Entrepreneur obsessed with finding best practices alert: (Consider yourself warned.)
The term “shared services platform” comes from the IT world and it basically means multiple business units logging in to the same software to access functionality. Think of Google with all its applications or Office Online with its applications. Different users log in to access the different capabilities.
Enterprise Resource Planning systems, Work Management Systems, even Customer Relationship Management systems all have different functionality built into them. Each function is accessible by the users who need it. This combination of software applications is called a “platform” and the “shared services” part means that the applications are accessed by different users with different needs being met by the same software.
Am I nerding out on you too much?
Okay, let me simplify it.
Independent consultants need help with some specific parts of their business operations. When I looked at the end-to-end consulting job, I saw categories of work that some independent consultants are really good at and others struggle with. Here’s the process:
Start the business (form an entity, name yourself, etc.)
Build your marketing platform (branding, social media, etc.)
Prospect (find customers!)
Organize your work (project management, methodology, etc.)
Deliver results (do the work!)
Accept payment and feedback
Repeat from step 3.
I saw a lot of services helping in steps 1 & 2, but once the consultant got her business off the ground, the day-to-day operations struggled. It was feast (too much work!) or famine (not enough customers, work, or pay).
For years, software developers have combined applications into end-to-end platforms that meet business needs for a variety of users.
Why couldn’t we model that approach with operational support services?
Could CRC build a shared services platform that helps independent consultants leverage their marketing platform, prospect adequate opportunities, organize their work, and deliver the kind of results that would have customers begging them to stay engaged? Could CRC share in the services load so that independent consultants concentrate on their clients and growing their businesses? And, where, specifically, did these women need help?
Once I matched what they needed with what I could offer, CRC Academy was born. So, yes, a shared services platform for operational services is possible, it is CRC Academy, and it’s going to change how consultants work.
Ready to learn more about CRC Academy? Click here to learn about 1st & Main. Call 803-569-8200 to learn about enrollment in the upcoming 1st & Gervais cohort.