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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #32: May, 2006

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC


  • There are "bullet proof" industries and sectors, immune to economic fluctuation. They include pet care and products; liquor; health care; self-help and home repair; tax planning; etc. What are you doing to diversify your services to embrace some "bullet proof" targets and clients?
  • You're almost always better off with a comprehensive identity within which you can accommodate more specific identities. For example, it's far more credible to be a consultant who speaks, coaches, and writes, than it is to be a speaker who also consults or a writer who also consults.
  • Go with the flow. Small projects-a strategy retreat, a one-day workshop, a brief coaching intervention-may just be what the client needs. Assign a fee to it and do a great job. It's the successive assignments which will create major income.
  • Re-read and proof your emails. I find it sloppy to read them when they are replete with typographical errors, or when the writer affects a conceit and write in only lower case "because it's easier." Well, it's not easier to read. Would you send a hand-written note or hard copy report with typos or all in lower case?
  • Charging expenses for trivialities cheapens your image. If you drive 100 miles to and from a client, at current rates you can claim a $42 business deduction. Do you really want to charge the client forty bucks?
  • Look around the prospect's environment while you're waiting. I was ushered into an executive's office while he was on the phone and he gestured he'd just be a minute. Looking behind me I was stunned to see three wooden seats removed from Fenway Park, in Boston. I knew I was about to talk to a rabid Red Sox fan.
  • If you're going to serve on boards as a method of gaining visibility and networking, pick up a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, so that you can understand the proper ways to make motions, submit requests, debate the issues, and so on.
  • Here's how technology can move constructively and rapidly: Having a phone in your car was a great way to get directions en route; Mapquest and similar web sites made that irrelevant; GPS trumps everything. That is a lot more constructive use of technology than leaving a cell phone on to be interrupted at someone else's discretion.
  • Local franchise printers are cheap (Kinkos, Printshops, Alphagraphics, etc.). Have them print your materials and reprints, including color where appropriate. Seldom does work off your computer look as good.
  • Beware the "experts." I've heard more bad advice cited in the last month alone than I can handle, and I'm already successful. Ask yourself: Is the person advising me about writing a book already a commercially-published author, and of how many books? Is the person advising me about professional speaking a keynoter who makes large fees per speech? Has the person advocating a given consulting model every used it and been paid for it by a major company?
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