How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant

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The world of consulting is constantly changing in response toshifting economic realities and new technologies. In this newedition of the classic guide How to Succeed as an IndependentConsultant, expert David Zahn updates Herman Holtz’s sageadvice to fit the new business landscape and take account ofdevelopments affecting the business.

No matter what your field of expertise, How to Succeed as anIndependent Consultant will help you win clients through a varietyof practical, proven...

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The world of consulting is constantly changing in response toshifting economic realities and new technologies. In this newedition of the classic guide How to Succeed as an IndependentConsultant, expert David Zahn updates Herman Holtz’s sageadvice to fit the new business landscape and take account ofdevelopments affecting the business.

No matter what your field of expertise, How to Succeed as anIndependent Consultant will help you win clients through a varietyof practical, proven techniques you’ll find only here. Packedwith real-world, effective business-driving tactics–as well asup-to-the-minute advice on getting the most out of newtechnologies–this helpful guide will show you how to marketyourself in new ways, soar over IRS hurdles, and grow yourhome-office operation into a thriving practice. Information addedto this edition also addresses the special concerns of internalconsultants–those professionals who work in-house, but providethe same service and expertise as outside consultants.

With helpful details and step-by-step advice, How to Succeed asan Independent Consultant will show you how to:

  • Launch your consulting career–from finding assignments toleveraging your skills
  • Use three simple rules to succeed spectacularly at your firstclient meeting
  • Prepare for any sales situation and avoid common pitfalls whendelivering your pitch
  • Manage your finances, including insurance and taxes, so you cankeep your business above-board and in the black
  • Understand the latest ideas in marketing–and how to usethe Internet, e-mail, and other technologies to attract moreclients
  • Write an air-tight proposal
  • Affordably produce your own press releases, brochures, andother sales and promotional materials
  • Get the best deal possible when you negotiate fees andcontracts
  • Maintain the highest ethical standards for every project

Independent consulting is more popular than ever and competitionis fierce. How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant gives you ahead start and a lasting edge with fully actionable adviceyou’ll find in no other book. Updated with the help of readersjust like you, this new edition is more useful, helpful, andcomprehensive than ever.

This readable book offers suggestions for succeeding as an independent consultant.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471469100
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/5/2004
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

HERMAN HOLTZ was a nationally recognized authority onbusiness and consulting, and the author of more than forty-fivebusiness and professional books.

DAVID ZAHN is a preeminent authority on consulting. He isthe cofounder of Clow Zahn Associates, a consultancy whose clientshave included Kraft, Coors, Hallmark, RJ Reynolds, Johnson &Johnson, Campbell’s, Tropicana, Dr. Pepper, Ocean Spray,Nabisco, and many others.

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Table of Contents

Why a new edition is needed now. The general economicatmosphere and its influence. New areas to be considered. The IRSversus the onsite contractor. The plight of today’s retirees.The explosion of pertinent technology. The need for enhancedmarketing. New information in this edition. Author note.

Increasing need for consultants. Do consultants have anidentity crisis? How consultants specialize. How definition relatesto consulting (marketing) success. The more important view: That ofthe client.

Chapter 1: What Does (Should) a Consultant Do?
Computers and data processing. The aerospace industries. Theconsultant organization. The consultant company. Hybrids. Theconsultant as a self-employed independent. Suitable fields andservices.

Chapter 2: Seizing Opportunity.
Your consulting specialty versus your marketing needs. Whatdoes it take to be a consultant? The skill of a consultant. Theavenues of specialization. Consulting assignments evolve.

Chapter 3: Consulting as a Second Career.
What is a “second career”? Almost anyskill/knowledge/experience can be the basis.Marketing—getting clients. What kinds of clients to pursue.Marketing your services. Plowing new fields. Consultants astemporaries. Finding assignments. Companies for seniors.

Chapter 4: Why Do So Many Consultants Fail? How toSucceed.
The roots of failure. The common mistakes of neophyteconsultants. The basic tradeoffs. How specialized should you be? Specialize and diversify. Marketing. The ten laws of survival. Theconsultant’s image.

Chapter 5: A Few Keys to Success.
The art of listening. Deciding what business you are in. Thekey to the definition. The two basic sales situations. Theindependent consultant: Specialist or generalist? Do’s anddon’ts, especially for the first year.

Chapter 6: Founding the Consulting Practice.
If you had it to do over. General considerations such aslicensing. The matter of a business name. What type of businessorganization should you use? Do you need a lawyer? Do you need anaccountant? Do you need a business plan? Some general observationsabout business plans. Generalized outline.

Chapter 7: Finances, Taxes, and Related Problems.
Using what your accountant tells you. The information you need.Some common mistakes. Some basic rules. Basic cost centers and costdefinitions. Insurance. Taxes: Avoidance is legal.

Chapter 8: Marketing and Sales: Finding Leads and ClosingThem.
Success in marketing is always a tonic. What is marketing? Discovering what clients wish to buy. “I know it when I seeit.” Creating needs—FUDs. Face-to-face closing.Qualifying prospects.

Chapter 9: Releases, Brochures, and Other Materials.
Marketing and messages. Releases and newsworthiness. Brochuresas marketing tools. Other sales materials. A word on e-mails.

Chapter 10: The New Marketing.
Recession or “adjustment.” The good news.What’s wrong with the “old” marketing? Is massmarketing dead? Why consulting is not sold via mass marketing. Themarketing database. Networking for clients. Miscellaneous marketingconsiderations. Brokers, job shops, subcontracts, and the IRS.Technical services firms.

Chapter 11: Marketing to the Public Sector: Federal, State,and Local Government.
A brief glimpse of government markets. What governments buy.How governments buy. The procurement system. Market research.Subcontracting and other special marketing approaches. Forms.

Chapter 12: Proposal Writing: A Vital Art.
The evolution of modern proposal practice. What proposals callfor. Why proposals are requested. The elements of the RFP. Theresponse. Kinds of information an RFP asks for. What is a proposal? Proposal scenarios. Who must you sell? Public- versusprivate-sector proposals. The evaluation system. The protestprocess. Sole-source procurement. Proposal formats and rationales.Format and general rationale. The necessary impact. Strategy andits evolution. Functional flowcharts. A few odds and ends.

Chapter 13: The Initial Meeting with the New Client orProspect.
Rule number 1: Have a clear understanding from the beginning.Rule number 2: Be a dignified professional—always. Rulenumber 3: Sell without the hype. Selling is consulting. Pricingproblems. Where to conduct initial meetings. Things to settle atthe first meeting. Follow up.

Chapter 14: Negotiations, Fees, and Contracts.
Fees, costs, and profits. Standard rates. Calculating overhead.What should your overhead rate be? Private-sector parallels.Government contract negotiation. Private-sector contract forms.What is a contract? Potential hazards. Alternatives to formaldocuments. The informal contract or letter of agreement. Annualretainers. Negotiating tips, tactics, and gambits.

Chapter 15: Consulting Processes and Procedures.
The art of listening. The art of listening part 2. Value ofsolution. Listening as a hired consultant. A basic approach to allanalysis: Function.

Chapter 16: Final Reports, Presentations, and OtherProducts.
Written reports: Products of the consulting project. Verbalreports and presentations. Other products. Finding a measuringstick.

Chapter 17: Fees and Collections.
Cash flow is a problem for everyone. Warning flags. Credit cardconvenience—and inconvenience. Collections. Collecting fromgovernment clients.

Chapter 18: Skills You Need: Making Presentations.
Consulting: Business or profession? Public speaking. The notionof born speakers. Planning the presentation. A few presentationprinciples.

Chapter 19: Skills You Need: Writing.
Writing skills for the consultant. Research and data gathering.The draft.

Chapter 20: Additional Profit Centers: Writing forPublication and Self-Publishing.
Consulting means different things to different consultants.What are profit centers? Why other profit centers? The commondenominator. Writing for profit. Publishing your own book.Marketing books. Other marketing means. Other publishingventures.

Chapter 21: Additional Profit Centers: Seminars and PublicSpeaking.
Speaking for profit. The public speaking industry. The seminarbusiness. Marketing the seminar.

Chapter 22: Consulting and New Technologies.
The new meaning of independent. Desktop computers. The mostpopular functions. Desktop publishing. Database and spreadsheetfunctions. Communications software. Graphics developments.Printers. Modems. Facsimile machines. Tape drives, copying to CDs,and backing up. The computer as a general aide.

Chapter 23: Business Ethics in Consulting.
A standard of conduct. Conflicts of interest. Fees and relatedethical considerations. Ethics and fees. A recommended code.

Chapter 24: The Reference File.
Books on retirement and second careers. Books on writing andpublishing. Books on public speaking. Other books of interest.Periodicals of direct interest. Wholesalers and distributors.People and organizations in public speaking. Convention managersand planners. Speakers associations. Mailing list brokers. A fewtips on writing direct mail copy. Associations of consultants.Miscellaneous resources. Internet resources. A few seminar tips.Proposal do’s and don’ts. Outline for the preparationof a business plan.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2005

    A Good Read!

    Take a deep breath and sit where the light is good as author David Zahn (who wrote this with the late Herman Holtz) attempts to describe everything about consulting in 400-plus pages of small type. The book realizes a good bit of its ambitious goal, though not without cost. Information is abundant, but not tidy. In this fourth edition, chapters pile up as the authors add coverage of new technologies to their previous reporting on older forms of media. The result is a big onion: layers and layers of information. Some are useful, topical and important; some dated, redundant or irrelevant. You can skim the parts that don¿t affect you, but a tougher editor would have slimmed it down and combined some basic chapters, such as the extra treatment of marketing and second careers. However, if you persist, you will garner some valuable information, especially about the competitive process of bidding for government consulting contracts. We consider this book worthwhile for those who are serious about becoming consultants. Just be diligent about ferreting out information that is pertinent to you (and bring a magnifying glass).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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