The very first thing to consider when taking on a traditional or Internet consulting project, and the thought that should remain foremost in your mind during the project, is to achieve the results your client wants.
There’s no use putting in hours of work, only to discover that the results did not address the client’s requirements.
There are steps you can take to make sure that you and your client remain on track where results are concerned, ensuring a happy client, and a successful project.
Make 100% Sure of the Required Result
During your preliminary meetings with your clients, make sure of what their desired result is. Whether it’s an increase in production, a reduction in costs, or the development of a new process, define it carefully.
Then ensure that it’s included in your consulting proposal and contract documents.
Keeping the ultimate goal – your client’s desired result – in mind when planning your methodology and approach is crucial.
Every step, method and technique employed should be foremost in your mind when you choose your approach.
This avoids unnecessary time and costs to your client, reduces the possibility of failing to deliver, and makes your life a little easier!
Measure and Evaluate
Each project you undertake should have a measuring and evaluating system in place. Discuss with your client how they would like to have results measured and reported, and schedule regular progress meetings to discuss this data.
Problems with the process, picked up sooner and addressed, can be rectified. Rather solve a problem than deal with an unsuccessful project, or worse – an unhappy client!
As a consultant, your responsibility is to deliver the results your client requires, however, everyone involved in the process has some role to play in the success of the project.
Make sure that these requirements and responsibilities are defined early on, and that each stakeholder is aware of their part in the project.
This can range from providing specific information, to active involvement, but if the people involved aren’t aware of their required participation, your project is doomed from day one.
The Consulting Team
Even if you work alone, each project will be made up of a team. You, the client, their employees, and sometimes even other consultants or contractors will make up this team.
Consider this team your support group, enabling you to successfully complete the project. Make sure they are aware of any issues, their roles, and any issues that may arise.
It may seem risky to guarantee satisfaction – what if the required result simply cannot be achieved?
Well, if you consider that a satisfaction guarantee does not necessarily guarantee that the result will be achieved, only that the client will be satisfied with the method with which you tackle the project!
Many projects do not necessarily achieve the exact result the client specified, however, successful projects are often those that enable the client to achieve that result in future.
No one, for example, could expect a significant increase in earnings, or in production rates, within a condensed timeframe. However, providing a method with which to achieve those results in future, and perhaps showing a positive increase within that timeframe, would be considered success.
Your clients will note your dedication, work level and ethics, and generally, satisfaction, and payment, is based on those! As with anything in life – what you put in, you get out.