The Examined Practice

Socrates observed that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Perhaps the unexamined practice is not worth working.

How often are you willing and able to take a critical look at your own professional services practice (or most kinds of business)? Here are some suggestions to be your own best consultant:

• Are your revenues increasing by at least 10 percent a year? Why or why not?

• Is profit increasing by at least 10 or more percent per year? Why or why not?

• Are you ensuring that no single client represents more than 15 percent of your business?

• Is your name and/or brands better known by more prospects than a year ago?

• Have you created new intellectual property in the prior year?

• Have you published in magazines, newsletters, or newspapers—hard copy or electronic—in the past year?

• Have you received at least a dozen unsolicited, spontaneous referrals in the prior year?

• Are you being asked to speak and address groups at least monthly?

• Have you been able to increase your vacation time and discretionary time over the past year?

• Do you have contracted business that will pay fees over the next six months, and contacts going beyond that?

• Do you have no outstanding receivables older than 30 days?

• Are you submitting all invoices for fees and expense reimbursement as soon as possible?

• Do you create and analyze ideas for new products and/or services on a monthly basis? Do you implement at least one a quarter?

• Do you feel in charge of your life and organized, or disorganized and overwhelmed?

• Do you have a financial, liquid reserve equal to a year’s expenses?

• In all candor, would most people in your field and most of your clients and prospect see you as a current or emerging leader in the field?

Food for thought. Tough questions. If you don’t ask them and act on them, who will?

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

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