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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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#677: Is Consulting All You Do?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My consulting career is going pretty well, with a full book of business and a growing staff. It does occupy a lot of time and there are times when I feel like I am giving up on other experiences. Does a successful consulting practice preclude other activities?

Consulting can be time consuming, but doesn't have to overwhelm other aspects of your professional life. In its traditional form, consulting involves building relationships, developing professional skills and technology, and applying them through time spent solving problems. As a professional who brings together experience, skills and perspective, it doesn't have to all be time intensive one-on-one consultation with a client.

There is a range of opportunities to use your expertise in other ways:
  1. Writing - Take on a column, blog, book, white paper, etc. to bring new perspective to your practice, build your visibility and create some lasting value from your expertise.
  2. Speaking - At any level, speak to trade associations, business or consulting conferences, or to community groups about topics related to your area of expertise.
  3. Research - Conduct some data collection, surveys, analysis or other approach to generating new information about your area of expertise or interest.
  4. Volunteering - Give back to your community by offering your management and consulting skills to local nonprofit organizations.
  5. Productizing - Turn your expertise into tangible products such as book or DVD "how to" guides.
  6. Starting Another Business - There is no reason why you can't extend your work into non-consulting businesses related to your area of expertise, as long as you manage conflicts of interest.
  7. Partnering With Other People - Find individuals with whom you have not worked before and who you respect to develop new partnerships with, getting out of your comfort zone and perhaps a new way of practicing your consulting.
Any of these approaches is a way to freshen your consulting business and develop some new perspectives outside of the traditional day to day advice business.

Tip: Perhaps overlooked by many consultants are hobbies. Consider ways to pursue your passion in areas totally outside of consulting. For example, if you are a process consultant, you might enjoy furniture making, where details, procedures and materials combine just as in process reengineering but to produce a tangible object. If you thrive on platform speaking, maybe you could lend your passion to teach acting or storytelling. There are lots of examples but each hobby or other pursuit allows you to use or utilize your skills and interests in something other than consulting.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  coaching  community service  mentor  pro bono  publishing  teaching  teaching/training  work-life balance  your consulting practice 

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#948: Getting What You Need Most to Accelerate Business

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For all the good consulting ideas I get from business books, conferences, my colleagues and your Daily Tips, I am still missing something that would really jump start my business. It is the guidance of a mentor or someone who could give me the unwritten tips of the trade. How do I find such a person?

Having a guiding force early in your career has always been a good idea. However it seems to be all the rage today for anyone at any stage of their career to find a mentor, coach or advisor. Finding someone (or several someones) to provide guidance makes a lot of sense for consultants, whose careers require development of skills and behaviors in a wide range of areas. But how does one go about finding someone who can guide them?

The first step is to really understand who you are and where you are headed. Is what you lack related to your business or personal life? Are you more interested in building your business than expanding your service offerings? Do you feel comfortable with your work-life balance but not with understanding where your career is headed? Answering these questions comes first before trying to decide what kind of person to seek to help guide you (that person will ask similar questions once you start working with them).

Tip: Think of the one person you would really benefit most from talking to. Aim high. Who do you admire that could give you that one nugget of information that could unlock your business or personal potential? Now, find out how to approach them, whether through colleagues or through formal channels. Don't assume that because someone is famous or presumably busy that they won't make time for you. After all, this is the most important issue you face, your future. Remember, you are not asking to develop along term relationship with them, just get that one piece of advice you really need.

P.S. Whether this works or not, pick the next person on your list of "the person I'd most like to talk to" and have a conversation with them.

© 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  guidance  mentor 

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