Many knowledge firms sell skills, embodied by the omniscient subject matter expert. While this may seem like a robust business model, it in fact scales quite poorly. Revenue being directly coupled to the number of “heads” or the firm being held hostage by star “primadonnas” are just two such examples.
People’s skills don’t scale. But their imaginations, packaged into quanta of value that can be sold over and over again do. Products and solutions do much more than decouple the revenue of a knowledge firm from the number of skilled “heads”. They allow the focusing of precious investment resources, they sculpt a solid corporate identity.
Many small companies erroneously believe the solution and product path is not attainable below a certain critical mass threshold. There is truth to this belief. But the threshold is much smaller than many would believe. As soon as a small company has more than a client, more than a contract, there are dots that can be connected towards a nascent product or solution pattern. Knowledge firms’ highest calling isn’t knowledge; it is the ability to create that which is yet unknown.