The Consulting Growth Podcast

The Consulting Growth Podcast is hosted by Professor Joe O'Mahoney.

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Latest Episodes

Transforming Consultancy with Productisation and Automation: Tim Redgate of Axioned

Transforming Consultancy with Productisation and Automation: Tim Redgate of Axioned

Imagine if you could transform your consultancy's repetitive tasks into a unique service offering or automate more of your back-office? That's precisely what our guest, Tim Redgate Strategy Director of Axioned, discusses in this fascinating episode of Consulting Growth. We dive deep into the concept of productisation and how it can be a game-changer for consultancies and professional service firms.

I kick off the conversation with Tim by exploring the role of tech investments for decision-makers and the potential benefits and pitfalls of productising people services. We share essential strategies, including the significance of having a passionate product owner, a dedicated team, clear goals, and budget constraints. We also highlight why it's crucial to start with a feasibility study or proof of concept before jumping into the deep end.

Later, we venture into the exciting realm of automated workflows and productisation. Imagine having a tool that could streamline your consultancy's repetitive tasks – that's the power of automation. We also discuss AI's potential across various industries and its possible impact on the consulting industry.  Tim also shares his experience with low-code and no-code solutions and how they can help to supercharge the first stages of product development. Join us on this fascinating journey, where we explore the cutting-edge intersection of technology and consulting.

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Building & Selling a PR & Communications Boutique with Jessica Schaefer of Bevel

Building & Selling a PR & Communications Boutique with Jessica Schaefer of Bevel

What does it truly take to build a PR and communication firm that stands tall among the giants? Today, we're joined by Jessica Schaefer, founder of Bevel, a strategic PR and communications firm that has carved a unique niche at the intersection of financial services and technology. Jessica's remarkable journey takes us from her start in the throes of the Great Recession, through prestigious companies like Moody's to the establishment of her own game-changing venture. Learn how Bevel's strategic approach of applying a hedge fund-based performance model to communications, coupled with a focus on quarterly KPIs and bonuses tied to client retention, set it apart in an intensively competitive market.

Dive into the heart of the challenges and rewards of creating a consultancy powerhouse with us. Jessica offers an insider's view into the delicate art of managing clients, nurturing talent, and maintaining a work-life balance while steering a successful firm. Our conversation touches on the factors that contributed to the impressive acquisition multiple on Bevel's sale, providing valuable insights into the business of PR and the nuances of selling an enterprise. Strap in for a thrilling exploration of the world of entrepreneurship that every aspiring professional should hear.

As we navigate through the rapidly evolving landscape of communications and technology, Jessica shares her perspective on the future of Bevel and its synergies with Avenue Z. The focus is also on their recent acquisitions and the increasing emphasis on digital marketing, PR, and influencer strategies. The conversation delves into the importance of attracting and retaining top talent and how Bevel's dedication to meaningful work and ownership has been a critical factor in their success. We wrap up with a deep dive into the benefits and challenges of being a young, female founder from a non-privileged background. This is an episode you won't want to miss. Tune in for a truly inspirational journey and invaluable lessons for emerging entrepreneurs.

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 27: Leadership Appointments and Succession Planning with Deri Hughes, Caroline Boston and Simon Hemsley

Episode 27: Leadership Appointments and Succession Planning with Deri Hughes, Caroline Boston and Simon Hemsley

Want the inside scoop on how to successfully navigate senior leadership appointments in consultancies? Don’t miss an enlightening conversation with our experts, Deri, Simon, and Caroline as they pull back the curtain on designing organisational structure, performance management systems, and effective team engagement to prepare for a prosperous exit. 

We discuss strategies for growth and succession planning. Listen and learn from the experts as they share their personal experiences and strategies on building both internal capability and external recruitment to catapult a business to its desired size. Overcome the hurdles of building a talent pipeline and uncover the ways to maximize value at an equity event. Also, unearth the importance of finding the right people to fill gaps in your business and how to quickly make them value accretive.

Finally, we explore the recruitment order for growing boutique firms, the roles necessary as a firm expands, and the significance of each role in the business. Take note of the importance of a Chief Operations Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, the role of an operations lead, and when it's crucial to have these roles within your firm. Also, learn about constructing internal capability and external recruitment strategies to facilitate growth. Prepare yourself for an informative and insightful episode that you simply can't afford to miss.

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 27: Culture, AI and Growth with David Fields

Episode 27: Culture, AI and Growth with David Fields

Welcome to a captivating conversation with David Fields. David is does similar work to me, but on the other side of the Atlantic. 

Ever wondered how small consulting firms manage to compete in an oversaturated market? David offers his perspective on the role of marketing and the power of referrals, inviting us to question our own strategies. Finding effective differentiation in the sea of sameness, they say, comes down more to reliability and credibility than standing out. 

We chat about Artificial Intelligence and its potential impact on the industry. AI's ability to enhance solutions, streamline operations, revolutionize communication, and even manage information storage and dissemination might just be the game-changer we're all waiting for. But what if AI could also create custom bots for clients (it can now!) and play devil’s advocate?

Finally, we dive deep into the art of building a consulting firm for not just short-term wins but long-term success. The secret lies in creating a culture that's satisfying and profitable for everyone, from the owners to the partners. David illuminates the nuanced difference between a firm built to last and one polished for sale, sparking a thought-provoking conversation about the balancing act of competing in two markets - clients and employees. This is a critical examination of the consulting industry that you won't want to miss. Tune in to gain valuable insights from two seasoned professionals.

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 25: Meg Newhouse: From Clinical Psychology to the Boardroom

Episode 25: Meg Newhouse: From Clinical Psychology to the Boardroom

Have you ever wondered how an aspiring clinical psychologist ended up co-founding a successful tech consulting firm? That's exactly the intriguing journey of Meg Newhouse, our guest for this episode. We get a fascinating peek into Meg's career pivots, starting with her initial discovery of the field of instructional design and her subsequent roles in a tech company and a large consulting firm. Her company, Inspirant Group, was sold to 10Pearls in 2023.

Meg shares how she went from writing training programs to building her boutique learning and development consulting firm. She vividly explains how the Inspirant Group was born when a good friend asked her to help build a consulting firm. In this episode, we dig into the nitty-gritty of how the Inspirant Group's founding team disrupted the consulting industry. They established their core values and behaviors and created an attractive culture for potential team members. We also touch upon the importance of resource utilization and the pitfalls of solely focusing on it.

Our conversation takes us to the complexities of being a solo entrepreneur and the crucial role of transparency and trust among co-founders. Meg reveals how they balanced decision-making processes, incentivized employees beyond sales, and kept company secrets. To top it all off, she discusses the crucial aspects of preparing for exit strategies, constructing a fair bonus structure, and the importance of engaging a broker during a company sale. This conversation is a treasure trove of insights for anyone interested in entrepreneurship and team-building.

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 24 - Pritul Khagram, Founder of People Force

Episode 24 - Pritul Khagram, Founder of People Force

Pritul is now a Director at PWC after selling his firm, People Force to the company in April 2023. 

People Force was a Consultancy specialising in people technology services, payroll & immigration. Since 2013, the company grew organically & through acquisition. Pritul led the company through year-on-year growth, which included an astonishing 237% growth during the pandemic. 

Pritul successfully sold People Force to PwC UK, where he now works as a Director within HR Technology in the People & Organisation team. Here, with others Pritul is leading the Ceridian Dayforce practice. Starting with a practice size of 60 in April 2023, which includes 50 people that joined through the acquisition of People Force, this team is expected to increase to 100 by the end of 2023. PwC UK has become the largest Global Ceridian implementation partner in the EMEA Region. Projects are delivered in various market segments to include Majors, Enterprise and Large Enterprise. 

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 23 - Dr. Geoff Smart, Founder and Chairman of ghSMART

Episode 23 - Dr. Geoff Smart, Founder and Chairman of ghSMART

Geoff Smart is the chairman & founder of ghSMART, a global leadership advisory, education, and analytics firm. Geoff founded the firm whilst doing his PhD in 1995 and it now employs over 200 people helping Fortune 500 CEOs & boards, entrepreneurs, and heads of state to achieve their goals through hiring, developing, and leading talented teams.

ghSMART is remarkable for it's strong positioning with the leadership suite of some of the leading companies in the world - something that even the biggest firms struggle to achieve. 

ghSMART is ranked #1 on Glassdoor among top firms in consulting, finance, and tech, with a 4.7/5.0 overall rating. It is also ranked #1 on the Great Place to Work index among top professional services firms. In 2023, Vault named ghSMART the #1 consulting firm in its industry (ranked above McKinsey, Bain, and BCG) in the categories of overall colleague satisfaction, compensation, selectivity, challenge, client interaction, work-life balance, (few) hours in an office, best boutique, business outlook, and overall diversity.

Dr. Smart has written three bestselling books. Who: The A Method for Hiring (Smart & Street) is a New York Times bestseller that is currently ranked #1 on Amazon.com on the topic of hiring talented teams. Power Score:  Your Formula for Leadership Success (Smart, Street, and Foster) is a Wall Street Journal bestseller, and appeared on an international newspaper’s list of “The 10 Best Business Books of 2015.” The CEO Next Door (Botelho & Powell) is a critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller. In addition, Dr. Smart published Leadocracy: Hiring More Great Leaders (Like You) into Government, a New York Times bestseller which won the IPPY Award and the Axiom Book Award for #1 Best Business Book of the Year. He earned a B.A. in Economics with honors from Northwestern University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University, where he was a student of management thought leader Peter F. Drucker.

ghSMART makes an impact in the broader community. Dr. Smart founded a not-for-profit leadership development organization which became the Colorado Governors Fellowship Program, and he currently serves on the Board of Trustees of CiviCo. ghSMART colleagues donate hundreds of hours per year to advising leaders who make the world a better place.

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 22 - Todd Johnson (Nexer) and Mike Sigler (Rangeline)

Episode 22 - Todd Johnson (Nexer) and Mike Sigler (Rangeline)

Mike co-founded and grew Rangeline Solutions, an ERP solutions provider based  which was sold to Nexer  in part of their expansion across North America. 

In this episode, both Todd, the CEO of Nexer, and Mike talk about the sell and buy side of the story and how the deal was done. Mike focuses on the growth and sale of Rangeline whilst Todd tells us about the challenge and opportunity of running a growing mid-market player.

www.linkedin.com/in/toddjo/

www.linkedin.com/in/michael-sigler/

https://nexergroup.com/us/

 

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Episode 21 - Jason Averbook, CEO & Co-founder of LeapGen & Knowledge Infusion

Episode 21 - Jason Averbook, CEO & Co-founder of LeapGen & Knowledge Infusion

Among being a best-selling author, an adjunct professor and an advisory board member, Jason found the time to start Knowledge Infusion, which he eventually sold to Appirio. Three years later, he started LeapGen, a digital transformation company, which was then sold to Mercer. 

Here, he tells us about getting into people technology 'before it became trendy' and his challenges with growing two successful companies

Prof. Joe O'Mahoney helps boutique consultancies scale and exit. Joe's research, writing, speaking and insights can be found at www.joeomahoney.com



Bio of The Consulting Growth Podcast

The Consulting Growth Podcast is hosted by Professor Joe O'Mahoney, an esteemed expert in the field of consulting and a trusted growth advisor to boutique consultancies. As a Professor of Consulting at Cardiff University, Joe's extensive research, teaching, publications, and consulting experience have made him a leading authority in the consulting industry.

In The Consulting Growth Podcast, Joe engages in insightful interviews with founders who have achieved remarkable growth or successfully sold their firms. He also speaks with acquirers who have acquired consulting firms and taps into the wisdom of various growth experts. By sharing their experiences, Joe and his guests aim to help listeners avoid common mistakes and gain valuable insights from those who have navigated the consulting growth journey before.

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