image for post - FT049: How to Create a World-Class Consulting Business with David Mansilla

FT049: How to Create a World-Class Consulting Business with David Mansilla

Let's be honest here, being an entrepreneur is hard. The uncertainty of getting clients, the ebb and flow of projects, the black and red in your bank account, the growth of your waistline, the long hours trying to make it all work, ... Didn't mean to stress you out. Take a deep breath and then listen to the story of a hard-working guy who has been there, but then pulled his resources, changed his outlook and created a world-class consulting business.

Over the last decade, David Mansilla built his business from the ground up, learning as he encountered all those problems and more, but he never gave up. He tells us how he overcame the problem of growing his business too quickly, how to delegate, how to get clients, and most importantly, how to be calendar-independent and have time to live a full meaningful life.

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David shares with us:

  • The perils of growing the business too quickly: Sure you might make more money with more people and projects, but the costs of all those people on payroll will take away most of the profit. And the stress of constantly finding more and more clients will take away your health. At it's biggest, David's consulting business employed 75 people, but that wasn't sustainable. The projects dried up and he was forced to do lay-offs.
  • How to cut the fat: First, take another look at your values and why you want to run your own business. It has to be more than just money, it has to be meaningful and add value to the world.
    Delegate! Only hire the best people in the world, people who are smarter than you because they need to do the things you can't. Keep delegating responsibilities until there is nothing left for you to do, but to manage the high level stuff.
  • How to invest in your business: First and foremost, try to spend less money than you make. For the money you have left over, put it into three pockets:
    • The Security Pocket: 40% of your profits should be productively tucked away and available if you need it. David highly recommends that you have a good relationship with local banks if you need a line of credit or a loan. David's security pocket is in real estate, which lets him acquire interest and still be able to readily access the money if he needs to.
    • The Growth Pocket: 40% of your profit should be invested in high risk processes and products that may help your business grow or be more efficient. You could develop new products internally to provide value to the company while also training people on project management. It's better to fail and learn from an internal project than a client's project.
    • The Dream Pocket: 20% of profits should go towards dream goals, such as going to conferences and traveling to explore new markets and meet new people. David uses this pocket to take his family on vacations while he is also networking with people around the world, looking for rockstar developers and potential collaborators or clients.
  • How to make the most out of conferences: Check out the conference as a walker first to see if it really is the right audience before jumping in with a $5,000 booth. Don't be the business card collector. Instead, find one or two people who share your values and you think you can work with, then follow up with them. Networking may not payoff right away, but don't underestimate good relationships and word of mouth.

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