Filed under: Business Growth, Pittsburgh, Profitable Growth, Uncategorized
After 14 years of consulting and relocating my business to Western Pennsylvania, many of you have asked, “What keeps you going, Andy?” In advance of my introducing an “Advanced Consulting Mastermind Group” with Michael Couch and the Pittsburgh Consulting Community on January 31st, here’s a preview of my keys to keeping your consulting business healthy and wealthy.
1. Sustain and nurture your professional passion. Constantly learn about your clients’ challenges and help them succeed on their terms.
a. Live to learn, but advise with detached passion. Stay devoted to your clients’ success and your market’s evolving needs and challenges. Develop a contagious curiosity for what could be and the unwillingness to accept the status quo. Your clients need this the most from you.
b. Focus one third of your time on each of the following:
i. Selling new clients and projects
ii. Delivering the best work you can
iii. Developing your own business
2. Focus on Your Best and Highest Use
a. Refine what you’re good at, like doing and what the market has paid you most for doing.
b. Repackage, repurpose and reinvent how you provide your Best and Highest Use. Constantly check what’s selling, how content is being is being adapted and what new problems and opportunities are confronting your buyers.
3. Embrace the ups and downs. No client, methodology, problem or market will sustain you forever
a. Change is constant in the consulting business. What was once scarce becomes abundant. Clients change and problems ebb and flow. Recognize the differences between business fads and timeless principles.
b. Accept what you can improve as an outside change agent and what is the client’s responsibility. Your client’s engagement is non-negotiable if you are going to help them.
4. Learn from the best, but do it your way
a. Surround yourself with the best practitioners as teachers and as peers. Consulting is a business where clients repeatedly paying and referring you is your best measure of success. Beware of those who spend more time teaching than consulting. Longevity in this unforgiving business is the best measure of success.
b. Do it your way. A most wonderful aspect of consulting is your ability to customize your practice to best support your gifts and preferences. You choose your clients, the problems, how you best work and what goals you set.
5. Above all, do no harm
a. Your clients are in your hands. Consulting is unregulated, unlicensed and requires no education or certification. You are your only judge of what’s ethical. Always take the high road.
b. Your business is sacred. Your business is as important as your clients’ businesses and needs equal attention. Invest in it and nurture it so it will be stay healthy and remain state-of-the-art.
Consulting through the years makes for a wonderful life and profession helping clients reach their goals and yours along the way. Cherish, protect and nurture your business, and it will reward you in every way. If learning more about consulting and my insight is of interest to you, check out the Pittsburgh Consulting Community at http://www.mcassociatesinc.com/community/index.php after December 21st and join Founder Michael Couch and me on January 31st when we will introduce two exciting consulting roundtable opportunities for you!
Filed under: Business Growth, Profitable Growth, Uncategorized
For years, I have wrestled with what role social media role really plays in creating profitable growth and wrote a rowdy piece for AMEX on it here. But building relationships or “engagement marketing” is critical to creating profitable growth. And recently, when Constant Contact asked me to speak at their engagement conference on profitable growth, I presented the following 5 findings:
1. Customer Engagement
+ Your Firm’s Value
Profitable Growth in the New Economy
It is nice to chat online with communities and prospects, but it is crucial to speak in terms of your firm’s value and expertise. Whimsical topics may generate awareness and interest, but they must create live conversations where buyers can build interest and take action that leads to closed business and your profitable growth? Just like in marriage, unless engagement leads to committed customers it’s a waste of time and effort.
2. To ensure your engagement efforts generate profitable growth:
- Do your math. Determine your how many engaged prospects you must generate and how many of these you must convert into buyers to make your money.
- Focus your engaged prospects on your Best and Highest Use (BHUTM.) When you know your firm’s BHU and inject this into your conversations, your best prospects will respond to you in these terms.
- Convert customer engagement into profitable growth. Budget your engagement activities all the way through to your profitability.
3. Confirm that your engaged customers stay profitable.
• Measure exactly how much money your engaged customers are spending.
• Track your cost of engagement and never let it exceed customer profits.
4. Watch and ensure that your profitably engaged customers are paying you:
• Measurably and predictably
• Because of your social media/marketing
• Based on your firm’s value
5. Discover the specific ways how profitably engaged customers are paying you:
• They buy samples, trials, assessments and diagnoses
• Then they buy more
• And they refer your company to their peers who do the above
Customer engagement is a new word for building relationships, which is as critical as it is imperative. But social media and networking, without a connection to profitability, is a new word for monkey business. Make it your business to do it right!
Recently, I ranted about how blogging and tweeting are often incompatible with generating qualified leads or closed sales (“To Tweet or to Sell”).
But if you run a business, how do you know if your tweeting and blogging are making you money?
To read the rest go HERE.
This article is published on the AMERICAN EXPRESS OPEN Small Business Forum.
Best and Highest Use® is when you look at your company and its impact on your customers. Is it still helping resolve their pain, achieve their opportunities, and succeed as much as it used to?
Or despite continuing to deliver more and more are your customers paying you less and less?
Watch my video on Achieving Your Best and Highest Use®