No one forecast the financial collapse (except those catastrophists who were "predicting" it every day for ten years) and no one quite saw the recovery starting so soon. You're better off relying on Atlantic City boardwalk psychics and racetrack touts than you are stock market "experts" (aka "shamans").
You have to take your fate into your own hands. That means, I believe, being your own stimulus package. The government isn't going to bail out professional services providers any time soon!
Areas to focus on
Here are some key areas to start investing time and money in right now, based on the assumption that the recovery is not going to take several years and based on the fact that those who invest during down times recover and rebound far faster and stronger than those who do not. (See my blog on research to this effect conducted by McGraw-Hill and others: http://www.contrarianconsulting.com.)
Value to market: What NEW value can you present to existing clients? These are people who know you and respect you, but who have probably cut back on the "same old, same old" and believe that investment in new ideas and new approaches are better justified than returning to old patterns. Build on your reputation by presenting new products, services, and/or relationships.
Example: If you've been assisting a client with coaching and retention in the past, now emphasize coaching the all-stars and top performers, since they are the keys to retain in a recovery (where competition will be hiring again) and the fastest producers to "hit the ground running."
Self-development: The effects of the downswing will be lingering in terms of client and prospect conservatism, cynicism, and outright fear. You will need to provide comfort and confidence to invest and move forward. (Some may be short of cash, but that doesn't mean they have no cash, and you have to lobby for your share.) Do you have the skills to market and sell in that environment, or do you need to develop your own abilities to meet those conditions?
Example: Carve out the time to attend a workshop, teleconference, mastermind group, or other experience that will help to either validate your current approaches or "shock" you into some new ones.
Creating a fresh image: A web site is a credibility factor in this business, not a sales factor. Executive buyers of professional services don't troll the web looking for help. But they may well hear of you, read a book you've written, meet you at an event, or encounter your name by some other means, and they will go to your site to perform due diligence. Have you invested in both content and technology that represent you well and provide support for your value?
Example: The overwhelming majority of professional sites have home pages talking about "values" and "vision" and "integrity." No one really cares. What they want to know is what's in it for them and who says so. You should have typical client results and powerful testimonials (including video testimonials) on your home page, and menu pages which provide high assurance of expertise, not methodology.
If you don't, no one will
I could go on, but you get the point. Industries, organizations, and economic sectors have made cases for support, assistance, and even bailout. We are not going to receive such largesse, nor should we.
In fact, nothing will "sell" a prospect as much as a successful professional! I don't want help from someone who is struggling in the same way that I am. (And this is the answer, by the way, to "Will you have the time to deal with us?" No one should want to hire someone desperately sitting by the phone praying for business.) I want a ski instructor who is better than I am by a factor of at least 10, and I want a consultant or designer or attorney or coach or facilitator who has not just "weathered" the economic storm, but has surfed confidently and well, right on top of the waves.
If you don't develop yourself and your market approach and manifest that success, no one else is going to do it for you. Now is the time to build your own, personal, customized stimulus package and revitalize your business and your growth.
And you know that you can't be turned down when you apply.
© Alan Weiss 2009 All rights reserved.
Alan Weiss, Ph.D. probably has the strongest independent consulting brand in the country, and maybe beyond. He is the author of 35 books appearing in 9 languages. His newest is The Talent Advantage (with Nancy MacKay) from Wiley. He runs the unique Million Dollar Consulting® College three times a year. He has won dozens of writing and consulting awards and is a member of the Professional Speaking Hall of Fame.® Contact him at http:www.summitconsulting.com, or his blog, http://www.contrarianconsulting.com.
Building Your Own Stimulus Package
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topicView New Content
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users