Management consultancy comes in many forms, a full cycle approach can help you articulate and achieve your goals

By George Easton

Being too close to a business can ruin your perspective on what that business actually needs. 

I see this again and again with clients – they come to me with a list of what they want, but those wants obscure their actual goals. Someone might say they want a website, but what they’re really saying is: ‘I want a website because I need to grow my business 400% in the next four years.’

Separating wants from needs is often the first step of a full cycle business management consultancy like ion8. Those conversations might start with discussions about a website but they almost always uncover more pressing needs such as CRM, financial software, project management systems and others.

Dissembling your wants from your needs is helpful because it gets you to a place where you can articulate your vision. I like to call this exercise, ‘where in the lake is my canoe’. The client is stranded in a canoe in the middle of a lake and has no idea where they are. They call us to help them realize how far away from shore they are, so they can take the actions they need to get back on land.

Full cycle consultants are fully equipped to manage those action steps and build on them as the business evolves towards its goals. They take the long view, applying multifaceted solutions as old needs recede and new requirements come to the fore.

What’s the difference between a full service and full cycle consultancy?

The clue’s in the name. While full service management offers a few vital offerings, a full cycle consultancy is there for the entire lifecycle of your business.

Think of Deloitte, CapGemini or KPMG. They’re all examples of full service firms. Hire them and you’ll get lawyers and accountants, along with your management consultants. They tend to focus on core administrative functions only, enlisting external partners for anything outside of that remit.

A full cycle business management consultancy focuses on every stage of your business journey, with everything done in-house. They cover the essentials as well as a range of ancillary services from branding and content marketing, all the way through to client ambassadorship.

The full cycle consultancy toolkit

Full cycle consultancy requires a varied and robust toolkit that scales with the client’s business. You may be a small operation now, but presumably your goal is to grow. And you can’t rely on basic products that won’t grow with you.

That’s where the Zoho ecosystem comes into its own. With multiple applications within multiple business segments, Zoho provides a diverse portfolio of software solutions. But, of course, it’s not always a neat, one-size-fits-all scenario. When we work with clients at ion8, we can create specific solutions for their unique issues – deploying Zoho products in their native integrations or building our own customized framework. And rather than tackling it piecemeal, we deploy each in parallel, minimizing any disruption and streamlining the various components.

And we don’t walk away when the job’s done either. If that job was building a website, for example, we’ll handle what comes next – content creation, advertising, analytics – with all the ancillary services needed to realize your goals.

While ion8 is proud of its position as the only full cycle business management company in North America within the Zoho universe, we make a point of remaining technologically agnostic. That keeps us nimble, ready to roll out tools from other providers, such as Atlassian, to offer clients multiple options.

Because choice and customization are key. The systems you use need to mirror your operations and that’s why full cycle consultants are all about the details. We can’t help you launch Zoho People unless we know your HR policies and procedures. We can’t create an effective project management platform until we know the nitty gritty of how your teams operate. Be wary of firms that don’t do a deep dive into your operations, they’re usually out to sell you a quick fix.

If you’re looking for full cycle consultancy, pick a team that has the staff, the know-how and the tools to offer a truly holistic service. Don’t just think of what your business needs today, but what it’ll need tomorrow. You may know exactly where your canoe is right now, but that lake’s going to change and you’ll need a good navigator when it does.

George Easton is ion8’s CEO and president. He’s a master of making digital technologies work for business by streamlining operations, improving online presences, creating and reinforcing brands, and selling products and services effectively online. George is a certified Google AdWords & Analytics professional, a certified Google Educator and a cloud communication technology guru. Additional skill sets include: Clio Certified Consultant and Certified Zoho CRM Consultant.