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Templates Save Time

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

I think I spend too much time assembling proposals and reports. I'm a reasonably fast writer, but starting over for each client burns up time I'd rather spend doing other things.

Even the most efficient and fastest writer can find ways to write less. First, are you including too much material in your writing product? For example, does your prospect really need to read your entire company history or all your past projects and clients? Consider what the reader needs or wants.

Second, don't write custom when repurposing can save a lot of time. This doesn't mean copying a proposal or report and replacing the former client's name with a global search. It means planning what you want to write, use parts from other documents that are appropriate, and a final quality control proof to prevent embarrassing mistakes. If you wrote it and it worked well in a prior use, it is probably a good tool to get ahead of the writing task this time.

TIP:Templates. Look at some past writings for components you can use again. Consider creating a table of contents of writing products you will need, creating a list to choose from in the future. Examples are short, medium and long summaries of past projects, descriptions of your approach or trends in your industry or technical approach. The upfront effort to create a resource library will help you assemble a first draft in less time than you currently spend.

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Your Personal Code of Ethics

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
What kind of ethical situations should I consider within my consulting practice?

No single code of ethics is the best for everyone, but there are lots of good places to start when answering this question. Authors Bob Nelson and Peter Economy share the following points in their article Developing a Personal Code of Ethics for Consulting:

  • Account for your time accurately and honestly.
  • Don't make promises you can't keep.
  • Follow through on your promises.
  • Don't recommend products or services your clients don't need.
  • Be candid and give your honest opinion.
  • Protect your clients' confidentiality and don't misuse insider information.
  • Disclose conflicts of interest.
  • Don't break the law.

Another resource is the Institure of Management Consultants (IMCUSA) Code of Ethics. The purpose of this Code is to help IMCUSA members and CMC's (Certified Management Consultants) maintain their professionalism and adhere to high ethical standards as they provide services to clients and in their dealings with their colleagues and the public.

TIP:The March 5th IMCUSA Academy webinar on ethics will use examples and cases from real-life situations to explain what consultants need to do when ethical challenges arise. It also contributes to the requirements for CMC certification and re-certification credits if you need it. Click here for details.

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The Simple Power of One a Day

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
Growing a client base from scratch, or jumpstarting one that has been affected by the economy or a challenged business niche, can be overwhelming. Any ideas?

Today's One Minute Idea response is based on a blog by author and entrepreneur Seth Godin. He has such practical advice and I love anything I read of his.

He reminds us there are 200 working days a year so simply commit to one simple marketing item each day. Some of his suggestions are:
  • Send a hand written and personal thank you note to a client.
  • Research and post a short article about how something in your specialty works.
  • Read the first 3 chapters of a business or other how-to book. (Did you know over 90% of books purchased are never read?)
  • Go for a 10 minute walk and come back with at least 5 written ideas on how to improve what you offer the world.
  • Find out something you didn't know about one of your clients. (I found out this week a client is a Certified Shark Feeder!)

TIP:Don't try to do them all at once. As Seth suggests, just doing one of these once a day would bring big changes in your marketing. Pick one and do it today or tomorrow.

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When Your Client Suddenly Departs

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I've been working with a client for 6 months and he has suddenly left for a new company. He was my primary contact and knew me best. I'm concerned his replacement may not see the value of what we have done and desire my future services.

If you only have a relationship with your recently departed client, then you may have a challenge ahead. Having a relationship with only that one person can be risky for 3 reasons.

  • A single champion in an organization leaves you in the vulnerable state you now find yourself in.
  • Effective consulting requires more insight into an organization than just your immediate client's world.
  • Your value and ability to provide services beyond just your client means you need to know, and be known, by more than just your client.

Since you've been there 6 months, you may have more of a network than you think. Who occupies the role of technical specialist, gatekeeper, advice giver? Who makes decisions, controls the money or other resources?

TIP:Consider who else you know in the organization who has influence and ways can get in front of them. Identify a "coach" in the organization who can help you bring the replacement up to date on what has happened so far. See if your departed client can be of help in the transition if he didn't leave under negative circumstances (and you can find him). Finally, take a hard look at other projects and find ways to prevent this from happening again.

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Presenting to Executives

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I've heard a good way to build credibility, especially with prospects, is to make presentations and speak. Any suggestions on how to effectively do this?

In one of their most popular blogs for 2012, SlideShare author Bruce Gabrielle notes that executives are a special audience for presentations. Because they are looking for people to trust, making a good or bad impression is key to your success.

Here are the FIVE TIPS to help you wow an executive audience:
  • Get to the point in one minute.
  • Talk about winning in the marketplace & how you can help them.
  • Sell a vision before discussing details.
  • Lead with stories, not data.
  • Don't be afraid of executives - be afraid FOR them.

Of course, there is a lot more to learn about presenting to executives, but these 5 things are a good place to start.

TIP:Click on the link to see the full slide presentation and get more details on these. 5 Tips for Presenting to Executives

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