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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #69: June, 2009

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

In this economy:

  • Clients fear uncertainty, so give them confidence that they have more control over their destiny than they currently believe.
     
  • Most of your competition will always be internal. Make it clear that it's more expensive, less reliable, and more labor intensive to try to formulate, launch, and implement projects internally, and at least without external, objective guidance.
     
  • Ease your buyer's personal concerns, which are bound to be higher in a period of layoffs and radical change. Your buyer may not be the one who is vulnerable, but he or she may have to make very tough decisions which can cause paralysis and refusal to act.
     
  • Do not cut back on your own marketing, promotion, or self-development. You can find a study from McGraw-Hill on my blog (http://www.contrarianconsulting.com—use the search function on the left with "McGraw") that shows that firms which made investments in such areas during the serious recession of the early 80s emerged much stronger and growing faster than competitors which did not. Why would that be any different for you and your competitors in this profession?
     
  • Offer some free help-a day, an audit, an opinion, a study—to a past or present good client who is in difficult straits. I guarantee that even the gesture will rebound with good results. (Several people in my Mentor Program have already secured both the complimentary work AND paid work with this gesture.)
     
  • Shun people who suck the energy out of you and who are woebegone about the current economy. There is a lot of money around and there are a great many consultants doing very well. That means that you can, too. Abandon the energy suckers.
     
  • If you have the cash, this is a great time to buy the equipment you always wanted to upgrade to, or simply didn't have. There are fabulous deals and great financing available.
     
  • Pay down debt, especially the higher interest rate credit card debt. This is actually as good as or even better than saving money, given the low savings interest rates.
     
  • Develop new value—new services, products, and relationships that can replace "older" perceived value that clients may be considering cutting for cost purposes. They will cut the old, but they will consider new factors to build the business, and you already have credibility within the company.
     
  • Examine whether and to what degree you can move among these markets: Fortune 1000, mid-size, small business, education, non-profit, government, charities, self-help. Don't hastily rule anything out. The strategy approach I've used with Fortune 500 companies is not essentially different from the one I use with solo practitioners.
 
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