Our ongoing goal is to improve the business of solo practitioners and small firms in the consulting and related professional services fields. We will accomplish this through branding of our organization, publicity for the profession, in-service training for practitioners, leading-edge and innovative practices, an active community of colleagues, and similar methods recommended by our membership.
Measures of Success
Professionals who join SAC® LLC will have access to a continuous flow of techniques, publicity, methodologies, and peer-to-peer interchange which will enable them to choose the best options to improve their unique practices and businesses. The inclusion of the service-marked SAC designation and/or logo will be perceived by buyers as assurance of professionalism, ethics, and a history of success, which will thereby constitute a competitive edge over non-SAC practitioners. One criterion is to grow in net membership each year by at least 10% and to represent the "voice of independent consultants" to media and publicity outlets.
Our Value in Membership
We will bring members together by electronic and other media; in national events; in local chapters; and through peer-to-peer interchanges to build expertise, practice management techniques, marketing ability, and to raise fee bases. There will be no "elites" but rather one consulting community sharing the SAC imprimatur. Thus, we will both initiate business opportunities and build practice skills, as well as enable members to unilaterally build their practices through a variety of member interactions.
The Unique Structure
SAC maintains a lean national staff, consisting of administrative and technical support personnel with a single, dedicated office in East Greenwich, RI. We will not utilize an outside management company nor any other shared resources which do not provide a priority focus on our membership and our needs.
SAC is a for-profit, in the spirit of entrepreneurialism, founded and led by Alan Weiss, who has provided his expertise, funding, brand, and connections to the organization. It is Alan's belief that the for-profit status obviates the problems inherent in the part-time, consensus-laden leadership of non-profits while providing him (and any future principals) with the incentive to focus on and dramatically grow the organization. Membership growth and renewal rates will reflect the success of this philosophy. We feel that daily, strong leadership is integral to success.
At the local level, chapters may be created by any group of at least 12 people who meet the following criteria:
- Twelve members who would meet the entry requirements of SAC
- A Board elected which consists of at least a president, vice president, and treasurer, all National members
- The president and treasurer provide proof of bonding for financial affairs
- Signed statement to adhere to SAC's code of ethics as a chapter
Local chapters can charge any amount of dues (or refrain from any charge) as the local Board sees fit. All dues remain in chapter hands. There is no financial requirement nor monies due to the national organization. This enables local chapters to self-fund at modest dues rates and to set an agenda appropriate for their locale.
Individuals may join local chapters and not the national organization; national and not local chapters; or both. We encourage the last. Individuals who do not join national will not be beneficiaries of the national benefits appearing below. We believe this is incentive for both national and local entities to provide maximum benefits for members to earn their support.
Our intent at all levels is to operate on a lean basis with constant, demonstrable results for members and minimum overhead.
A Board of Trustees, representing legal, financial, publicity, consulting, business, marketing, and similar sources will advise the CEO.
National SAC Benefits
In addition to benefits at the local chapter level, SAC will provide to national members the following:
- A monthly electronic newsletter on practice management, marketing, and related issues.
- A web site with all national members listed by specialties, geography, name, etc., with links to individual web sites.
- "Help" and "chat" rooms on the web site for peer-to-peer support, debate, and dialogue.
- The service-marked SAC designation and logo for inclusion on all literature, individual web sites, etc. We strongly recommend that members use "SAC®" after their names.
- "Board Approval" in specialty areas, such as expert witness, OD consulting, coaching, quality, stress management, etc. The number of such approvals is restricted only by the qualifying criteria met in each area.
- Professional discounts in areas including graphics design, web design and hosting, teleconference facilities, newsletter list servers, legal assistance, financial assistance, taxes, etc.
- Insurance, travel, shipping, and similar discounts from reputable and national sources.
- Publicity to brand the organization and members through ongoing affiliation with key public relations and publishing firms. This means that not only will SAC branding take place in the media, but members may access these sources to appear as subjects in the publicity material.
- Access to literary agents and a template to use for the creation and submission of book proposals to these resources and/or to acquisitions editors.
- A national convention with top talent to educate, stimulate, and provoke the registrants. To further stimulate growth and avoid an incestuous philosophy, the convention will be promoted to the profession as a whole, although SAC members will receive a deep discount.
- Sanctioning of local chapters which meet the guidelines listed above with permission for the chapter as an entity to use the SAC trademarks.
- Chapter leadership sessions by workshop and teleconference for any local board members who desire development in their ability to recruit, program, administer, lead, etc.
- Alan Weiss will personally, at no fee, provide local chapter programs with the intent of raising funds and enlarging membership.
- Since there are no "elites" there are no recertification or other requirements beyond yearly dues. Board Approval designations are not elites and simply indicate specific competencies.
- We will pass along targets of opportunities and requests for consulting help as we deem appropriate though the electronic communications system. (But SAC is not a lead generation organization nor do we commit to provide leads in any amounts or at specified times.)
- The web site part that is accessible only to members will feature "Advice from the Top" articles written by leaders in a variety of fields exclusively for our membership.
- We will feature a bibliography section of all members' published books and information on how to obtain them. There will be a discount for members' purchases.
- SAC will host a site on expertclick.com to promote solo practitioners and gain interviews.
- SAC will advertise in a variety of buyers' guides and send leads to the entire membership as received.
- All professionals with CMC, CPCM, and CSP designations will have documented entry requirements waived.
- We will establish and foster mastermind and networking groups.
- Free, periodic teleconferences for SAC members only.
- Monthly press releases which will feature SAC members individually.
- Membership is Alan’s Forums (alansforums.com), an international, private site where consultants discuss fees, marketing, ethics, politics and much more 24/7.
- Full National Membership
To join the national SAC a professional must demonstrate and/or provide evidence of the following:
- Three consecutive years in the consulting profession. (In our definition, we include coaches, trainers, facilitators, professional speakers, counselors, and related professions within our embrace. We focus on solo practitioners, but also welcome individuals from small firms of 12 or fewer people.)
- Testimonials on client letterhead from ten different organizations (three different buyers within a single organization may be used as part of the ten) specifying the success of your work with that organization and a personal knowledge of your high competence and character.
- Proof of either: a) a total of 25 client engagements with all contact information and permission to verify; or b) gross billings of at least $75,000 in each of three of the prior four years to applying for membership.
- A college undergraduate degree (or alternatively at least ten consecutive years in the consulting profession).
- An executed, notarized statement that the applicant will abide by the ethics code of SAC, has provided honest information, and has never been convicted of a crime nor successfully sued in civil court for professional malfeasance.
- Three character references who will testify to your honesty, integrity, and ethics.
- Submission of a check, credit card, or money order for the first year dues of $300. If for any reason the applicant is not accepted, the dues will be returned minus a $100 processing fee. All applications will be processed and approved or rejected within 30 days of filing. International members are welcome. Once accepted into membership, dues are non-refundable for any reason.
Note: All professionals holding a CMC, CPCM, and/or CSP designation are exempted from all membership criteria except numbers 5 and 7. Please provide proof of that designation with the application.
- Board Approvals
Board Approvals will be created as SAC deems them appropriate, including upon request from members. We will publicize these and include them on our web site. No additional designations will appear other than "Board Approved in…" in our literature and in the member's literature as they may so choose.
Board Approval requires the following:
- One year of membership in SAC.
- Five additional testimonials on letterhead expressly commenting on competence in the specialty.
- Evidence of having practiced the specialty for at least one year. (Note: A graduate degree in the specialty can take the place of provisions #2 and #3.)
- An executed, notarized statement that the applicant has provided honest information.
- Submission of a check, credit card, or money order for the one-time Board Approval fee of $100. A certificate will be provided indicating the Board Approval, specialty, and year of attaining it.
Board Approvals are renewable every three years to remain in force.
- Affiliate Membership
We wish to embrace people who do not yet qualify for full SAC membership but who seek to develop themselves in a professional manner by interacting with and learning from the best in the field. Affiliate membership is available to anyone who:
- Possesses a college undergraduate degree.
- Provides three character references who will testify to your honesty, integrity, and ethics.
- Submits an executed, notarized statement that the applicant will abide by the ethics code of SAC, has provided honest information, and has never been convicted of a crime nor successfully sued in civil court for professional malfeasance.
- Submits of a check, credit card, or money order for the first year dues of $400. If for any reason the applicant is not accepted, the dues will be returned minus a $100 processing fee. All applications will be processed and approved or rejected within 30 days of filing. Once accepted into membership, dues are non-refundable for any reason. (Note: We charge somewhat more for affiliate members since we believe they will be obtaining far more value than they are contributing in what we see as a community of colleagues. The ability to "jump start" one's practice and learn quickly from the best and the brightest merits this extra investment.)
An affiliate member can apply for regular membership after three consecutive years of affiliate status (or sooner if all full membership criteria can be met) and the ability to additionally meet membership provisions #1, 2, 5, and 8 above. Affiliate members may not use SAC® after their names or in their promotional material, but may use "affiliate member of SAC." Affiliate members cannot apply for Board Approvals, and they will be designated as affiliate members in our online directory and resource list.
Chapter Support and Liaison
Our intent is to welcome as many chapters as possible and not play the role of "enforcer" or "cop." (That's why we welcome strictly local members who never join national, do not charge chapter licensing fees, and allow chapters to set and keep 100% of their local dues.) We require only the following:
- A minimum of 12 national members who agree to form the chapter and sign a chapter ethics code.
- A minimum of 3 local board members (president, vice president, and treasurer) with the first and last bonded to handle fiduciary matters.
- All local Board members must also be National members.
- Submission of a chapter membership list and local initiatives upon request.
Chapters are independent entities which receive permission to use the SAC designation and receive our support materials. Chapters may lose that permission and sanction if they fall below 12 national members, violate the ethics code, or act in a manner detrimental to the membership at national or local levels.
The national organization will support the local chapters in manners which include:
- Training and development for local Board members.
- Access to ongoing best practices from other chapters.
- Fund raising events with national support and/or speakers.
- Assistance with technology and data base management.
- Support in local visibility events with prospects.
- Access to our public relations and publishing alliances.
- Personal appearances at no fee by Alan Weiss.
Local chapters are encouraged to be as innovative and aggressive in promotion and recruiting as they deem appropriate. National will intervene in disputes only at specific local request.
We believe that there is a reciprocity of interests in encouraging local members to join the national body, and national (at large) members to join a local chapter.
Philosophy of the Founder
I've always believed it to be both a blessing and a curse that consulting and allied professional services have been so totally unregulated. The "easy entry" has provided highly skilled entrepreneurs with the opportunity to quickly launch and sustain high-growth business, but has also allowed mediocrity (and, unfortunately at times, incompetence) to freely enter the field.
My remedy for this, preserving the best and eliminating the worst, is a "self-regulation" that arises from a critical mass of practitioners in a collegial organization, an LLC, who agree to live within a given paradigm while embracing diversity within the profession and the membership. Thus far, no association has been able to muster that critical mass.
It is my intent to pay back the profession (and professionals) who have provided such a wonderful career for me. The only honest way for me to do this is in a for-profit environment, which allows me to transition from my traditional consulting work to leading SAC. I think this is fair and reasonable, so long as the membership perceives that individual business is improving and individual skills are growing. In that case, we will have all succeeded.
Finally, and those of you who know me won't be surprised by this, I don't think a consensus-driven, volunteer, part-time structure can be nimble or agile enough to accomplish these goals readily. I intend to be the "benevolent dictator" who sets direction and moves things forward. I'll always be open to ideas and new directions (many of which are already reflected in the initial launch of SAC) but the buck must stop somewhere.
There's an old Arab saying, "Although the dogs bark, the caravan moves on."
We'll always be sympathetic to constructive critique and comment, and to innovation and prudent risk. But for all of us in this profession, it's time at last for the caravan to light the afterburners…
Alan Weiss, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO