There is no predicting the markets or investments of other types these days. There are no “experts.” The gurus will tell you the market went up because of European fears and the market went down because of European fears. They have no idea, and certainly no capacity to predict it.
If they did, they wouldn’t all be soliciting our money for their advice, they’d be leading the good life with no cares whatsoever. But if you have to beg me for my money, then my inference is that your own investments aren’t exactly catching fire.
My advice to solo practitioners and boutique firm owners in the professional services business is to never cease increasing your value and seeking out prospects, while solidifying current client relationships. So long as you are in demand, have a highly respected brand, produce intellectual property and new offerings, you’re going to have a thriving business. The markets will do what they will, but you can’t control that. You can control your own business growth.
Keep expenses low. Don’t over-hire. Use contracted help on a part-time basis. Transfer work to the client. Use technology and viral marketing to inexpensively promote your business. Be shameless in the pursuit of people who can benefit from your value (note I didn’t say “sales” or “quotas” or “revenue”).
Beware of advice. (Oscar Wilde: Don’t believe everything you hear even if I tell you.) People have agendas. Gold is at 1700 as I write this, and was at 800 in the mid-80s. But the market in the mid-80s was at about 1800 and today is near 11,500. You’re not an investment expert, so don’t try to manage the market. You’re a consulting expert, so try to manage the growth of your own business.
Too many people are running around in circles, including government leaders. Those streaks you see through the circles are others who are running with a sense of direction, purpose, and confidence. If you want to run the straight and narrow and not bounce off the walls:
- Understand your value (how are people better off after using your assistance).
- Identify your highest potential buyers (who can write a check for your value).
- Create expressways for them to reach you and you to reach them (marketing).
- Focus on the growth and expansion of your business (don’t be scared).
- Charge for your value (reduce labor intensity and maximize profit).
Volatility is the new norm. Don’t worry about it. There are hundreds of thousands of people who can benefit from your help.
© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.