Can you make more money from your consulting business by offering lower costs?
No, this is not suggesting that you cut prices on the services you already offer. But is it possible to develop new less expensive services for potential customers who couldn’t afford your current services anyway?
That’s just what Brad Farris (pictured above), founder of Chicago-based Anchor Advisors, Ltd., did. About four years ago, he launched EnMast. Today, it functions as an online extension of his small business consulting firm.
“I was getting a lot of calls from people out of the Chicago area and small companies that can’t afford to hire a consulting firm,” Farris told Small Business Trends.
Eventually, Farris hit on the idea to found a “self-service” website to assist these companies unable to work with Anchor.
Small business startups stand to benefit the most from hiring consulting firms.
But in one of the many paradoxes of life and business, startups also are less likely to hire consultancies because of cost.
For these businesses, EnMast offers resources such as document templates, advice and motivational content, videos and webinars. And all of this is at a lower cost than working one-on-one with a more traditional consultant.
Both entities — the website and the consultancy — provide small businesses with assistance and strategies to help them grow and operate more effectively.
EnMast is for small businesses that have hired 2 to 10 employees, Farris said. It is designed to serve as a tool to help “accelerate growth.” Anchorage, meanwhile, is for small businesses with 10 or more employees. But the companies are connected. Anchor Advisors’ now offers EnMast as an additional service to its prospective clients.
The companies also are connected via the naming strategy. As EnMast notes on its website:
“The mast of the ship is the connecting point. The sails are attached to the mast to drive the ship; in stormy seas sailors lash themselves to the mast to keep them from falling overboard. “En Masse” means all together, as a group. So we put them together to create a place where we can come together, as a group and get connected.”
Small businesses, by nature, are accustomed to navigating stormy seas. They face many uncertainties early on.
“There are so many ways to do it wrong,” Farris added.
In fact, EnMast has even used that fact to create some helpful content on things that can go wrong when starting a business. Creatively packaged, the website offered it one year as a holiday content selection the New York Times described as “business horror stories in honor of Halloween.”
EnMast is there so small businesses are don’t to start with a blank piece of paper, Farris explains. “There is a template for a job description, in case they have never written one,” he says. Also available are templates for sales plans and for other key documents that small business owners need to write.
“The templates are only a starting place. Business owners can customize from there,” Farris said.
EnMast began as a blog. But today the website also offers a comprehensive assortment of these templates and tools numbering at around 70 and growing. Also offered is a steady flow of small business related articles, ebooks, videos and webinars.
“We are starting to really build it out now,” Farris said.
Interested parties can visit EnMast and gain access to the site’s five most popular tools for free.
Then, if they want to dig deeper and use more of the site’s resources, they can pay a onetime fee of $300 for full access.
Farris said around 1,500 small business owners now subscribe to EnMast.
He added that the site’s clients generally are service providers rather than product companies.
“We have a lot of writers, graphics designers, Web designers,” he said.
Podcasts are an additional resource EnMast is working on providing soon.
Image: Brad Farris, EnMast