Jul 28 2011

Kill The Frills!

Economy-crunched small businesses, stampeding to reduce payroll, need first to pull back the bells and whistles.

S C A L E   I T   B A C K.

Ideas, Proposals, Recommendations, Products, Services



Stop to think about it: If YOU are having trouble affording employee costs, your CUSTOMERS may be having trouble affording your product and service “extras.” [Restaurants have been scaling back since 2008 by offering better quality in smaller portions on slightly smaller plates!]

Let’s say you’re a consultant, and know in your heart of hearts that a client organization you work with needs to develop three new levels of consumer goods and services to stay competitive, but you also know that their naive management has failed to get its arms around the budget stranglehold that White House pressure has put on them.

You can lay it all out for them , knowing they will never pay your fee, and go down with the ship . . . or chunk up your recommended action plan to address just one new level, leaving the other two to simmer until the first of these can produce enough revenues to cover the investment and your fee, setting the stage for a level two proposal.

It’s worth the reminder that, as my father was known to exclaim and as Giovanni Torriano was first credited with recording the phrase in his Second Alphabet in 1662, “You can’t get blood out of a stone.”  And while we’re on the subject of hard subjects and difficult feats, you may want to accept the inevitable and just agree to “bite the bullet.”

In other words, when you can see that your proposal carries with it the hand-wrenching anguish that forces your client to back away from the table, scale it back. What can be accomplished by eliminating the bells and whistles and still manage to develop a new first level that’s acceptable, that can be expected to perform adequately?

Does this put a burden on you? Of course. When you may have been thinking you could do a $15,000 fee project, you find yourself settling for a smaller $4,995 fee project. What’s the answer? Do it with a $15,000 fee attitude, and use the extra time to get out and sell another client or two on projects that total $10,000.

So, now what? You lose $5? Ah, but now you have three clients and can more safely hedge your bet. If you work at it you may also generate $45,000 total a short way down the road, instead of just the opening effort for $15,000.

You can do this. The point is that everyone in business has reached a point of struggle (or at least substantial concern). How much further can this go? Will we have to go belly up? How can we pay the bills? 



Force yourself to take a good hard look at what you’re selling and to whom. Can it be streamlined and priced lower without losing value or impact or safety? Can the excess packaging be eliminated or relaced less expensively without risking damage? Can you use 2-day Priority Mail instead of more expensive overnight shipping? 

Can you make arrangements to package the cars you sell with a gas or routine servicing giftcard? Some lawyers are doing reduced price packaging of basic family and couple’s wills. Some chiropractors will do basic 2 for 1 adjustment visits. The travel and hospitality industries constantly offer discount incentives that strip away luxury cost extras.  


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Hal@Businessworks.US 302.933.0116 

 Open minds open doors

 Thanks for visiting.   God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jun 06 2009


Mind Your Own Business!


     . . . Not bad advice for consulting professionals. Why? Because the tendency we all have who are working with and helping other businesses and organizations is to get so caught up in our clients’ affairs and activities that we easily overlook many of our own needs. And we forget how to sell!

     If you’re a consultant in the first place, it’s because you thrive on some form of problem-solving and probably have a wealth of experience to share. You’ve no doubt heard the definition of a consultant as  someone with a briefcase from more than 100 miles away.

     And perhaps you’ve heard about the engineering consultant who charged the gas company $20,175. for his one hour of services, explaining the invoice breakout as $175 for the hourly rate, and $20,000 for knowing where to mark the X on the pipe that was leaking.

     Anyway, what matters in the end is that you remember to mind your own business because—like being able to manage stress (http://halalpiar.com/2009/05/4-steps-in-one-minute-zero-stress/) and remain calm in a catastrophe—you can’t be much help to your clients if your own house isn’t in order!

     This means you need to take periodic inventory (perhaps weekly, or even daily or hourly with some critical consulting specialties… surgery, nuclear fusion, e.g.) that spells out clearly where you are and where you’re going with each client and project. Where you’ve been is almost never important to anyone but you!

     So, scheduling is critical because you can’t afford to be meeting with one client when you’re supposed to be getting work done for another. Going from one meeting to another inevitably takes longer than originally anticipated, and needs to be factored into your travel plans. Telephone and email time needs also to be estimated and booked with time padding to prevent overload.

     With 30+ years of consulting under my belt (management, marketing, sales, leadership, communications, personal and professional growth and development, family business, and business start-ups), I have learned (now getting back to the subject of consulting service sales) that the best way to get consulting clients is to DO consulting!

     In other words, instead of talking about how great you’ve been and how much you know and how great you can be, stop with the BS and simply BE a consultant! Companies don’t hire consultants who are tangled up with contracts and invoicing and credentialing and who dwell on past performances.

     If you’re already talking with a prospect in the first place, it’s because there’s an immediate problem. Roll up your sleeves, get into the trench and start giving away your valuable assessments and advice for free!  Show what you can do instead of talk about what you can do.

Solve or shed light on an immediate problem

on the spot

and odds are you’ll be hired… on the spot. 

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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