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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #6: March, 2004

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC
  • The overwhelming signs point to a US and world economic recovery, and the great cycles, historically, would also support this timing. What are you doing to invest in your marketing and promotion?
  • Successful consultants frequently ask me how to overcome their inability to write a book. The most fundamental principle: You must schedule the writing, on your calendar, no differently than you would a client meeting or workshop. You only need to write for two hours at a time but, unless you're a professional, it's very tough to do on the road.
  • You are reading this on or around March 1. You should have all of your vacations for this year already scheduled and confirmed. Notice I used the plural.
  • Most of us are delegated downward because we allow it, not because it's inevitable. Resolve to refuse, for example, to work with the HR department to create a proposal (instead of deciding whether it makes sense this one time). While you might someday find a great steak in a McDonalds, the odds are that it's not worth the search, so don't go there.
  • I sign up for all the wireless Internet deals in the air clubs and other public places that have them. That way my card is on file and I have a password, and I'm merely charged when I log on. The few dollars charged are usually less than my land line charges would be, and the speed is worth the price even if it did cost more.
  • The power of the "body of work": I was called this week for a coaching engagement by a woman I last saw two years ago when she was vice president of a former client. Yesterday, she read a column I write monthly for, realized it was me and that I'd be perfect for her needs. That resulted in closed business with a five-minute telephone call.
  • I've abandoned periodic mailings to clients and friends. Instead, irregularly, I send the highest potential past clients some value out of the blue with just an "FYI" and no request for a meeting or any reciprocity at all. This act almost always re-stimulates the relationship.
  • The secret of a mastermind group is somewhat paradoxical. To maximize value, you shouldn't be the most successful or most experienced person in it (I know that someone must be). I recently mentored a woman who had received some damaging feedback from a group of all men who I don't believe could possibly understand her issues. Look for empathy, not ego, and expertise, not equality.
  • Another item I'm frequently asked: In today's climate, at least in the US business culture, you can't give clients gifts, be they tickets to the theater or books. What you can do is make a donation to a "neutral" charity (e.g., not religious-based) in the client organization's name
  • Let me pose a question: With the US stock market now within about a thousand points of its record high, what if it shoots to 15,000 in the next few years, the economy is booming, and several peace accords have been signed? While the "between jobs" folks will be out of consulting and back in the corporate world, there will be a lot more professional competition from large firms ramping back up. Now is the time to establish your brand, niche, and/or book. Past success is never an indicator of future success.

Suggested Reading: Shut Up and Sing, by Laura Ingraham (Regency). No matter what your politics (the author is conservative) this is a funny exposé of McLuhan's "mixed media" effect, and how Barbra Streisand, to name just one celebrity, becomes a political or business "expert."

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