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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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#616: Let Others Compile Your Content For You

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, July 25, 2011
Updated: Monday, July 25, 2011
You often suggest that consultant need to expand our perspective by reading more widely than just about business and consulting. Does you recommendation come with some sources of current news and ideas in all these varies topics?

I am always open to your suggestions but I have two, one more global/conceptual and the other more about breadth/timeliness. The first is TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences about new ideas, started in 1984, which has grown to include almost 1,000 videos (3-18 minutes) available online. TED talks encompass business, science, global issues, literature, economics, innovation and other topics. A TED a day is a great way to open your mind to new ideas, even new consulting markets and services.

The second is a compilation of blogs, organized into an easy to navigate hierarchical website called Alltop. There are hundreds of topics already on the site from which you can get a quick survey of news and ideas, but Alltop lets you create your own topic (how do you think the existing topics go there?). Alltop founder Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple, calls it an online magazine rack for your favorite topics (really a categorized RSS reader). What is great about Alltop is that it is not supposed to be a destination, but a set of doors to content you might not otherwise have found. You could create an RSS aggregator on your own but you'd miss out on a stream of new ideas and content sources discovered by others.

Tip: Don't work so hard to find content when there are good tools to help you compile it and let others help you in the process. The best thing about Alltop is that you can create your own custom page, like designing your own magazine. Look for these Daily Tips in the Consulting topic!

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  blogs  creativity  information management  knowledge assets  learning  market research  social media  technology  trends 

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#583: Take Your Notes to the Cloud

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I am increasingly capturing information in the form of notes, images, URLs, web clips and voice files. The problem is that these are all resident on one device or another and, instead of making life simpler, I find myself trying to recall which divide a particular piece of information is on. Is there a solution for this?

There happen to be several. Each new technology provides a new place to capture or record information, but using another platform may be easier for one type of information or another (e.g., images captured by your camera phone) but it also increases the complexity of your retrieval process. Fortunately, there are applications that take advantage of the cloud to store information on a common basis regardless of how you captured it - and make it available from anywhere.

There are several like this but I use Evernote as one of several ways to collect ideas, images and notes on the go. I find it useful to get camera phone images of whiteboards at a meeting into folders and keeping my to do list current across platforms.

Tip: Most problems solved by technology can also generate new problems that need to be solved by a combination of good operational practices, but sometimes require additional technologies. It is worthwhile to step back every so often and make sure these layers of technologies are still serving your basic needs relative to their overall complexity.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  knowledge assets  practice management  technology  your consulting practice 

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#564: How Valuable Is Your Website?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, May 12, 2011
Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011
When I redesigned my website five years ago, it was "state of the art" but now I am not so sure? Are websites still useful for market presence and business generation?

Depends on what your site does and what you expect it to do. It is true that a website designed as recently as five years ago (seems like a century in Internet years) is unlikely to incorporate the tools and capabilities it could, particularly in social media. It is just as likely that your approach to web presence may need an updating if you are even asking the question.

Five years ago, many people used their websites as electronic brochures, essentially static representations of capabilities, experience and perhaps some free resources or paid content. The intent was to provide a more widely accessible and updatable corporate brochure. That worked really well, and we all created sites that did that. Since then, our approach to business presence and much of service delivery has migrated from "one to many" communication to building and active participation in communities. This is a lot harder than the paper to electronic brochure transition because it requires a change in how we think about business, not just a change in format.

Thus, asking whether our website is up to our needs first requires us to ask what our marketing needs are and in what online and social media strategies we are prepared to invest our money and time. And just having a LinkedIn and Twitter profile is not enough. Although perhaps a bit harsh, there is increasingly a divide between those who actively participate in social and online communities (there are thousands of communities in which to participate, unlike the "one big Internet" of a few years ago) and those who stand in a corner waiting to be asked to participate. Finally, in addition to the new tools and applications available, your website (or the space it currently occupies) should be part of your service delivery strategy, not just marketing.

Tip: Technology has changed so much that your marketing and service strategies need to take a hard look at your website's role. In one sense, never having had a website might let you be better able to look at how to build out the online portion of your marketing, practice management and client service strategies. Take a look at Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website?.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  marketing  technology  website 

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#534: Your Online Identity is More than Just Social Media

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, March 31, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011
I hear about managing my company's "O-dentity" (online identity) is more than just my website and social media profiles. What else should I be doing?

From just having a pretty and functional static website 15 years ago to engaging in selected discussion forums and maintaining several social media profiles and a targeted blog today, what constitutes your online image has evolved. It will likely continue to do so. Here are a few ideas about what to attend to in maintaining a powerful o-dentity:
  • One individual is best to oversee and integrate all aspect of your online presence. Although each blog, website, forum, interactive forum, etc. can be maintained by separate individuals, it is best if one person understands and sets the strategy for the collection of these mechanisms.
  • Technology now makes it possible to engage your customers and the interested public. Figure out a way to move beyond a static website to an interactive one, whether it is soliciting inquiries or hosting a set of targeted discussion forums. If you are looking for clients or partners, talk to them, not just at them.
  • Respond to inquiries, comments and complaints on your website with the same level of interest you would from a phone call. Check your incoming web inquiries as frequently as you check for phone messages, not whenever you get around to it. Many people would rather interact this way instead of by phone.
  • Offer a continuously expanding (or at least enhanced) suite of services or avenues for interaction. Everything has a lifespan and it is likely that after a few months of discussion on a topic, it is time to offer something new. Don't be known as the site that used to be interesting but is now lame.
Tip: Your o-dentity needs to be a core part of your communication, marketing and sales strategies. It is easy to just design and implement and forget that your public values fresh and innovative as much as it does content itself.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  blogs  communication  marketing  publicity  social media  technology  website 

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#465: Social Media Can be Anything You Can Create

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, December 24, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 24, 2010
I am not a technological Luddite but I can't see how all this social media is useful for business. Beyond "having" a presence (website, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, Ning site, blog(s), Twitter, and syndication), it seems a colossal commitment of time that could be used to create product or deliver services.

Is social media useful for your own practice or your client's business? As any consultant can tell you, "it depends." Despite Pew Research findings that only 27% of US Internet users bother to read blogs, even back in 2008 we were still adding new blogs at a rate of 40,000 a day. Venture capital firms invested $60 million that year for startup blogging companies. Apparently blogging has enough value to attract capital. Finally, Twitter is berated by many as a waste of time, but Dell attributes more than $6.5 million of revenue last year from their Twitter presence (and that was more or less unintentional).

What is often missing in the "What Good is Social Media?" discussion is how it is being used. These technologies don't exist as add-ons - they are genuinely creating new ways to communicate in speed, content, interactivity, and functionality. But "being in social media" is of no value unless you are using it to further your current business goals. For example, a LinkedIn profile only has value as a reference point for your participation in (or starting and moderating) LinkedIn Groups. Setting up your own Ning social network is only as valuable as the community you create and maintain.

Tip: A great example of how digital media could transform our interaction is to look at a YouTube video of the "Digital Nativity" (easier if you know the Christian references to the story, but you can get the point even without them). There is "old school" ways of doing things and "really, really new school" ways. The market demands more than just good consulting services. It (legitimately or not) sees your engagement with the social and business community as evidence of your value and the transparency it affords as a measure of trust. Social media, done well, is one way to create that presence and trust.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  collaboration  communication  marketing  social media  technology  trust  website 

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