[Episode 20] How to Use a Relationship Map to Create a $4 Million Company

Episode 20 Tamara Nall

This week I interviewed Tamara Nall, Founder of The Leading Niche, a global consulting firm that offers strategic and operational consulting to large companies and the federal government.

Nall shared with us the secrets of why and how she started The Leading Niche 4 years after getting an MBA from Harvard Business School, and how she has grown her company to over $4 million in revenue using a “Relationship Map”.

 

This week’s question:

What has been the key to your success in growing The Leading Niche to $4 million in revenue?

..So what I did, in particular, was to create a relationship map. And if you can think about a 2 x 2 matrix if you will, it’s really simple: who were my strongest contacts, and where was the greatest need?…You can have the best product, the best service, but if you don’t have a customer to sell that product and service to, it does not matter.

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Questions:

  1. How did you get started – how did you plan your ext from Booz and what was your plan to grow the company?
  2. How has business over the past 6 years been compared to what you imagined it would be when you were still in your consulting role?

Key Takeaways:

  • Nall uses the “relationship map” to identify prospects  and she maintains existing relationships in her network.  A 2×2 matrix of those who have deepest connections with and those in the greatest and most urgent need of services like yours.
  • Be realistic. Have a plan to move from corporate to launching your business full time– Nall put together a 2-year plan to transition out of the consulting firm and launch her business. She started The Leading Niche in 2007, but resigned from Booz & Company  in 2009 to go full-time with the business.
  • Remove yourself from some of the processes of the business. For Tamara this means, when talking with prospective clients, selling the business as ‘The Leading Niche’ and not as ‘Tamara Nall’, in order to be able to lead the business and stay true to its vision and growth.
  • Research prospective clients in advance.  Nell describes an instance where she took a leap, and described a worse case scenario for the head of a large company in Atlanta, whose systems she knew were lacking.  After she described to him– in very scary detail– the fallout that could occur as he was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, he jumped into action, awarding her team a contract on the spot.

Interview Links:

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  • http://busycreator.com/ Prescott Perez-Fox

    Really great discussion on the steady evolution of a practice and how Tamara extracted herself in order to be the figurehead and CEO. I think you should also visit Jeff Goins’s book The Art of Work, in which he discussed how we shouldn’t “make the leap” but instead should “build a bridge.” This, by her continuous networking and relationship-building, is what Tamara seems to have done with precision, and should be the focus of the conversation.

    Perhaps in season two we can focus a few episodes on client acquisition and to plan a method to acquire not just your first client, but your 8th, 14th, and 30th. I’d love to hear from some folks who found a blind spot for client acquisition and how they overcame this.