Consulting Your Network
An Interview with Dave Johnson of C² Solutions
Consultation is a game of who you know. Dave Johnson knows that better than anyone else. That’s why he has such a large network and values the OE network so highly.
We sat down with Dave to talk about his 5 years of business and officing at Office Evolution while operating C² Solutions.
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Tell us a little about your business and what you do.
My name is Dave Johnson. I’m the managing partner of C² Solutions. We are a consulting firm based in Denver that is focused on what we call the lower middle market- companies under $200MM in revenue. We help them with their growth initiatives; whether that be financial, operational, people, or strategy.
Our elevator speech is pretty straightforward. “We help uncover the recurring hidden challenges and missed opportunities to grow your business faster and improve your profitability.”
How has the industry changed in the last 10 years?
The consulting industry has become more specialized with people with a specific skillset; and more individuals rather than brands like ourselves. [Specialization] has fragmented the market, and that is a national event, it’s not just Colorado. We don’t see [specialization] changing as more and more professionals are retiring. They’re going to hang on a shingle and look to use their contacts to have their own business.
How do you differentiate your business?
Differentiation – The Relationship
The way we differentiate ourselves in our market is the approach that we take with prospective clients. We don’t come in trying to sell them anything. We try to learn their story, and give them some ideas to think about. We believe that being the trusted advisor isn’t good enough. You have to be that indispensable advisor…the difference is that you build up such trust that any crazy idea they come up with, they want to run past you and see what you think. And so that is a differentiator we have in the relationship.
Differentiation – How We Work
In the way we work, the differentiation is that we have a 360 review process that we developed on our own. We can look at the entire business and see the processes that are interlinked and so we don’t look at the business as a series of silos. With that process, we then give them recommendation on what we think they should be doing and things they should be working on.
What’s your favorite client success story?
There are several companies that we’re very proud of what we accomplished with them. One of the underlying themes that we have is that we tell people “It’s very exciting to be part of [your] dream and helping it happen,” As a result, they had grown to about 115 people.
There are two processes we use that we suggest as tools for companies. One is to do what we call a “Strategy Map”. Another is to do some assessments of your people. [The assessments] tell you whether the right people are in the right seats. From there you can make changes on how you’d like it to run. But, you have to look at the people and look at the processes in order to get there.
What are Your Best Business Tips?
Business Tip #1- Prospect with Social Media
Within the Office Evolution community, we know many of the other companies there because we’ve all looked at each other for a number of years. One of the questions that always comes up when you get in a discussion over a cup of coffee in the kitchen is “how are you guys prospecting? How’re you finding all those new clients?” And one of the tools that we use is LinkedIn, and we use LinkedIn to do a great deal of research. Going through that process has been very successful to us, and we’ve been able to get in front of many companies just going to talk to them and learn their story. It’s much easier to get an audience with a business owner if you’ve been introduced to them by someone they trust. It gives you a certain amount of credibility coming through the door. The rest of the trust you have to earn.
Business Tip #2- Use the Network
We use the network all the time, our marketing program is bifurcated in our approach. In one approach. We have one approach for our referral network and one approach for our potential clients. The message is like in it’s “what’s in it for you?” But what’s in it for you as a client is vastly different than what’s in it for you as a referral partner. And so we message both and we work with both. A company needs to have new clients coming in but they need a number of friends out there that can help open doors for them. Being front of mind with people is an art form. How do you do that without being a pest? And those are the things that we focus on very greatly.
What has been your experience with Office Evolution?
We became an Office Evolution client five years ago with the beginning of our company. We were looking for flexibility, multiple locations, and ability for us to be able to have meetings with clients close to their premises. We also looked at the flexibility of the program that [Office Evolution] offers. [Office Evolution] allowed us at the very beginning of the company to have a very low overhead cost for a startup company.
Over time as we got to know other people within the OE community, specifically in downtown Denver. As we were in other offices, we got to meet attorneys, CPA’s, and other people that were service providers. We found that we could plug into the client base or the prospect base. In some cases we were hunting together. But what happens with it is that if somebody has questions and they’re not sure where to go, to be able to give them someone to talk to as expert advice is a win-win. Everybody starts feeling, “there’s a network of people that knows what they’re doing.”
Learn more about Dave Johnson and C2Solutions by visiting their website at https://c2solves.com/
For more information about Office Evolution and how we can help you get an office for your business, visit our website at https://www.officeevolution.com/locations/lone-tree/office-space or call 303-734-7104.