Cox Consulting Network: Celebrating 5 Years of Service
This month, we celebrate a significant and exciting milestone for CCN.
On March 22, 2018, Andy Cox founded CCN with a simple vision: “provide consultants with a top-notch place to do what they do best, and clients will follow.”
Five years later, CCN is going strong and growing faster than ever.
Serving consultants from day one
Like any good business venture, CCN began with a desire to find a better way of doing things. Andy spent much of his career working with and for national staffing and consulting firms, but he felt he wasn’t serving his clients or consultants to the best of his ability — not because of the company, but because of the model with which most firms operate.
“Our goal was, and still is, to get consultants more of what they could rarely get in permanent roles: their nights, weekends, and holidays back so that they could enjoy what many outside of the accounting world enjoy — time off. We pay more per hour, so they can work fewer hours and go climb a mountain, relax by the ocean, hang out with their friends and families — whatever fills their cup.” “
Five years later, Andy has proven this concept, and he credits CCN’s success to the caliber of its consultants. He is amazed at how much talent they have been able to attract so far and feels grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such great individuals.
Forging a different path
How can CCN do more, pay more, and bill less, all while attracting some of the best talent in the industry? Andy says that it comes down to their lack of outside investment.
“Early on, we decided not to bring in investors because they certainly want the kind of return that high bill rates and 100% markups bring. Look, we work with a lot of great investors and PE firms. We just believe it’s not the right fit for our business. Without outside investment, we can do something really special for both clients and consultants.”
“We’re also not salespeople,” Andy explains. “We’re finance and accounting professionals first. Our consultants are our best salespeople. Their work speaks for itself.”
A tough business to crack
Despite having industry-leading service for clients and consultants, Andy admits that the consulting industry is still a tough business. Winning every deal takes a lot of hard work.
“I remember the very first deal that I did. I’ll never forget it because we didn’t win,” he shares. “We presented a consultant at a $65/hr pay rate and a $95/hr bill rate — which is really good because this is usually a 100% markup business. But a competitor staffing firm presented the same candidate just a day before at a $50/hr pay rate and a $105/hr bill rate. Because they sent the consultant first, they got the deal… If only they had gone through us, the consultant would have made more money, and the client would have saved.”
Early lessons like this showed that good ideas alone aren’t enough to earn business. Andy learned that his team would have to be agile, creative, and determined to earn their place in the industry.
“We still have to hustle and move fast. We can’t win deals unless we’re getting the word out, so there’s plenty to do from that standpoint.”
A recipe for success
Despite facing a global pandemic in its first years of business, CCN continues steady growth year after year, maintaining a 71.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last three years alone.
Soon after, CCN was also recognized among the Austin Business Journal’s “Fast 50” award winners. In October, they announced that CCN was the 9th fastest-growing business under $10 million in Central Texas.
What’s next for CCN?
Looking ahead, Andy sees more of the same for CCN. The company will continue focusing on bringing in skilled professionals and helping consultants and clients achieve their goals. Although efficiencies will be required to scale up the business, CCN’s recipe for success will remain unchanged.
Andy is particularly excited about the recent hire of Sara Smith as the new chief of staff — a position created specifically to make sure consultants have everything they need to be successful.
It’s clear that CCN’s focus on talent, hard work, and people-first practices have paid off in spades over the past five years. With such a great team of leaders and consultants, there’s no doubt that CCN will continue to thrive in the years ahead!
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