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Writing great consulting proposals


Writing a consulting proposal? This evergreen post on writing proposals for consulting includes an overview of some key considerations for any proposal.

Of course, you’ll also want to include the contract terms, consulting fees, deliverables, terms of reference and other points. But starting with some key points can help.

Take a look at this post for pointers: http://consultantjournal.com/blog/proposals-proposals-and-what-you-need-to-consider

 

CPD for BC CPA accounting members

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for BC CPA (Chartered Professional Accountants) refer to the annual learning investment these financial professionals need to make every year. As with other chartered, certified and licensed professions, accountants need to maintain their right to practice through ongoing training and learning.

Our discussion of CPD explains both online and offline courses and examples of the kinds of continuing education many professions recognize. More than just British Columbia’s CPAs may find this CPD discussion helpful.

Many professional associations distinguish between verifiable and non-verifiable CPD — in some cases, organizations recognize self-reported learning. After all, members of chartered, licensed and certified professions are required to show good character and professional judgement. So time spent in self study on books and courses counts too. Some professionals from a range of careers – not just accounting — have turned to our books on consulting practice management for CPD course credit.

Verifiable credit usually needs to be supported through proof of attendance, examination or other third-party evidence that you took part. Professional organizations often give more weight or focus more hours on such programs.

CPD for BC CPA Accounting Members

For the specifics of what British Columbia’s CPAs need to meet outcomes, take a look at their CPD page on the professional association site.

CPD online courses – Canada, US & International

CPD online courses – in Canada, US & International – and other offerings for continuing professional development can help busy legal, medical, financial and other professionals meet their annual requirements. In many fields, professionals need to take a minimum number of CPD courses each year to meet requirements for maintaining membership, licenses, certifications or other designations.

Online CPD benefits

Traditionally, many people turned to their professional society or to annual conferences and cruises in warm and sunny climes. But the advent of online CPD course offerings has opened the door to new ways of accessing continuing professional development. With ebooks, videos and online courses, busy practitioners can access CPD online.

For people with busy practices and careers, active family lives, remote locations or just a preference to work on their own or in small groups, online CPD may be the way to go.

Online CPD and Offline Options for Continuing Professional Development

CPD is just one of the many terms for ongoing professional development. Other terms:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEU)
  •  Continuing Renewal Units (CRU)
  • Professional Development Points (PDP)
  • Professional Learning Units (PLU)
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
  • Mandatory Continuing Legal Education(MCLE)
  • Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)

CPD – online & other formats

Continuing professional development may happen on the job (in-service) or outside the workplace. It might be through formal or informal programs. In some organizations, the Human Resources department may offer programming or there may be dedicated training departments in some firms. Some employers may also include CPD and other professional development courses as part of annual reviews and ongoing workforce planning. In other cases, it’s up to the individual to pursue their CPD.

 

CPD Online & Traditional Formats:

  • Lecture
  • Workshop
  • Academic course
  • Case studies
  • Coaching
  • Small group communities of practice
  • Individual study or reading
  • Mentoring

Some organizations award CPD credit for:

  • Teaching
  • Mentoring
  • Writing and publishing
  • Supervision

Looking for individual study options for you? Take a look at our online CPD resources.

 

How to choose Twitter name

Wondering how to choose a Twitter name or handle? Picking the right handle can help reinforce and build your brand.

twitter name

How to choose a Twitter name or handle

  1. Determine whether you are establishing a business, personal or professional account on Twitter. Some people create multiple accounts – for their business, for personal use, for advocacy, for political messaging or other reasons.
  2. Decide whether you are going with a business name, an anonymized handle or your own name. For example, someone might have one personal account for speaking openly about political situations, but use a handle that obscures their identity. Others may just wish to keep their identity visible, but separate their discussions about the latest in legal policy from their personal rants about the way their sports team performed in the playoffs.
  3. Choose a relevant name. If it’s your business or professional account, look for a name that mentions your business, your brand or what you do.
  4. If your preferred Twitter name is taken and you think your copyright is being infringed, take a look at Twitter’s infringement policy . But note that even celebrities have had to resort to workarounds. Look at @aplusk or @taylorswift13.  If someone is just squatting on the name and not using it, you can also look at asking Twitter to release the handle.
  5. Avoid numbers and meaningless letters. @AustinMarketing99a just doesn’t look very credible.
  6. Reinforce your brand. Consider using a handle that matches your email address or what you use on other sites. It reinforces your brand and is easier for people to remember. If people need to look you up on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites, it will be easier for them – and you’ll be less likely to send someone your audience by mistake.
  7. Strive for a short handle. No one wants to type out a long stream of letters and it makes a typo more likely. You’re limited to 15 characters, but try for fewer.
  8. Keep in mind that your Twitter handle may be printed on event name tags, shown on screens in presentations, mentioned in other media or elsewhere. If you go for @CuteSeattleChris, @LAHockeyHater or @RepublicanJo or something along those lines, be sure that you’re comfortable with everyone seeing and using your handle.

What to do if your Twitter name is taken

  • Shorten your name. Turn Peggy into Peg. Richard into Rick. Kelly-Anne Kendrick into KAKendrick.
  • Add a descriptor/adjective. Try @AuthorPeggy or @RickAccounting
  • Include an initial. Try@JanetFSmith or @MeilingTChan
  • Add your state, city or country. @MacAccountingVan, @MacAccountingCA, @MacAccountingUS.
  • Use an abbreviation. The @WSJ, @NYTimes and @nbcsnl all do.
Got any other suggestions? Check out our article on choosing a professional email address for related tips.

Related to How to choose Twitter name

 

 

How to sign up for Twitter

How to sign up for Twitter – shortly after asking about the merits of getting an account for Twitter, a friend and colleague asked how to go about signing up for the a free social media service. While you can merely check the steps on the Twitter site, some people prefer a step-by-step guide.

How to sign up for Twitter - image of a smartphone with Twitter sign up page

How to sign up for Twitter

    1. Go to Twitter.com.
    2. In the top right corner, you’ll see a “sign up” button. Click it.
    3. Provide some basic information about yourself. You’ll need to include your name, email address and a password. (See our password management app article.)
    4. You may need to try a few times to find an account name that hasn’t been taken. Try adding information, as opposed to numbers. MarketingConsultant2017 or MarketingConsultant443 are less memorable than DavisMarketingChicago.
    5. Then click “Create my Twitter account”
    6. Upload a photo (people connect better to pictures of people, but you could also use your logo)
    7. Add a background (a relevant landscape photo can work)
    8. Write a short bio. You may want to include some keywords that describe your work or interests, as well as something that makes you feel a bit more personable (“Father of 3. Longboard deck collector.)

Once you’ve created an account, start following some people and lurk on Twitter for a while. When you feel like you get the idea, try your hand at tweeting. You may want to write out some tweets ahead of time, then post them one at a time. You can experiment with replying to others, sending inbox messages and following conversations.

Related to Signing up for Twitter

Should I join Twitter?

Should you be on Facebook?

Consulting Fees

Professional email address names

 

 

Should I get a Twitter account?

Should I get a Twitter account? That’s the question a friend of mine asked recently. She was about to make a presentation at a conference and the organizers had asked for her Twitter handle. Although she knew what Twitter was, it wasn’t part of her typical social media use and she wondered what it might offer.

When she asked me “Should I get a Twitter account?”, I took some time to find out why she was asking. After all, the answer to whether you need a Twitter account varies.

Twitter, which launched in 2006, is a social media and news platform where users post and interact with messages. Messages on Twitter are called “tweets” and are limited to 140 characters. Brevity rules on Twitter.

Messages are sent directly to people when you put an @ symbol in front. If you write @usernamehere and then a message, it will be seen by that person, but it’s still visible to the larger world. If you put that @usernamehere into a message, such as “Hey @username here, this article on accounting might help you start your business”, it will also be seen in the Twitter feed of anyone reading the post.

People often use hashtags on Twitter (#consulting, for example) to create conversations that others can follow. So, if you want to know what’s happening in #consulting, #marketing, #Seattle or with the #WHO, you can search or click on those tags. You can add tags to your conversations to help others find them, too.

You may choose to follow people on Twitter, so that you get a sense of what topics are popular or what’s hitting the news. Here in Vancouver, when an earthquake rumbles, an accident occurs or even fireworks burst, people will search Twitter to see if anyone else has mentioned the situation. News, business events and laws may also be topics of conversation, along with scientific discoveries, magazine articles and entertainment. If people think about it, it’s probably on Twitter.

If you decide to start posting on Twitter, it can help with building your profile — assuming you get in front of the right audience. I’ve used Twitter to make business connections, generate blog traffic, share information, get media interviews and build my profile.

Since Tweets are so short, it takes very little time to write a tweet. It’s less commitment than writing blog posts, articles or taking part in other marketing.

That being said, if you’re going to do Twitter right, you need to have a goal, a target audience, key messages and a plan for using it. Like anything else, it may or may not work for you. It’s always better to choose effective campaigns for your business than to do something poorly.

Do you have a Twitter account? Would you recommend it to others?

Related
Should I become a marketing consultant?
What is free publicity?
Should you be on Facebook?

Consulting Fees

Password Management apps make it easy

Password management apps can make your life much easier. Tired of trying to remember all your passwords? Stuck resetting every time your saved logins get wiped out? Turn to a password management app.

If you’re like me, you have a bazillion passwords for business, home and family. It seems like everything needs a login these days — your Wifi, electric company, phone company, email, online notes, social media and even devices like phones and computers. And you may even have multiple accounts with the same company, perhaps having accounts for home, business, multiple plans or even your kids.

This summer, I experimented with a couple of free password management systems. These are encrypted systems that manage all your logins and allow you to automatically login in by using a master password. You would not believe the stress relief this brought!

I tried 1Password and loved it, but switched to LastPass because I saw that I could share passwords with other people without telling them the password. So now it’s easy to hand over login credentials to web developers, freelancers and others without taking the risk of them actually knowing or seeing it. This makes collaboration easier, reduces risk and saves everyone the hassle of calling to find out what the password is THIS TIME.

In fact, LastPass on my phone lets me log in to see passwords just using fingerprint recognition. And you can use it for more than passwords — you can make secure notes and store secure photos too.

Every system has its limits and I’m not suggesting these systems are infallible. But if you are constantly setting passwords, using the same password on multiple sites or using easily hacked, easily guessed passwords (like password!), you may find that password management apps make your life a whole lot easier.

Bite, snack and meal – original reference

If you work in the online content world like I do, you may have run into the term “bite, snack and meal”. This phrase refers to creating content for readers with different appetites for your content. Sally might want to eat the entire dinner, but Mei-Ling just wants a little nibble and Ahmed wants more of a snack. I’ve seen this term thrown around by writers for years – but I recently went looking for the source.

After all, ideas come from somewhere. In this case, I turned up a 2001 Inc. article on the bite, snack and meal by E-Write. And a 2011 book by Charles Marsh et al, Strategic Writing, p.19, said Leslie O’Flahavan and Marilyn Rudick came up with the phrase in a book they wrote in 2002.

I looked up Rudick, O’Flahavan and E-Write. Upon seein Leslie O’Flahavan owns E-Write LLc, I contacted Leslie, who let me know that she started using the term in her courses around 1997 and popularized it through her 2001 article.

I’ll be making sure to cite this wonderful idea in my work – and I’m encouraging others to do the same. As a writer, I know how frustrating it is when others start using your ideas or words. One year, I had to file 200 requests for people to stop infringing on my content. Intellectual property and academic integrity rules still apply to online content.

Do you need a laptop for business?

Wondering if you really do need a laptop for business? We’ve previously written about this very question under the aptly-titled article, Do You Need a Laptop Computer for Business? . Things change and it seems like it’s worth revisiting this topic. After all, today’s entrepreneur has a range of device choices, including smartphones, tablets and iPads, desktops, Netbooks, laptops and other electronics.

When do you need a laptop for business?

Before you decide what to buy, think about when you’re planning to use your laptop for business. Consider all the circumstances:

  • Home office
  • Business office
  • Client settings
  • Public transportation
  • Coffee shops
  • Libraries
  • Office sharing and hotdesking
  • Presentations
  • Teaching

What do you need your laptop to do for your business?

Think about how you’ll need to use your laptop for work and business:

  • Email
  • Presentations
  • Document editing, including wordprocessing, spreadsheets and presentations – or something more intense?
  • Specialized apps and programs, such as GIS or architecture, rendering or high end accounting
  • Coding and programming
  • Gaming
  • Video editing
  • Graphic design

What do you really need in your business laptop?

There’s no sense investing in a laptop aimed at college students who game if you really need something just to edit documents. Think about:

  •  How fast your laptop needs to be
  • How big your screen should be
  • How heavy your laptop can be? Will an extra pound throw out your back? Do you really walk around with it that often?
  • How long does your battery need to last?
  • Will you plug your laptop into a docking station when you’re in your more ergonomic office set up?
  • Do you need your laptop to do everything? Will you have another workstation computer or is this it?
  • How will you use your laptop with other devices? Could you get away with a Netbook or an iPad/tablet paired with a keyboard some of the time?
  • Could you soup up your existing system with extra memory, cloud-based drive space or even just running some system maintenance?

Today’s business laptops are so powerful that, in many circumstances, it’s not whether you need a laptop computer for business – it’s what laptop computer do you need for business?! And the answer to that will come down to your unique needs. Spend the time to think through what you need before you end up investigating the devices available. It may save you from being pressured into a purchase you don’t need.

If you’re looking for a laptop for business, pop over to Amazon for some options. Consultant Journal is an Amazon affiliate.

How to use an iPad mini for business

You can use an iPad mini in your business – it’s not just for games and Netflix. The iPad mini turns out to be a valuable business tool.

For example, here’s the iPad Mini:

How to use an iPad mini for business

Combined with a Bluetooth keyboard, case and stylus, you can use your iPad to:

  • Take notes – use the Evernote app to jot down thoughts and points during meetings, when you’re standing in line or waiting for things to get started
  • Create, edit and collaborate on documents using Google Drive’s spreadsheet, document and presentation tools
  • Email – ’nuff said
  • Make video and voice calls – use FaceTime, Skype and other tools, along with your earbuds, to make calls from anywhere
  • Meet – whether you use GoToMeeting or just get creative with voice and video tools, you can run a meeting from anywhere
  • Access your files – DropBox and other cloud-based tools allow you to access your documents from anywhere
  • Present documents like you would on paper – just open up a PDF or other document on your iPad and swipe through it. Or bring along a presentation, report, whitepaper, video or other document.
  • Get the power of your phone without a tiny screen – you probably can’t go without your smartphone, but an iPad can give you that bigger screen and ease of sharing with a client that a phone makes difficult.
  • Gain portability – an iPad is easier to slip into your folio, purse or briefcase, without adding the weight of a laptop.

Do you use an iPad or other tablet in your business? Tell us how you use an iPad mini for business.

Disclaimer: Consultant Journal is part of the Amazon affiliate program.