David A. Fields shares a post that is a must-read if you are considering partnering with another consulting firm to increase business.
There you are, polishing the sign in front of your catamaran and trying to attract consulting projects from the throngs of prospects meandering along the oceanfront. A boat-owner on the adjacent pier hails you: “Would you like to join forces? I’m sure we could catch more consulting clients together.” What do you think? Will adding more boats to your armada result in more clients?
Take a moment to look at the reality and rules of partnering.
(Note: This article was published in slightly different form in 2015. In the intervening years, I’ve obtained no new nautical knowledge, nor any greater misgivings about grossly overextending a metaphor.)
Reality: Prospects who want berths on ocean liners won’t choose
your skiff, even if it’s tied to a handful of others.
Many boutique consulting firms consider partnering to make themselves more attractive to buyers who lean toward big-name consultancies. “Companies don’t want a small shop like mine,” they reason. “Adding a confederate or two will make me a viable option for more projects.”
But heading in this direction misjudges the currents. Most prospects who will seriously consider a 50-person consulting firm will also hire a 15-person consulting firm, a five-person shop or even a solo practitioner.
In contrast, decision-makers who dismiss single-shingle consultants out of hand typically express equal disinterest in boutiques and loose networks of small players.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking a partner or two will convince a prospect to jump ship from his Crystal Cruises mega-steamer. You’re a different type of vessel, period. Take on the clients who appreciate your sleek lines.
Key points include:
- Reaching prospects
- Company values
- Sharing opportunities
Read the full article, Partnering with another Consulting Firm, on DavidAFields.com.
David A. Fields shares a post on key steps to take to grow your business.
Clients hire your consulting firm in part because you know more than they do. You’re an expert. Wise in the ways of management, marketing or the musk beetle (or whatever your area of expertise happens to be).
How expert are you, though, and what are you doing to continuously upgrade your knowledge?
Domain knowledge is one of the three ingredients you mix together to whip up a consultant. (The others are consulting skills and s’mores.) Examples of a domain include: an industry, function, methodology, technology platform, geography, or particular situation, problem or aspiration.
New consultants at your consulting firm often need to polish their consulting skills and supplement their domain knowledge. Plus, of course, newbies need to learn your consulting firm’s IP and family recipes inside and out.
Ideally, you’ve developed onboarding and training materials to fling newcomers up the capability curve.
After that initial bolus of learning, however, the vectors of learning in many small consulting firms narrow down to one: experience.
Similarly, as a consulting firm leader, you’ve gained the lion’s share of your valuable wisdom from experience on projects.
Experiential learning is huge. It’s real-world, and directly relates to your clients’ needs.
Key points include:
- The true value of experiential learning
- Creating a domain knowledge ladder
- Identifying the knowledge source
Read the full post, The Ladder You Must Climb To Grow Your Consulting Firm, on davidafields.com.
If you are stuck in a rut, at a career crossroads, or just not moving forward as fast as you want to, Christy Johnson shares a blog from her website on the difference between a mentor and a champion and how each one can help you.
‘Where are your champions?
You’ve probably heard the hackneyed advice for career advancement: “It’s who you know, not what you know.” But how do you know who you should get to know? Figuring out who you should cultivate relationships with when time and energy is limited isn’t always straightforward.
After interviewing over 200 professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries for Project Ascendance, we found one relationship trumped the others when it comes to ROI: the champion. The individuals we spoke with described the people who advocated for them in and out of their own workplace—their champions—as pivotal to their career success.
What’s more, when we asked participants to reflect on their professional experiences and tell us what they wished they had done differently, the most frequent regret they shared was not seeking out champions sooner. While these champion/protégé relationships are rarer than mentor/mentee relationships, our participants showed us that they can be developed over time.
There are, however, fundamental differences between mentors and champions. In a mentor/mentee relationship, the mentee receives most of the benefits and the mentor expects little in return. In a champion/protégé relationship, both people make a greater commitment to each other and have more at stake. Championing is a deeper more reciprocal relationship that requires mutual trust. Below is a quick guide for distinguishing between your mentors and champions.’
Key points include:
- Reciprocal relationships
- Affinity and social proximity
- Constructive champions
Read the full post, Do you have a champion or a mentor? on artemisconnection.com.
Shelli Baltman reflects on creativity, and how you don’t have to be ‘creative’ to bring it in to your day-to-day working life.
‘But I’m not creative!’
Even today, it’s hard for me to write that. After almost 20 years as an Innovation Expert, a role where clients hire me for my creativity and fresh ideas, and a long track record of commercial success, there’s still a small, childlike part of me that wonders if I’m creative enough.
My journey to a career in the world of creative thinking and innovation was not the standard path through marketing or advertising. After an undergraduate business degree, I started my working life as a management consultant, building excel models and cutting my teeth in data and analytics. Even after my MBA I worked at McKinsey & Co. in London and was practicing a purely fact-based, analytical approach to the business world.
Then, while working on a pitch for a start-up, I met some amazing creative geniuses, who blew me away with their ability to think differently, their ideas that seemingly came from nowhere, and their unwavering belief in those ideas, however eccentric. And I couldn’t figure out how they did it. Where were they getting these incredible ideas? Did their brains just work differently? I was jealous, to say the least. I wished more than anything that I was creative, like them, since it looked like so much more fun than the world I was working in!
And so, in 2002, I decided to make it my mission to move into the creative working world. I set out developing my creative muscles and started reading and learning widely, all the while doggedly pursuing a career with an innovation agency. Then, finally, I convinced an agency to hire me, which marked the beginning of over 20 years of fulfilling creative work, and more than 400 successful innovation projects. Now, not only do my clients value and launch the ideas developed during those projects, but I truly love my career, and each and every one of the creative skills that I’ve been able to develop and weave into what we do at The Idea Suite.”
Key points include:
- State of mind
- New connections
- Embrace experimentation
Read the full article, “But I’m Not Creative!”: My Journey To Creativity, Confidence And A Career That I Love, on theideasuite.com.
Do you find yourself stressed about your consulting firm? David A. Fields provides the advice you need to adopt a healthy approach to business to ensure long-term productivity and prosperity.
These days, maintaining physical distance preserves your health and protects those around you.
News Flash: Mental and emotional distance between you and your business bolsters your health, happiness, and the success of your consulting firm.
All entrepreneurs tangle themselves in their businesses. As a consulting firm leader, this issue is magnified. The separation between you and your practice can narrow to nothing because your consulting business is an extension of who you are.
You promote and offer your own thinking, IP, approaches, brainpower, insights and skills. Your firm and you are conjoined, even if you employ a staff or team to tackle your projects.
When a prospect rebuffs your consulting firm’s proposal, it can feel like your contact is spurning you and passing judgment on you, personally. And that hurts.
Wait a second, though. Consulting is a personal business, and that’s one of the wonderful attributes of our profession. So, is linking yourself hip-to-hip with your consulting firm really so bad?
Benefits identified in this article include:
- Maintaining energy, enthusiasm, and excitement
- Gaining perspective
- Consistent leadership
Read the full article, Do You Practice These 7 Tips For Proper, Consulting Firm Distancing?, on David’s consulting website.
David A. Fields’ first blog of the year provides a pathway forward for consulting firms in 2020.
It’s the first week of the year and one thing you’re probably wondering is what you and your consulting firm should do first. Right now.
Your consulting prospects are asking the same question. What should they do now? What should their priority be? Unfortunately, their list could be topped with challenges that your consulting firm doesn’t solve—penetrating the blacklight market, designing an office layout that houses 200 employees in a 50-employee space, or inventing new uses for leftover holiday yams.
Where does that leave you?
Without a consulting engagement.
In this article, points covered include:
-What’s Important Now?
-What’s the VIP for your consulting project? For your consulting offering?
-Three Questions to Identify Your VIP
Read the full article, What Your Consulting Firm Should Do Right Now, on David’s company blog.