Go Long

When I was young, we’d gather in the schoolyard to play a variety of games, one of the most popular of which was touch football. In the huddle, the quarterback would actually tell each kid what to do: “You block Jones, you block Daniels, you run a short pass pattern on the right,” and so on, Since I was very fast (I became a varsity sprinter in high school in my freshman year) I was usually told, “Weiss, you go …


My Son Is A PhD, Not the Kind of Doctor Who Helps People

The way the medical system is today, the traditional family doctor (now your “primary physician”) can’t do very much! The minor stuff is handled by a physician’s assistant, who is empowered to treat patients and write prescriptions, and the major stuff is referred to a bewildering number of specialists. In other words, the GP is capable of scaring you with a health issue, but not helping you to overcome it! Don’t let that be your fate as a consultant. Specialization …


Overhead

Large organizations (and small ones) have bureaucracies, overhead, which eat into profit. Some of it is needed, much of it is not. I believe entire human resource departments, for example, are simply unnecessary overhead. The problem is that many solo consultants set about creating their own time-draining, profit-eroding overheard. They pay subcontractors too much. They pay for ineffective social media advertising. They pay notoriously shoddy firms to place their intellectual property on online learning platforms—which no one buys, and we …


Do They Have Budget?

Many people I coach are flummoxed that what they believed was complete agreement with the buyer fell to pieces when the buyer sees the fee for the first time—even modest fees. Some feel betrayed, others feel like failures. Whenever you’re dealing with any mid-market business (let alone “mom and pops”) always  check for fee expectations prior to leaving and before creating the proposal. Many of these buyers are simply not accustomed to dealing with value-based fees, and/or with anything other …


The “Fix” Is Out

We are inculcated to “fix” things, solve problems, restore poor performance to prior, acceptable performance. Forget about it. When you’re with a buyer, attempting to fix something will: Imply you can solve something quickly that the (stupid) buyer has struggled with for months. Take care of the problem, rendering any further (paid for) work unnecessary. Instead of fixing stuff, ask this: “What is your ideal future state?” There is far higher value in improving rather than fixing. Stop acting like a …


Towels and Class

I’m at a luxury hotel in Puerto Rico where the staff is quite pleasant and the setting lovely. The food is good, the rooms well appointed. Yet at the pool and beach, they treat you like a towel thief. You need a special card (not your room key) to get towels, and then you have to announce their return so that your name is checked off. (After hours? Report in the morning!) Why do they treat guests as criminals who …


I’m asked frequently about whether a solo consultant should have a business plan and/or a marketing plan. My advice is: No. There are consultants with complex business plans worthy of IBM or Mercedes. The do nothing but consume time. And marketing plans usually are focused on tasks (contact six people, write two articles) rather than results. Put tasks in your daily calendar, but stop calling them a “marketing plan.” The problems with a number, such as $500,000 in revenue, is …


Technology companies, and Apple in particular, are increasingly providing bare bones instructions with their products. Generally, they don’t say much more than “Welcome to your new MacBook,” you choose a language, and that’s that. This is true for their entire computer line, iPads, iPhones, and iEverything Else. They are trusting three possibilities: 1) The new owner is already computer-savvy (and, more importantly, Apple-savvy); 2) The new owner has access to friends who are in category 1; 3) The new owner …


Value Follows Fees

The conventional wisdom is that the more value that’s perceived, the higher fee you can charge. Of course, I’m going to provide a different picture. The more people pay, the more they perceive high value. In consumer products, cheaper alternatives break more often and fail sooner. The more expensive the theater or sports ticket, the better the view. The more expensive the restaurant, the better the food and service (or we stop returning). The best attorneys and doctors cost more. …


Just Tell Me What I Need To Know

When I ask the guy who takes care of our trees a question about pruning, he proceeds to tell me the history of trees. I remember when I’d ask my college professor why we use English Common Law, and he’s start his response with the Hammurabi Code. In both cases, I quickly tuned out. We tend to tell people more than they really need to know in an attempt to validate ourselves, prove our expertise, grandstand our talent. We often …