Lessons Learned on Forming and Managing Consulting Practices

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Information about Lessons Learned on Forming and Managing Consulting Practices
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 8, 2014

Author: goudotmobi

Source: slideshare.net


Presented at Institut Pertanian Bogor Master of Business and Management's CEO and Entrepreneurial Development Forum on February 4th, 2014.

Image courtesy of www.robhartnett.com Delivered at MB IPB CEO and Entrepreneurial Development Forum

Who Am I? 4 Februari 2014 2

~ A anonymous consultpreneur 4 Februari 2014 3

Today’s Agenda 4 Februari 2014 4

Understand Consulting Requirements 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Accurateresourcegroup.com 5

• Hard and soft Skills in expert level • In-depth and broad Knowledge • Positive and constructive Attitude • Network, network, network: client, contact, resources, partner • In the end, consultant shall provide expert advice in particular or a wide range of fields 4 Februari 2014 6 Image courtesy of Matthew Norris

TARGETING the Type, Segment and Industry

• Ideally, identify which type of consulting field where the diamond is • If not, at those early days, determine specific area(s) of consulting that at the most • Passion first, expertise (shall) follow suit • Might decide to start with general consulting • Later stage to attain clients with specific needs 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Patrick van der Pijl 8

• Next: Which segment are we going to play? • Micro, Small, Medium, Big – we decide • Set the industry we put our priority at. Try to in-line with our background and expertise 4 Februari 2014 9 Image courtesy of Patrick van der Pijl

Is Consulting Firm a Necessity?

• Stay as a professional, self-employed, or move it forward. Cast our vote! • Comfort zone is everywhere • To grow bigger day in and day out, take the risk as long as we could manage it • Start a consulting firm right away. Period. 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Accumulate 11

Try to Do this Exercise First • Ask ourselves once again, do we really want to become an entrepreneur? • If yes, then decide: be a single fighter or go along with co-founder(s) • Do market research by: – Scouting out similar consultants in our area – Finding out expertise and services offered – Figuring out their prices and marketing schemes • When completed, then: – What differ us from rivals: quality of deliverable, more reasonable fee, faster execution and completion (?) 4 Februari 2014 13

…Let’s reaffirm ourselves by programming these words until they are sublimed “You say I dream too big. I say you think too small.”

Upon Completion then… • Decide source of funds: bootstrapped or? • Name our business. Memorable but not tacky • Establish our company profile (objectives, goals, mission, vision, values) • Choose legal structure for our venture • Craft a business plan. Not only for us but for investor as well 4 Februari 2014 15

Upon Completion then…(cont’d) • • • • • Consider costs and funds for first year as a start Obtain proper licenses Start to set-up office Prepare for office supply, equipment, resources Define company policies, processes and procedures. Formalize them upon completion • Consider to form and think further of separating management from governance 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Avasant 16

Start Too Early Only If… • Blue Ocean as Bulls-Eye • To win the mind share • Have adequate funds and persistence to struggle and survive • Able and willing to grab other projects to sustain the business 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Peter Nijenhuis 17

Rolling out Consulting Practice

Market Our Service • Attend event, mingle and network with others • Actively contribute for respective organization and association • Write at particular publications • Deliver lecture, training and workshop • Speak ourselves out at seminar and conference • Obtain advanced degree, accreditation and certification 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Jean Pierre Dalberra 19

Market Our Service (cont’d)d) • Capitalize on internet (blog, social network, any other digital channels) • Ask for referrals • Give token for leads • Offer low price services or more extremely free to build up reputation Bottom line Make ourselves and expertise heard and read (validated, acknowledged, recognized) Image courtesy of Nanagyei 4 Februari 2014 20

Improve, Enhance and Boost Our Expertise • • • • • • Reading Practicing Training Education Self-studying ….and many more Cutting the case: Internet and MOOC rock! 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of iangrieveson 21

Leverage Our Networks • • • • • • • Parents Spouse Relatives Friends Colleagues Children Even our former boss, girlfriend, boyfriend… 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of iangrieveson 22

Better Start with Small • Always dream BIG with our feet GROUNDED • Start off with smaller paying clients • Always eager to go for larger ones ASAP • Don’t grow too fast unless we have “solid back office” 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Goutama Bachtiar 23

Be Pragmatic at Early Stage • Going to where the money flows • Affordable office: garage, virtual office, co-working space as options • Host meeting at our client’s office or public service • Keep a healthy working capital • Think of rolling out Stock Option Plan (Why not?) 4 Februari 2014 25

The Time We Sign a Client the Day We Start…Losing Them • “Difficult” client is not an option • Watch high churn rate out. No renewal = (epic) fail? • Be flexible. Do anything possible to keep them • Ad-hoc call or visit might needed to ensure things going on the right way 4 Februari 2014 26

We are Worth Every Penny, So Show Them the (Hidden) Money! • Don’t we ever take crap from clients; Nothing personal really • Show them NUMBERS or any other key metrics esp. financial figures e.g ROI, NPAT, etc • Bring in more money by attaining more revenue or reducing cost than “our price” 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Maclufus 27

Well oh Well, Dress up Please… • The better we dress, the higher of consulting rate we can ask for • This is to show potential clients we are successful • Boost our confidence • Client will expect us to bring same success to their company • Try it and see the result Image courtesy of Alexander Rentsch 4 Februari 2014 28

4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Paul Downey

Set Expectations from Day ONE • Document important things, particularly request for changes • Get the approval as necessary • Deliverable meets expectation = satisfied • Raise the bar by always try to exceeds them • Unrealistic expectations? Silence is not golden here. Let the clients know why • Refer other venture if needed 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Andrew Evans 30

Keep Them Happy from Time to Time • Weekly updates telling what have you been doing and addressing any questions raised • Monthly reports. Graph and other forms of visuals is worth a try • Do follow-up by discussing it in an in-person meeting • Surveys – periodically and when project completed by drawing specific questions, both open and closed 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Martin Fisch 31

Keep Them Happy from Time to Time (cont’d) • Send industry updates and news regularly • Go further, do anything to makes them feel special • They could be KING or PARTNER 4 Februari 2014 32

Our Clients are always Right, EXCEPT… • Keep “the door” opened by letting clients tell what they want • They shouldn’t tell us what we should be doing • Telling the client what is the best. We have the expertise they don’t have, right? • It’s a winding road thou. Prepare data to back up what we want to do and show how it fits at its best for them 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Erik Hersman 33

The More We Charge, The Less They Complain • Big clients have deep pocket so big spending is no big deal • They know that if they want to continue to grow, they have to spend money • Messing up with smaller clients, most probably they don’t have enough money for “switching costs” • In most cases, the less we charge, well, it’s too good to be true 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of David Goehring 34

Clients to Pay Less For More • No bunch of case studies nor years of experience? Take it easy • Figure out what separates our consulting company from the giants • If we show we are better than the bigger ones, we will lock them in • Clients always love to pay and work with senior consultants rather than bigger firms’ junior’s 4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Surian Soosay 35

• Our strategy defines how we uniquely and persistently deliver value to our clients • It's all about them, not us. It always will. 4 Februari 2014 36

4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of BTO University

4 Februari 2014 Image courtesy of Paul Downey 38

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