Designed as the go-to reference for managing a consulting business, The Business of Consulting is candid, practical, and eminently useful. Fine-tuned to address the changes in today’s business environment, this vital resource outlines the basics for managing a consulting practice and shows how to:
- Develop a business plan
- Market your business
- Charge for your services
- Build a client relationship
- Grow the business
- Ensure your continued professional growth
- Make money in the profession
About the Author
Elaine Biech is president and managing principal of ebb associates, inc., a strategic implementation, leadership development, and experiential learning consulting firm. She has consulted to a diverse range of industries including health care institutions, insurance, banking, ship building, manufacturing, government, and nonprofit organizations. Biech is the author and editor of dozens of articles and books including Marketing Your Consulting Services, Training for Dummies, and 90 World-Class Trainers.
Table of Contents
List of Exhibits on the CD-ROM xv
Foreword, by Jim Kouzes xix
ONE So You Want to Be a Consultant 1What Is Consulting? 1Four Ways to Get Started 2Why Consulting Now? 7Myths About Consulting 13Rewards and Realities of Consulting 18Just What Are You Getting Yourself Into? 20
TWO Talents and Tolerance 25Skills for Success 26Personal Characteristics of Successful Consultants 29Roles You May Play 30Signs of a Mediocre Consultant 32Your Personal Situation 33Caution: Business Owner Ahead 35Entrepreneurial Characteristics 35
THREE Dollars and Sense 41How Much Money Do You Require? 41How Much Should You Charge? 44Selecting a Pricing Structure 51Other Pricing Decisions 54Other Charges 55Fee Increases 57Ethics of Pricing 58Money Discussions 60Value of a Guarantee 61
FOUR Starting . . . 63What's in a Name? 64Choosing an Accountant 66Business Structure 67Business Plans 69Start-Up Costs 86Your Niche 87Your Image 88Experience 93
FIVE . . . And Staying in Business 99A Marketing Plan 100Do I Need a Website? 107Surprising but Practical Thoughts on Marketing 108113 Tactics for Low-Budget Marketing 114Contacts with Potential Clients 122Proposals and Contracts 132How to Refuse an Assignment 140Ways to Stay in Business 146
SIX The Cost of Doing Business 147Plan for the Worst 148Watch Your Cash Flow 149Track Expenses 156Set Aside Petty Cash 163Charge Your Client 166Project Revenues 170Deal with Bad Debts 172Keep an Eye on Your Numbers 172Protect Your Capital Investments 176
SEVEN Building a Client Relationship 179The First Meeting 181Four Phases of Building a Client-Consultant Partnership 182How to Improve the Relationship Continuously 194It's the People 197How to Maintain the Relationship After the Project Is Finished 197More Value for the Client 198How Many Clients Do I Need? 200Ensure Success 200
EIGHT Growing Pains 203Adding People 204Growing Without Adding People 218Expand Your Geographical Market 227Do Everything You Can to Grow Your Current Business 229Final Thoughts 230NINE The Ethics of the Business 231Consultant to Client 232Consultant to Consultant 238Client to Consultant 242Code of Ethics 243
TEN Exude Professionalism 245Measuring Up 246Continuing to Learn 252Balancing Your Life and Your Business 255Managing Your Time 258Giving Back 265A Personal Checkup 265
ELEVEN Do You Still Want to Be a Consultant? 267A Week in a Consultant's Life 268Visualizing Success 278Taking Action 282Getting Ready 282
Reading List 287
About the Author 299How to Use the CD-ROM 301
What People are Saying About This
"This book is filled with real-world, practical and proven tactics that, when used, do build successful consulting practices. It is a must-have resource for people who are thinking of becoming a consultant and for anyone who already is one!"
—Dana Gaines Robinson, president, Partners in Change, and coauthor, Performance Consulting and Strategic Business Partner
"If I were just starting in the consulting field today, this is the one book I would choose to advise me, caution me, support me in my business, and 'professionalize' me! Complete and highly readable."
—Marjorie Blanchard, cofounder, Blanchard International
"According to my calculations, I could have easily doubled my income if I had a copy of Elaine's book 30 years ago when I started my consulting business. But I am not depressed because I plan to continue in my consulting business for 30 more years and the book has many new pieces of practical advice that I can immediately use."
—Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan, The Thiagi Group
"Consulting is the art and science of creating solutions! Elaine Biech's The Business of Consulting is a valuable handbook to the field, the practice, and the logistics of the world of consulting. The second edition is even better!"
—Elliott Masie, president and CEO, The MASIE Center and Learning CONSORTIUM
"The extraordinary quality of this book is that it is a primer for the person entering into the consulting world while at the same time it is replete with practical wisdom for the most seasoned professional. Consulting is an occupation with much mystery surrounding it. Biech eliminates that mystery by shining the light of her experience onto the practical activities that make consultants succeed. What a gift!"
—Jack Zenger, CEO, Zenger-Folkman, and coauthor, The Extraordinary Leader and Results-Based Leadership
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