I recently completed a course at Portland Community College--the ACE Program--Architects, Contractors and Engineers. The class was sponsored by the US Small Business Administration and is designed to help small business find solutions to increase competitiveness to help their business grow and evolve.
The course wrapped up just a few months after my first year in business. Some of the discussion topics overlapped issues that I have experienced on consulting in a small business format:
· Elements of one’s business, like accounting or bookkeeping are teachable skill sets, but most elements of a business for consultants, are much more nuanced in nature and do not form a step by step path that can be replicated for all situations.
· This was especially true for discussions on setting billable rates: you can create a billable rate based on an understanding of job costing (those elements that it takes to do the work) but in the end, that number has to be in-line with the rest of the market to ring true.
· There is strength in numbers when small firms collaborate, but many advantages for large firms remain when proposing on large projects. Collaboration networks between local small firms is critical for success.
· The class was great for networking, but overall, the content was more in-line with construction or production firms - companies with more defined outputs.
I’d love to hear from you if you have a small consulting firm and want to talk about a collaborative network—Please get in touch!