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So You Want To Be A Consultant?

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I’ve been in the software consulting and staffing business for many years, and have had my share of experiences with facing and overcoming the tribulations that come with running one’s own ...

I’ve been in the software consulting and staffing business for many years, and have had my share of experiences with facing and overcoming the tribulations that come with running one’s own business. A lot of my experiences are specific to the technology business, but most of that experience applies to any form of consulting. At least half of your success as a consultant depends on your grasp and application of basic business knowledge and I am happy to share that with people.

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  • A great presentation on the consulting business! For those of you that are trying to break into the consulting industry, I suggest you read this article about moving from different sectors into consulting. http://www.consultingcafe.com/articles/become-an-independent-contractor
    I hope you enjoy!
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    So You Want To Be A Consultant? So You Want To Be A Consultant? Presentation Transcript

    • So You Want to be a Consultant? Presented by John W. Stout Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • This presentation copyright  2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved. STOUT is a registered trademark of Stout Systems Development, Inc. Corporate, product, application and publication names as well as certain images used in this presentation About are copyrighted by and/or are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or owners. Links to other Web sites are provided for convenience and Stout Systems Development is not responsible for the content of those sites.
    • About This presentation is not advice about the subjects on which you should consult Note: Your technical know-how is only about 50% of your business success Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • The Current Business Scene Disruptions More regulations, oversight Higher costs of business (insurance, taxes) Global economy factors Less freedom today than 10 years ago So you have to find the freedoms in the existing scene Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • So Is This the Right Time to Consult? When layoffs happen, companies inevitably fall behind on production schedules Even if hiring is frozen, consulting opportunities may well be available There are still plenty of opportunities locally Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • How Do You Find Customers? This is the most frequent question I am asked One answer: referrals But you must also grasp marketing concepts Survey your market! Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Your 30-Second Commercial Have a 30-second statement of what you do Be able to say it at a moment’s notice Must state the pain/problems you solve. Example: “Stout Systems is a software development and staffing company that is fueled by the most powerful technology available—Human Intelligence. Stout Systems eliminates the stress and frustration brought about by badly orchestrated software projects and overwork due to understaffed projects. Stout Systems helps you say goodbye to frustration and hello to achieving your project targets and technical talent needs.” Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Promoting Promotional vehicles: Media articles White papers Public speaking Networking events User groups Most consultants underestimate the quantity of promotion they must do Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Promoting Surveys are key! Ask your customers/market before you do any marketing! Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Branding Branding sets you apart Makes customers reach for your services Successful branding example: “I’m a Mac” Book: Defying Gravity and Rising Above the Noise by David Brier Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • The Role of Social Media Traditional Marketing and Public Relations are Changing Rapidly “No matter what I hear, read, or find on TV, radio, or in a magazine or in a newspaper, I can verify it on the Internet.” You are what you publish Content drives action Book: Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Li and Berhoff Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Often the problem you have been called in to solve isn’t the problem Spend less time presenting and more time asking Demonstrate your competence by the questions you ask Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • What Legal Points Must You Know? Always have a written contract that: Defines the relationship States the exact work to be done and deliverables Payment terms Business types Independent (1099), LLC, or Corporation Affects taxes you pay Affects how and if customers will hire you Insurance Liability Workers Compensation waiver Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Consulting to Big Companies You need to have a manager on your side to get in and stay in More prone to arbitrary decisions from higher levels Be prepared to deal with purchasing department (their job is to get best price) Be prepared to work through a third party contractor management firm Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Everybody wants big projects AboutBig Longer revenue stream, more “security” Sales gets a rest Small projects Keep you going when you don’t have big ones Small projects can open the door to big ones Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • What to Charge and Getting Paid Lowest bidder doesn’t always win Upfront: qualify customer’s ability to pay you Mini-qualifier: will they make an advance payment? Best practices: Charge for each actual hour worked Always give something extra Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Getting Paid: It’s Not Automatic Invoice with: your business name full contact info payment terms Accounts depts. often have their own rules … and may change them arbitrarily You’ve gotten paid when your check clears And what if they don’t pay? “The last invoice” syndrome Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • What About Royalties? With royalties, your getting paid depends on: 1) customer’s ability to sell product 2) customer’s effectiveness at collections You must be confident in their ability to do both Tip: Negotiate a guaranteed minimum payment Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • Find out what is really needed by your customer Then do it, or find a another source if you can’t Bill the customer for what you actually produce Deliver What You Promise Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    • STOUTSYSTEMS.COM Copyright © 2009 Stout Systems Development, Inc. All Rights Reserved.