Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Business Issues Facing Consultants

What exactly keeps consultants up at night?

Yesterday, a colleague and I came up with a short list of topics (business issues, really) we think are on the minds of many consultants.

Here's what we came up with:

  • The quality of our presentation, communication (verbal and written) and training skills.
  • Marketing a consulting / service-based business - using new media, traditional media, defining our target audience and personal selling skills. Personally, I think the latter is the biggest obstacle many consultants face.
  • Legal issues - contracts, service agreements, non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements with our clients and business partners.
  • Hiring - employees or sub-contracting.
  • Financial issues - budgeting and cash-flow.

As consultants we consistently want to be at the top of our game, but the challenge has always been balancing the juggling act listed here with the work we love. You can't have one without the other. The work itself is the reason we decided to become a free agent in the marketplace to begin with and we don't want to be mired in the struggles of running a business that keep us from doing what we feel we are meant to do. Can a balance be reached? Can the challenges be minimized or leveraged to allows us to do our consulting work?

As I mentioned, this is a short list of business issues and concerns. I'm interested in learning about other issues or concerns you have about running a consulting business. I look forward to your comments. Your feedback will be very useful for a project I am working all for the early part of '08.

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