Lessons Learned from Running an iOS Consultancy: Part 2

Learn four more lessons I learned running an iOS consultancy over the years, regarding scaling, communication, networking, and more. By .

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Welcome back to my Lessons Learned from Running an iOS Consultancy article series!

In the first part of the series, I shared some lessons learned related to learning from failure, focusing, finding the right partner, investors, and more.

In this second and final part of the series, I’ll cover four more lessons:

  1. Scale smart
  2. Communicate clearly
  3. Make a good first impression
  4. Prioritize networking

Let’s dive back in!

1) Scale Smart

One of the biggest missteps in growing your business, especially a consulting company, is scaling too quickly. When a potential client approaches your small company with a large contract, it is tempting to hire new people quickly so you can fulfill it.

This can result in two problems:

  1. If the client’s project ends abruptly it can be difficult to find new work for all those people.
  2. You may be forced to carry out layoffs, which can be disastrous for morale and future growth.

Waiting too long to do this can siphon off cash reserves. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to hire the right people when you’re under pressure — you’re likely to make sacrifices you’ll regret later.

One solution is to partner with another company to fulfill the larger request and slowly scale your operation. The other is to be as careful with hiring as you are when you chose a partner.

Hiring: Choose Wisely

Hiring the right people takes a lot of time and can be a frustrating process. If you settle too early because you don’t have enough time to properly vet candidates, you’ll soon find yourself in charge of a bunch of knuckleheads.


Keep in mind that you might need to review hundreds of resumes and conduct dozens of interviews for each open position — it can take several weeks or months! Another thing to keep in mind is that if you grow the team too quickly, the culture you’re working to build might be diluted, destroyed or take on qualities you don’t wish to see.

One option is to bring on contractors instead of employees — it’s much easier to scale back contractors than it is to let employees go. In addition, working with contractors gives you the chance to evaluate their work, and in doing so, you might find the perfect people to onboard as employees when the business is ready.

Never rush a hiring decision because you need to fill a role today. In three years, you won’t care if it took a few extra weeks to find a good fit, but if you rush, you may be stuck with your subpar hire and regret your rushed decision.

Hiring: When to Cut Strings

Even if you follow strict and careful hiring procedures, you’ll make mistakes and hire people that don’t work out for one reason or another. You can only decipher so much about a person from a resume and interview(s) and at the end of the day, the decision comes down to trusting your gut.

When you do end up with someone who doesn’t pull their weight or otherwise brings down the company, you need to cut your losses and walk away.

It’s not a popular topic and letting a person go is hard for both of you. There are very few people that actually enjoy firing people, and anyone who tells you otherwise lacks empathy.

Letting someone go is especially difficult when you need to fire a friend or family member — yet another reason to avoid it. A single bad hire can bring down an entire company, and your priority always has to be the greater good. It doesn’t help anyone if you go out of business.

Letting Go

First, you need to be honest with yourself when someone isn’t a positive addition to your team. You must remember that you’re paying this person to perform a job that he or she isn’t doing to your satisfaction and depending on the scenario, might be single-handedly dragging the company down.

You must remove any personal connections or feelings you have about the worker, as disconnecting makes the process easier for both of you. Keep in mind that each of us is ultimately accountable for our actions, and that all you’re doing is holding that person accountable — it’s not a personal attack. In most cases, things are not going well for the other party either, and letting go will free both of you to pursue green pastures.

Dragging it out and trying to ignore the problem just makes things worse for both parties.

If you’re going to pull a Band-Aid off, it’s best to do it fast — this is a good metaphor to keep in mind when you need to let somebody go.

2) Communicate Clearly

Communication is paramount, plain and simple. Your clients, employees, partners and investors need to know what you expect from them, how things are progressing and most importantly when things are going wrong.

Communication With Employees

Employees must be made aware on their first day — if not during the interview process — of exactly what you expect. When they fail to meet your expectations, they should be informed and then together you should discuss how to solve the problem.

Most importantly, when they do well you should take time out of your day to let them know you’re pleased. We live in a world that forgets to say “Thank You” and recognize a job well done, so a few words of encouragement can have a positive ripple effect on morale and loyalty.


If you put off talking to an employee about a problem, you’ll grow bitter and resentful. An easily correctable problem can grow into a huge issue when you don’t address it promptly and professionally.

An added benefit is that when you address performance issues in your team, you’ll discover things about your leadership or business practices that need adjustment as well. Communication when things are going wrong is very positive for all parties involved.

Communication With Clients

Your clients will have their own expectations, and it’s important to discuss those and make sure they align with reality.

For example, consulting became much easier when I learned to under-promise to clients and set realistic expectations. Then when I over-delivered, my clients were ecstatic even if they secretly expected more of me than I promised.

The difference between delivering something two days early or two days late is huge to a client. If you are realistic with yourself, you can set realistic expectations for the client. Just do yourself a favor and always be conservative!