How I Went from Generalist to Specialist Consultant


How do you decide which type of doctor to go to?

If you’re like most people, for common medical conditions you’ll see a general practitioner (GP). 

But if it’s serious and you need surgery, you may see a general surgeon or if it’s more serious, you’ll see a specialist surgeon. 

In a vast majority of cases, a GP earns less than a general surgeon who earns less than a specialist surgeon. 

Why? Because the more serious a problem is, the more valuable its solution is perceived to be.

I experienced this first hand in my own consulting business. A few years into starting my business, I served everybody. Any business, large or small from any industry who wanted a business plan or strategic plan.

The fee was lower than premium but the profits were still acceptable. That’s why I felt no pressure to change for years. But the more I learned about how to build a professional services business, the more I realized that becoming a specialist was the way to go. 

So I doubled down and focused on solving a serious problem for the academia market. We helped universities plan and launch new businesses. The more my firm served this segment, the better we understood its specific and nuanced problems.  

Fees increased, profits increased, we got better referrals and sales cycles decreased. We used the profits to hire more qualified and experienced consultants and also invested in building a sales pipeline.

One other thing we changed while going from generalist to specialist was this: creating a transformative consulting offering. We no longer offered services for simple, random problems but focused on solving the client’s core challenge.

It was a game changer for us. If you’re curious to know what we did and how you can do this for your own practice or firm, I talked about this in my most recent Consulting Growth Hour event last week, “How to structure and win $100k consulting deals.” 

Happy to share the video (~60 mins) if you’re interested. Comment on this linkedIn post and I’ll send it to you.

Ready to add $100k-$500k revenue to your consulting business in 12 months or less without burning out? Schedule a call and let me show you how.

Image credit: Nias Nyalada