There IS Such A Thing As A Dumb Question

  1. A former buyer in San Francisco is visiting New York and suggested we have lunch to talk about possible future business. I live an hour outside of New York. Should I go?
  2. The buyer has said that he’d like to go ahead with my help in his business and asked what the next step would be to explore that. I’m not sure, what should it be?
  3. I haven’t had any business in nine months. A company has called me and asked if I’d do a couple of hours of training for $5,000. Do you think I should pass it up since it might dilute my brand?
  4. Someone is using the word “exponential” in his company’s title in Australia, but I was using it years earlier here in the U.S. He refuses to change the name of his company. Should I sue him?
  5. My client has missed both fee payment dates, I’m now two months into the project, and he says he’ll pay me soon. Should I continue working and for how long?
  6. My client has filed for bankruptcy and is being sued by six clients, and wants to know if I’ll do some work for him in return for stock. Is this a good idea?
  7. A speakers bureau wants me to pay them $1100 to appear for 8 minutes with 20 other prospective speakers in front of a dozen meeting planners. Is this a good marketing investment?
  8. Where would I go to find books by Peter Drucker?
  9. The client is on retainer but hasn’t contacted me over the past month. How much of the annual fee should I refund?
  10. If I’m doing pro bono work and value it at $50,000, that’s a business deduction, right?
  11. A firm in India wants me to send my presentation to them, they will market it and set up workshops, then I’ll go and deliver them and we’ll share in the profits. Should I negotiate my expenses being paid, or is that totally my responsibility?
  12. Should I invest in running an AM radio show for 30 minutes at 2 in the afternoon? I have to pay the station $500 per show and bring in at least $2,000 in advertising per week.
  13. What’s the best way to sell my books from the stage while speaking to an association audience—offering them during a break, or walking through the aisles with them?
  14. Can I list a benediction as a speaking engagement?
  15. Can I coach more than one person in an organization?
  16. I have no business at the moment, but I have four proposals in front of prospects. If more than two are accepted I can’t possibly accommodate all that work. Should I withdraw two of them?
  17. If I give you a call next week, can you teach me how to do a strategy project for a large firm?
  18. I’m making $150,000 and I have an office, a full time assistant, a part-time assistant, and share a bookkeeper. I’m not keeping enough of what I make. What am I doing wrong?
  19. How do I help the human resources director market me with her boss?
  20. My wife’s cousin is earning $100,000 a year but bringing in no new business and not otherwise helping out much, but I can’t fire him or my wife will kill me, and he won’t listen to suggestions to improve, saying it’s my product that’s poor, not him. What can I do about this?

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to There IS Such A Thing As A Dumb Question

  1. Jason Burke says:

    Wow. Are these for real? Like the old joke about feeling better about oneself after visiting the county fair, this is proof that consultants won’t run out of work for a long time.

  2. Alan Weiss says:

    Didn’t make up anything, just changed some names and places to protect the innocent.

  3. Manuel Rosas says:

    Great questions…

    Would you please comment on the answer to question 20? It seems it would take a level of negotiation skills a lot higher than those found on the “getting to yes” courses.

    Thank you very much Mr. Weiss.

    • Alan Weiss says:

      #20: Fire them, because you’re hurting them by keeping them in a position that they cannot fill competently, and preventing them from finding something appropriate, plus you are killing your company and hurting your family. You can’t do this gradually, you have to bite the bullet. The hurt will go away. But if you retain the person, the harm will last forever.

  4. Noah Fleming says:

    I’ve asked my share of silly questions. The whack-a-mole has been a huge help. Some of these are pretty funny.

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