As all early-stage (and many mid-stage!) professional service firm leaders and entrepreneurs know, building out a consulting firm is hard work.

Whilst the challenge is multi-dimensional, at the heart of this lies the onerous task of developing proprietary intellectual property: especially so with respect to operationally supporting (and selling) your service expertise.

Firms that make deliberate, and structured, effort to do this in the early-stages of their capability development quickly differentiate themselves from their journeymen competition. Teams that invest in the – continuous – task of developing their service methodologies harness a number of scale-facilitating benefits: they deliver their services consistently to a common standard (a de minimis requirement), they induct and train new joiners more efficiently (hence going from hire-to-revenue faster), they win more work (deep toolboxes begets the signalling of clear specialism begets premium rates) and they, quite simply, improve any external valuation (IP being an integral asset in any knowledge-based business).