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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.

 

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Top tags: client relations  communication  customer understanding  your consulting practice  marketing  consultant role  learning  client service  reputation  goodwill  consulting process  market research  practice management  sales  ethics  planning  client development  engagement management  innovation  proposals  professional development  professionalism  knowledge assets  prospect  trends  presentations  recommendations  consulting colleagues  intellectual property  product development 

#273: Consulting for a Green World

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Green business is growing, with political and technological advances creating a demand for green products, green regulation and green management. How can I get up to speed on my opportunities in this space?

The most interesting aspect of the greening of business is that, regardless of your particular industry or discipline, you can participate in making your client more sustainable and, ultimately, profitable.

This is not the place to go into green market trends but here are two tips for where to look in your own space for green opportunities

First, what services do you provide that directly affect green products? If you consult on telecommuting, then the potential to reduce transportation costs fuel for commuters creates a good market for your services. If you advise governments on land use planning, then businesses will be interested in your skills to reduce facility energy and water use costs.

Second, what industries are most at risk for climate change impacts? KPMG recently identified industries that are most at risk of climate change impacts and poorly prepared. These include transportation, tourism, aviation, health care, finance, and oil and gas If you work in these industries, how could you reduce risk or improve preparedness?

Tip: An increasing number of firms are providing sustainability training and services that consultants can take advantage of. For example greensupplychain.org provides consultants with partnering opportunities to enter the green consulting space with your own clients or into new markets.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  customer understanding  marketing  trends  your consulting practice 

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#266: Slowing Down

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 22, 2010
Updated: Monday, March 22, 2010
I'm working too hard. I'm too busy. And I want to slow down but just can't sem to. Any tips?

I am assuming (maybe right and maybe not) that you are overworked with paying client work. The tip is not what you might expect in this economy but here it is. Raise your fees. A lot. For both existing and new clients. Risky? Wouldn't this lose some business? Most likely ... but you did say you wanted to slow down.

Surprise ending: You may slow down ... but don't be surprised if you end up making more money than ever before ... and working fewer hours. There is a saying that no matter what you charge you will get back the same dollars but with more or less customers. In a time of commoditization of consulting (and many other professional) services, when more and more consultants are undifferentiated, a notably higher fee will certainly set you apart. Now all you have to do is to make sure you meet those expectations.

Tip: Want to hedge your bet? Try it with half your clients and prospects and evaluate how this works in trimming your client load.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  fees  marketing  reputation  work-life balance  your consulting practice 

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#263: Revisit Your Marketing Collateral

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Over the years I have developed a great collection of white papers, blogs and feature articles. I consider these timeless advice and descriptions of my services but I am wondering whether they need to be updated.

After even a few years, you should review your collateral to see if it is dated. As much as you are proud of your work, business practices, technology and consulting approaches evolve. Even if your service is the same high quality as it always has been, and your clients are still satisfied, managers will evaluate the relevance of your services in terms of how it relates to those of your competitors (who will make sure their services are "up to date").

Tip: Perhaps more than anything else, it is terminology that must be reviewed. Imagine a client who is approached by a consultant offering to provide TQM (Total Quality Management) or ADP (Automated Data Processing) services. These are extreme examples of terms that stopped being used decades ago. In some cases, updating the nomenclature is not enough and the entire concept of the piece may need to be revised.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  customer understanding  intellectual property  marketing  presentations  product development  sales 

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#259: What's Your Firm's Metaphor?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, March 11, 2010
Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010
We are a new consulting firm building our practice in an extremely competitive market. We use all the typical marketing and branding techniques but this is not necessarily differentiating us. How might we stand out more?

If you truly are doing all the right things and doing them well, and presuming other firms are also, then one area to consider is the how much your brand resonates with prospects. Beyond asking your prospects pointed questions about what about your firm (or, since you are new, your sales pitch) catches on with them or is memorable, ask yourself what metaphor your firm has selected to wrap around your brand. Non-consulting firms often select a metaphor around which to mount a sales campaign or product line, but relatively few consultants use this approach to create a clear and consistent image, and your doing so may make you more memorable.

Pick a metaphor with which you can be authentic based on your local culture, industry or consulting discipline. A war metaphor (e.., I win and other lose) is inappropriate for a consulting firm in which your objective is to help clients, not to beat out your consulting competitors. However, metaphors of a family, a multiplayer game, an ecosystem, various sports

Tip: If you intend to use a sports metaphors, think carefully about the character of each sport. Baseball differs from football which differs from basketball, soccer, rugby, golf, etc. For example, football rarely has a player/coach. Baseball and tennis are played in defined units for which scoring is recorded and restarts with the next unit. Hockey players play offense and defense while football offensive and defensive players are separate.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand management  customer understanding  marketing 

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#258: Keeping Up With Your Industry

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010
I have a small practice and try to read about my industry but don't have the money for research reports and special studies. Is there a less expensive source than these market research studies that cost thousands of dollars each (some of which are of questionable value)?

This shouldn't be a secret but it seems that few people know about it. Every public company, and many private ones, publishes an annual report. It contains financial information, news about the company history, major initiatives, people, partners, sometimes identifies suppliers and vendors, and often shows images of facilities. These are available for free, either online or in hard copy. You should never be having a conversation with a prospect, or a client, without having thoroughly digested at least the annual report.

To get an understanding of an industry, look up your target company in a marketing information service like at Hoovers where it lists the "top" companies in the industry (by revenue, product sales, number of employees, growth rate or other criteria). Request the annual report of each of the companies on that list and create our own "research report."

Tip: In almost every report is a section called the Management Letter, in which the company describes the key issues it faces, its investment and market philosophy and its perceived risks. These are a gold mine of insight into the company and, when compared across leading companies in the same market, give you your trends and research for which you didn't have to pay a cent.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  learning  marketing 

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