When you’re just starting up your consulting firm you need to develop an action plan or process for deciding which consulting projects are worth pursuing. If you don’t you’ll end up with many headaches and a lot of wasted time. So you need to have a well organized strategy for evaluating leads and requests for proposals.
Consultants need to be selective about new projects or new clients. By evaluating all opportunities closely you can save yourself wasted time and effort. Successful consultants are busy. Your time is your most valued resource. If you are not careful, you can spend excessive time going down a one-way, dead-end street. These pursuits can interrupt and derail your current workload and cause a negative impact to your bottom line – and your mental health too.
When someone shows interest in your services you want to make sure the time you spend speaking with them is going to be worthwhile. Some businesses use this honeymoon period to procure free advice, delve into your intellectual assets and encourage your attendance at company meetings and events. All this activity drains your time and can take you away from current projects.
Considering Which Clients to Take On
Each project must fill two basic measures to be considered a viable project for your consulting firm. If you do not see a fit between the client’s needs and your expertise or if affiliating yourself with the project will not enhance your industry reputation, you should decline involvement. Turning away leads is not easy for any consultant when you’ve been programmed to keep busy marketing your services, but successful businesses are selective businesses.
Consulting firms who are selective about their work and their clients build a reputation for excellence. If you stay within your sphere of expertise, you will be in great demand among serious prospects.
When you respond to meaningless requests not only is this a waste of your time but your money too. Properly responding to leads, takes time. Manage that time by first determining that the proposal is within your area of expertise and secondly that your solutions will boost your firm’s reputation.
Guard Your Reputation
You must always protect your reputation. Being associated with failing businesses or projects can have serious implications. Industries tend to know who is doing what and how competitors are getting jobs done.
If your consultancy chases doomed projects or wastes time providing free advice and representation, word will spread throughout your target industry. Many new clients are feeling their way. These prospects may have no intention and may not even have the proper budget to work with you or your consulting firm.
What it really comes down to is this. As you set up your consulting business develop a process for screening clients and deciding what kind of projects or industries you want to become known for dealing with. When jobs don’t fit your criteria swiftly move on to more meaningful work.