How I sacrificed revenue to improve my products

How-I-sacrificed-revenue-100aLisa Borden and Andrea Murray started analysis and benchmarking firm CCI Consulting back in 2001. Since then, the company has grown to service some large clients, including IBM, NAB and AGL, and it now turns over $1.6 million.

But a year ago, Borden and Murray decided they were spreading themselves too thin, working on projects that weren’t in their core focus. They decided to take a step back, and sacrifice some projects and money in order to shed the amount of jobs offered to clients and keep a focus on what CCI Consulting does best.

So how’s the business been going?

Lisa: It’s interesting you should ask about that, we’ve been really challenged in the last eight months.

Andrea: I think partly because of the economic situation at the moment, but also partly because of our strong commitment to really focus exactly on what it is that we do.

You were turning over $1.6 million last year. Any update on that?

Lisa: We won’t be doing the same amount. It’s actually down by about 40%, and 20% of that can be attributed to the economic situation at the moment. We’ve got a lot of our regular clients saying they want us to do work, but we’re just not doing that type of work anymore.

Next year, we expect to do $1.6 million again. It’s been an incredibly challenging year for us, given we’ve had this drop in revenue.

Right, and that’s the big topic here, the fact you’ve gone from covering a broad range of services to a more focused view.

I don’t think we cast it too broadly, but we’ve become extremely focused in what it is we do.

So how did all this happen?

Andrea: Our clients actually expanded their services rather than just used our core product. So we weren’t actually looking to do extra services like branding work, but our clients would often come to us and ask “Could you do this as well”. And historically, we’ve said, “Yes, sure, we’ll do that”.

But we’ve realised that we’re not specialists in these particular areas.

Why did you start doing these types of extra services? Money?

Money, absolutely, but the other piece of our business that we should explain is our customer program which includes strategic interviews and so on. Every piece of data we get is collected in a database, and we monitor and benchmark performance. Everything is centred on that.

We’re trying to build up our intellectual property, our benchmark database, but we’ve taken a decline in revenue as a result of that focus.

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