The Power of Action: The Unconventional Path to Consulting Success with Assad Ahmed

Episode 138: The Power of Action: The Unconventional Path to Consulting Success with Assad Ahmed

In the latest episode of Climb in Consulting, we welcomed Assad Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Phase 3, the Manchester-based consultancy that provides professional and managed services across HR, payroll, and finance. As a born entrepreneur, Assad started Phase 3 at a young age, and with a self-confessed aversion to planning, he was able to grow the business through his aptitude for building relationships and a healthy dose of ‘winging it’! Since then, Phase 3 has grown to over 100 employees spread across the UK, with many of Assad’s early recruits now in management positions, including COO James Proctor, who started as one of Phase 3’s first consultants. In this episode, Nick and Assad enjoy an in-depth chat about the trajectory of Phase 3, and delve into the detail of how it evolved from Phase 3 v.1 to v.2 and beyond. They cover a whole host of fascinating topics, including: - Why getting out and doing it is the most important step an entrepreneur can take - How landing a hugely profitable client actually set the growth of the business back - How Phase 3 thrived during the 2008-9 credit crunch by focusing on the value they offered to customers - Why Assad now embraces planning – and why 90-day plans are his preferred duration - The importance of culture in Phase 3, and why Assad is a big believer in putting people first - Whether you’re at the early stages of your consulting career, a seasoned pro, or you’re planning to start your own firm, you’ll love this episode of Climb in Consulting. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Assad: https://www.linkedin.com/in/assadahmedp3c/ Learn more about Phase 3: https://phase3.co.uk/ Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: - How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie - Growth: Building a Successful Consultancy in the Digital Age by Joe O’Mahoney
Episode 137: Vision & Values: The Winning Formula Behind Enfuse Group's Success with Graeme Curwen

Episode 137: Vision & Values: The Winning Formula Behind Enfuse Group's Success with Graeme Curwen

In the latest episode of Climb in Consulting, we had the huge pleasure of talking to Graeme Curwen, Co-Founder and CEO of Enfuse Group, an award-winning Digital Transformation consultancy that delivers high-performance transformations and solutions, through a deep understanding of people and technology. As an experienced career consultant, Graeme always had an aspirations to forge his own path. This journey began when he stepped out into the world of contracting, a move that set the stage for his entrepreneurial venture. But his pivotal moment came when he reconnected with a former colleague, Harry Vazanias. This reunion was the catalyst that ultimately led them to establish Enfuse Group. The partners spent the first 3 years learning the ropes, and then one New Year’s Eve, they met to discuss their vision for the future – a 150-strong consultancy within 10 years. Fast forward 5 years and Enfuse Group are well on their way to achieving that target. They are now a firm of over 50 consultants, and they’ve recently been recognised by Best Companies as the No. 2 Best Consultancy to work for in the UK and No. 3 Best Small Company. In this episode, Nick and Graeme have an in-depth conversation about the phenomenal growth of Enfuse Group, and the shared vision and values that have driven the firm’s success. They discuss a huge range of topics, including: - The three core principles Enfuse Group was founded upon - How Graeme and Harry built a roadmap to help them achieve their ten-year plan - Why business development is a lot like managing a football team – and why everyone has their own position to play - Why doubling the firm’s monthly revenue in the space of 3 months ended up being one of the most stressful times at Enfuse Group - And the 5 key growth areas Enfuse Group are focusing on to get to the next level If you’re looking to start 2024 off on the right foot and get your consultancy set up for success, then this is a must listen! Whether you’re just starting out, already established in your consulting career, or you’re planning to start your own firm, this interview is packed full of valuable advice and insights that will help you along the way. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Graeme: https://www.linkedin.com/in/graemecurwen/ Learn more about Enfuse Group: https://www.enfusegroup.com/ Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Growth-Building-Successful-Consultancy-Digital/dp/0367710846/?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=R4ULS&content-id=amzn1.sym.3413293e-3815-4359-96ba-1ec5110e0b30&pf_rd_p=3413293e-3815-4359-96ba-1ec5110e0b30&pf_rd_r=262-1895527-3140948&pd_rd_wg=6M5ng&pd_rd_r=70608808-7a2e-46fb-a383-9740bc6e1de0&ref_=aufs_ap_sc_dsk
Episode 136: Expert Insights From The Consultancy Growth Network Annual Summit

Episode 136: Expert Insights From The Consultancy Growth Network Annual Summit

In this episode of Climb in Consulting, we’re bringing you something a little out of the ordinary, as we feature not one, but four industry titans sharing their consulting growth strategies. Nick and Frankie recently attended The Consultancy Growth Network’s (TCGN) annual summit, for a day of hugely insightful talks from leaders from across the industry. Knowing what our audience likes to learn about, we thought that this talk would make a great episode of Climb In Consulting, and are very pleased that TCGN agreed. This was a panel session focused on different strategies for growing your consultancy. The panel session, which was led by Marc Jantzen, Founder of TCGN and seasoned consulting entrepreneur, featured a heavy-weight panel of experts: - Paul Collins - Founder and Chairman of Equiteq, the advisory house specialising in global mergers and acquisitions in the consulting space. - Susan Lohr – Founder of four global businesses during her 30-year career, and currently a Partner in The Vibrant Company, a professional development consultancy. - Fred Akuffo - a renowned supply chain expert, and Founder of Olive Horse, a supply chain management consultancy that was recently acquired by PWC. In this insightful discussion, the panellists share their journeys to success and the growth strategies that worked for them. In a session packed with practical and actionable advice, here are just a few of the highlights: - The importance of making it as straightforward and easy as possible for customers to buy from you - How packaging up your services and productising your consultancy can unlock huge growth - The key questions you need to ask before moving into a new geographical market - The pros and cons of using channel partnerships as a primary growth strategy - Why the partnership model doesn’t work for every firm The panellists also offer advice and insights on a wide range of topics from raising finance, maintaining healthy margins and scaling through acquisitions, to building a strong culture and the challenges involved in setting up overseas. If you’re looking for something to help you start 2024 in the best way possible, then this episode is a must-listen! Reach out to the panel: Marc Jantzen - https://www.linkedin.com/in/thebusinessgrowthspecialist/?originalSubdomain=uk Paul Collins - https://www.linkedin.com/in/pecollins/ Susan Lohr - https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-lohr-12146a/ Fred Akuffo - https://www.linkedin.com/in/fred-akuffo-6a3953/ You can Learn more about The Consultancy Growth Network - https://www.consultancygrowthnetwork.com/
Episode 135: Mental Health, Impostor Syndrome and Making Partner, with Chris Southwell

Episode 135: Mental Health, Impostor Syndrome and Making Partner, with Chris Southwell

Welcome to the latest episode of Climb In Consulting! This time around, we were delighted to welcome Chris Southwell, Partner at The Berkeley Partnership, the consultancy that helps organisations transform under the most complex, challenging, and high-stakes circumstances to achieve their ambitions. This thought-provoking episode of Climb in Consulting focuses primarily on a topic that’s incredibly close to Chris’s heart – mental health and wellbeing. In this one, Chris talks openly and honestly about his struggles with mental health, and how his difficult upbringing led to a hugely challenging period in his life, when he first became a father. It was this that led him to seek professional help and focus on getting himself mentally well. Chris worked hard to overcome his challenges and return to health, although as he points out himself, we are all a work in progress. After returning to work, Chris went on to make Partner (with a small detour along the way), and has since seen Berkeley go from strength-to-strength. As well as talking candidly about his own mental health struggles, Chris and Nick cover a host of fascinating topics in this episode, including: - Chris’s challenging start in life, and how he came to see his upbringing as a strength and motivating force - The three things Chris swears by to protect his mental and physical health - Why Chris recommends talking therapies for everyone - Why it’s vital to normalise and remove the taboo around mental health …and much more! If you’re currently wrestling with your own mental health challenges, or maybe you just want to keep your mental health as good as it can be, you’re going to find this episode invaluable. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Chris: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-southwell/ Learn more about The Berkeley Partnership: https://www.berkeleypartnership.com/ Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: Atomic Habits by James Clear https://www.helloself.com/ https://www.createengage.co.uk/podcasts/michael-mahony-the-berkeley-partnership/
Episode 134: Changing Tracks: How One Train Journey Changed The Course of a Career, with Paul Pugh

Episode 134: Changing Tracks: How One Train Journey Changed The Course of a Career, with Paul Pugh

Our guest on the latest episode of Climb in Consulting has an incredibly inspiring – and cinematic - story to tell. Since 2022, Paul Pugh has been CEO at Mason Advisory, an award-winning digital and technology consultancy that solves complex business challenges through intelligent use of IT. Skipping back a few years, Paul had been firmly on the partner track at KPMG when he found himself boarding a train he was never supposed to take. On board, a chance meeting led to an offer that would go on to change the course of his career. It was thanks to this ‘sliding doors moment’, that he ended up taking a director role at Mason Advisory, which back in 2016 was still a fledgling firm. In this episode, Nick and Paul have an in-depth chat about his career, how Mason Advisory has scaled, and of course *that* train encounter. As well as all that, they also cover a whole host of fascinating topics, including: - What led to Paul’s decision to jump off the partner track at KPMG and take a leap into the unknown - The importance of finding a role that allows you to stay true to your values - How the team at Mason Advisory scaled the business, despite the challenging times - Why he’s a big believer in giving people opportunities to flourish – and why we tend to learn the most during times of crisis Whether you’re just starting out in your consulting career, planning to start a new firm, or thinking of switching tracks in your career, this episode is a must listen. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Paul: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-pugh-4823a713/ Learn more about Mason Advisory: https://www.masonadvisory.com Books mentioned in the show: Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, by Jim Collins
Episode 133: Reinventing Consulting: How adversity led to employee owned success, with Matt Cheung

Episode 133: Reinventing Consulting: How adversity led to employee owned success, with Matt Cheung

In this week’s episode, Nick chats with Matt Cheung, CEO at Clarasys, the international business consulting firm, focused on delivering the best possible experiences for their clients and their people. Regular listeners may recognise Matt’s name, and that’s because Matt was the very first guest on Climb In Consulting. Having previously talked about the origins of Clarasys and Matt’s journey to founding the business in that episode, Nick and Matt wanted to do something a little different with this one, and use it as a chance to go into detail on many of the principles behind Claraysis’s success. In this Conversation Nick and Matt talk about a range of topics that challenge the common orthodoxy in consulting, as Matt shares his perspective on why these widely held beliefs are actually holding people and consultancies back. They cover some fascinating areas, including: - Why Matt believes the traditional hierarchical approach to running organisations has had its day - The importance of being open and honest with your people, even in difficult times - Why Matt thinks many Consultants are unhappy – and the ingredients we all need to find happiness at work - How and why Matt took the decision to turn Clarasys into an Employee Ownership Trust …and much more besides, including a chat about Matt’s fascinating book ‘Trust and Patience’ – the story of how he built Clarasys. So if you’re just starting out on your consulting journey, thinking of making the leap from firm to founder, or simply enjoy listening to values-driven success stories, you’ll love this episode of Climb in Consulting. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Matt: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattcheungclarasys/ Learn more about Clarasys: https://www.clarasys.com/ Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: Trust and Patience, by Matt Cheung and Samantha Roberts Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, by Frédéric Laloux Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink Corporate Rebels: Make work more fun by Joost Minnaar, Pim de Morree The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, by Amy C. Edmondson
Episode 132: The Broken Excel Sheet that Built a Consulting Empire, with Anush Newman

Episode 132: The Broken Excel Sheet that Built a Consulting Empire, with Anush Newman

In this week’s episode, Nick chats with Anush Newman, Managing Director at JMAN Group, the global data consultancy specialising in the private equity market. Anush’s story makes for a fascinating listen. He cut his consulting teeth in the oil and gas industry, working in roles that took him all over the world, to locales as exotic as Kazakhstan, Sellafield and Northern Scotland! After tiring of all the travel, Anush embarked on a successful contracting career which eventually led (by way of a broken spreadsheet!) to the creation of JMAN, the global data consultancy Anush founded with his cousin Leo. Fast forward to today, and JMAN now a team of over 200 consultants working across London and Chenai with plans for further global expansion. Earlier this year, they were recognised as one of the Times ‘Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies’ with an annual growth rate of over 80%. But Anush and JMAN’s journey hasn’t been without its hiccups, and in this episode Anush shares openly the challenges they faced and how they managed to turn them around to go from almost going under to becoming one of the UK’s fastest growing firms. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a whole host of other fascinating topics that Nick and Anush discuss in this one, including… - Anush’s decision to move from the stress-free world of contracting to running his own firm - How breaking a client’s Excel spreadsheet led to the lightbulb moment behind JMAN - The single-minded approach that led to JMAN breaking into the private equity market - Creating a ‘one-team’ culture in an organisation that spans the globe If you want to learn the secrets of someone who’s gone from contractor to successful consulting leader, then this episode is a must listen. We hope you enjoy the show! Reach out to Anush: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anush-newman-b314476/ Learn more about JMAN: https://jmangroup.com/ Books, magazines, and websites mentioned in the show: Legacy: What The All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business Of Life, by James Kerr The Captain Class: The Hidden Force Behind the World’s Greatest Teams, by Sam Walker The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking, by Barbara Minto

Bio of Climb In Consulting

"Climb In Consulting" is a podcast aimed at helping management consultants accelerate their careers by interviewing leaders in the field to share their advice, tips, and strategies for success. The host, a management consultant himself, recognizes that not everyone has access to senior partners and mentors who can provide guidance and support on a regular basis. The podcast aims to fill this gap by featuring deep dives into the backgrounds and experiences of senior figures in the industry.

The podcast is brought to listeners by Create Engage, a digital marketing agency that helps management consulting firms leverage the power of digital marketing to grow their businesses. The agency recognizes that many consulting firms still rely solely on corporate blogs as their digital marketing channels, and aims to provide knowledge, capacity, and in-house capability to help these firms achieve better results. With "Climb In Consulting" and Create Engage, management consultants have access to resources that can help them accelerate their careers and grow their businesses.

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