If you are an engineering consultant, you are probably always looking for ways to optimize your business, increase efficiency and improve sales. Besides your core engineering activity, a significant portion of your time is spent acquiring new customers, working on your online presence, going to conferences, and so on. With all of these extra (but very necessary) tasks, it is crucial to identify where you can optimize your daily workflow so that your business does not take over all your free time. Moreover, you should strive to work on your business instead of for it, which is usually a difficult balance for engineering consultants to achieve.
If you are a simulation consultant (CFD or FEM), you are in the right place at SimScale. The platform offers an optimal workflow for your engineering analysis projects so that you can focus more on marketing and sales. Moreover, if you have co-workers, joint work has never been easier from anywhere in the world with the cloud-based SimScale platform.
In this article, we will cover five tips for engineering consultants that can be implemented immediately to improve the results for your business.
1. Use Best Practices and Templates As Much As You Can
Best practices mean a collection of processes and systems that you apply when a new project comes in. For example, if you do valve simulations for your client, you set up a document where you list all of your approaches in CAD, your meshing technique and cell sizes and your simulation setup methodology. This way, you can ensure that next time you don’t need to set up everything from scratch. Moreover, you can take notes during your work and incorporate them into your best practices document, so next time you can quickly avoid possible pitfalls.
Another great method is the use of templates. Not only in the case of cold emails to your prospects can a good template system save a ton of time, but for your work as well. On the SimScale platform, you can find free, public templates for almost any kind of simulation, be it CFD, thermal or structural analysis. Have a look at these before building up anything from scratch. If you find what you need, you’ve immediately saved hours of your time! All you need to do is copy one of them and then change the CAD model and setup according to your specifications.
2. Be Better than Other Engineering Consultants in Your Niche
Running a consulting business is not easy. You have to be the marketer, the salesperson, the accountant, and the engineer at the same time. You cannot focus on everything, and you cannot be exceptionally good in every field of your profession. Instead, put emphasis on a few niche areas that you are comfortable with.
If you are an aerodynamics engineer, focus on this instead of going for multiphase chemical reaction simulations, where you don’t have enough experience. This way, you can present yourself as the authority in your selected area, which can gain you more customers.
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3. Market Your Business and Services
Without marketing, your potential clients will not find you. Leverage social media and conferences, publish valuable content, and reach out to prospects offering your services. Without time invested in marketing and sales, your consulting business will not get the number of projects you need each month.
If you are a solopreneur, besides promoting your business, an useful tip is to market yourself as a professional. Personal branding is a rising marketing technique, as some companies like to work with people rather than other companies.
Another way of promotion is creating public simulations under your name or writing articles for the blog. You can create public projects that can be seen by SimScale’s community of 120,000 professionals and shared with your network, be active on the forum, or join the Consulting Partner Program.
4. Use the Right Tools to Help Your Customers Solve their Problem
Engineering consultants are always trying to solve the pain of their customers. You are not only offering simulations. You are also contributing to either avoid a technical problem or improve their product. And for this, you need the right professional tools that can properly solve the engineering issue; tools that you can handle with ease and can afford for yourself. If your main business model is related to simulation (CFD, FEM) services, SimScale can satisfy these simulation needs without investing in special hardware.
But there are other tools you will require; for example, you’ll need a laptop or PC, a good accounting and word processing software, and a comfortable desk and chair, just to name a few. Equip yourself with the appropriate instruments to make the most out of your time at work! And, needless to say, avoid software that provides inaccurate results.
5. Take Time to Recharge Your Batteries
For engineering consultants, running a business can be demanding in many ways. Writing late night proposals, working on meshing and post-processing can drain your energy level quickly. Make sure you take time for yourself, friends and family. For many of us, day-long sitting can be very well balanced by doing sports, going for a hike or just walking around outside. Regular fresh air and exercise ensure that your brain will work at 100% focus the next time you sit down to tackle your projects.
It’s also important to prioritize eating healthy food and drinking lots of water. Here’s a tip: the best water drinking strategy is placing a water bottle on your work desk, so you can take a sip while your simulation job is running.
Sleeping properly is the ultimate trick to making sure you stay creative and focused for longer the next day. Also, exercise as often as you can. Sitting is the new smoking, and it can be counterbalanced by hitting the gym or being active three times a week.
I hope you found this tips for engineering consultants useful. With enough time investment in the right organizational and marketing processes, the proper software and tools, and a drive for learning and continuous development, success is only a few steps away. Remember, though: delivering your best work to every client is the most important tip anyone can give you.