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Making Your Numbers

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
When I worked in a large firm, I worked hard to "make my numbers". Now that I have my own firm, what "numbers" would be appropriate for me, especially if I am a solo practitioner?

Performance objectives are largely the same in both cases. The difference is what you plan to accomplish now compared to your previous firm. You still need targets to strive for.

Some of these targets would include client count, process, assets (innovation and learning) and financial. Client measures should address the health of your pipeline, such as how many prospects are at each stage and whether these prospects meet your business development objectives.


Process 
measures should address how you market and sell, deliver services and run your practice. Asset (innovation and learning )measures address how you grow as an individual and a business. What new skills, data or capabilities have you created (over a period of time) that you can monetize as higher valued services to clients. Finally, financial measures should address revenue and profit targets you establish for each quarter/year as part of your multi-year business plan.

TIP:In a smaller firm, it might be more reasonable to target and track only one or two things in each of the above categories.

 
While many consultants leave larger organizations to have more control over their lives, consulting can consume a lot of your time. Consider including a metric on how much leisure time you spend for yourself and with your family. Making consulting numbers shouldn't come at the expense of other important "non-business" considerations.

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Value of Management Consulting: Proven

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
Congratulations to IMCUSA member, Bill Conerly, for his recent article in Forbes - The Value of Management Consulting: Proven.

Here's yet another reason a consultant shouldn't underprice their services. In his article, Bill references a formal study by the World Bank that shows "first year economic benefits exceeded the cost of consulting - with later years' benefits pure gravy."

While the study examined foreign companies, after reading the study Bill is convinced American managers can learn a lot from it - and it's applicable here. There's a list of 38 good management practices that managers can review and self-evaluate. Bill has added two that he feels are missing from the list (and his reasons why he adds them): sales and pricing.


His four suggestions for a company wondering if there is room for improvement are:

  1. Bring in a consultant with a broad background to help you identify areas of focus.
  2. Bring in expertise to focus on the areas most ripe for improvement. That might be your first consultant or it might be a specialist.
  3. Evaluate your results.
  4. Look for the next opportunity for improvement.

TIP: Click here to read the complete article and reference links he provides. Dr. Bill Conerly of Conerly Consulting LLC can be found on the IMC USA website by clicking here.

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Should I Write a Book?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

What and why should a consultant write a book? Are there benefits to the time you put into this, and do you have any suggestions on how to move forward if I do?

This is not an easy question to answer as there are many schools of thought on this. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing asked this question to his consultant list last December. He reported the answers fell into two camps - those with a book said yes it was very helpful and meaningful to their business. Those without a book said no they didn't think it was necessary and that a well written blog might be more important.

He also offers this piece of advice from his friend (self-published author) Guy Kawasaki,"Writing a book to open other opportunities is the wrong reason to write a book. You should write a book because you have something to say or are passionate about promoting a cause or idea."


Steven Van Yoder, author of the book Get Slightly Famous, believes more and more business people are realizing the power of writing a book to catapult their businesses to a higher level. Publishing a book is one of the most powerful marketing strategies available. When you become an author, you become known as the expert in your field,and a book generates visibility and attracts clients.

TIP:Here are two resources that might help you as you consider this decision for your consulting business:
  1. A short video with beginning ideas from Guy Kawasaki on How to APE a Book
  2. Check out the IMC USA Academy webinar, Write Your Book Now!on Thursday, March 14th at 1:00 pm ET.

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The Science of Body Language

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

Today's One Minute Idea varies from earlier posts.

While researching Body Language and it's effect on communications, I found this TED Talk that I encourage you to watch.

If you're not familiar with TED Talks, they are short, well done and fascinating. This talk is by Amy Cuddy, professor and social psychologist at Harvard Business School. She studies how non-verbal behavior and snap judgements affect people.

Amy describes her research and shares her personal story of a terrible automobile accident that left her with a severe brain injury. Her inspiring story challenges us to not "fake it till we make it" but to "fake it till you become it."

Her research shows how to configure your brain to raise your testosterone (power) and lower your cortisol (fear) in situations, especially uncomfortable one.

TIP:Acting on her request to try a power pose and share the science, I encourage you to grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a break, click on this link and spend 20 minutes with the very talented and well-spoken Amy Cuddy. Just to let you know, she got a standing ovation at the end.

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What You Don't Say Speaks Volumes

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

Sometimes I am fooled by prospects. I think the meeting went well but I don't get the business. Is there a way to better "read" the situation?

Every day we send thousands of non-verbal messages - our facial expression, our handshake, our tone of voice - just to name a few. Non-verbal communication impacts how we relate to others - and how they relate to us.

Some key components of non-verbal messages are:
  1. Facial Expression - Responsible for a large part of how we communicate. Consider what is conveyed with a smile vs. a frown.
  2. Tone of Voice - Volume, inflection and overall tone affect the meaning of sentences. Consider sarcasm vs. heartfelt expression of the same sentence.
  3. Body Language - Simple gestures such as arm crossing, stance or eye contact are easy to read. However, clients and prospects give us far more subtle body language that is often missed.

TIP:Pay attention to unspoken behavior such as eye contact (or lack of), a disconnect between what is being said in words and the tone and/or behavior behind it. You can improve your own spoken message by using body language to reinforce what you are saying, especially in presentations or giving a talk.

Not sure how to do this, or you want to learn more? Check out the March 7th IMCUSA Academy offeringMastering Magical Persuasion by Traci Brown. It's only $29 for members. 

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