Archive for the ‘Business management’ Category

Consultancy business plan template

Consultancy business plan templates are extremely useful when putting together your own consultancy business plan. However, it’s important to use critical thinking when working off a consultancy business plan template that’s already been created.

When using a consultancy business plan template, take care to remember these five tips for creating your own unique, successful plan:

1. Be sure to add your own unique strengths and weaknesses into the plan. 

If you are a master marketer or extensive business experience, you might be able to tweak the business plan to show greater growth than average.

Likewise, if you recognize that you have certain limitations, such as a physical or medical condition or personal responsibilities that might take up a lot of your time, be sure to reflect those effects in the plan.

It’s in your best interest to have your consultancy business plan as true-to-life as possible, so be sure to reflect your personal circumstances in your business plan.

2. Don’t blindly copy and assume.

If the consultancy business plan template assumes a certain rate of growth or number of sales, don’t just blindly follow everything that the consultancy business plan template includes. Use your own judgment. Don’t be afraid to tweak the numbers based on your own logic and knowledge of your own circumstances.

3. Don’t just show results. Show how you’re going to get there.

It’s easy to write that you’ll be earning a certain income during Years 1 and 2. But don’t forget to demonstrate how you’re going to get there from here!  Marketing is key.

4. Remember that the first year will be slower than the rest.

Be sure to have realistic expectations about Year 1 income, which can be slow to get off the ground. Savings are key.

5. Feel free to eliminate sections that aren’t relevant.

Does your business plan template include sections that just aren’t relevant? Don’t be afraid to omit them entirely if they are not relevant to your type of consultancy.

Are you putting together a consultancy business plan? To ensure you get the whole picture and are in the know about consulting fees and how to set them, check out our guides, workbooks and courses in the Consultant Journal store, including the invaluable guide on consulting fees: Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.

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Consultant business plan template

Consultant business plan template – Are you searching for a consultant business plan template because you’re interested in becoming a consultant?

If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Not only does Consultant Journal have excellent consultant business plan template resources, but we also have over 900 valuable articles that explain every aspect of becoming a consultant, from consultant finance to marketing your consultancy.

If you are working on a consultant business plan template you are taking the right approach to your business. Writing a consultant business plan is key because the act of putting your business plan together motivates you to plan for a successful business and to iron out a lot of kinks in advance.

Have you found a consultant business plan template that works for you? If not, check out these resources for compiling your consultant business plan:  

  • How to start a consulting company – Outlines the main steps to starting a consulting business, including writing a business plan
  • Government funded small business loans – If your consultant business plan template includes a lot of financial detail, this article will help you navigate government-funded loans
  • Consulting business plan template – Outlines the main sections that you should have in your consultant business plan
  • Sample consulting business plan – Outlines elements of a strong consultant business plan, including an executive summary, business overview, confidentiality and outline of risk, financial plan, industry overview, marketing strategy and other important elements of a consultant business plan

Are you looking for a comprehensive consultant business plan template? In order to help fast-track the completion of your consultant business plan and to make sure that you use accurate numbers, check out our guides, workbooks and courses in the Consultant Journal store, including the invaluable guide on consulting fees: Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants.

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7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them)

When it comes to your personal and business brand, your professional email address may be undoing all your hard work. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of email addresses – and I’ve had a chance to make observations through the eyes of hiring manager, consultant, client, volunteer and colleague.

Your email address brands you, even when you’re not working

If you want to be professional, you have to think about how your email address represents you. Even if you’re merely using your email address for personal reasons, it’s likely that many members of your business network see your personal address. That’s because everyone you contact becomes a member of your network:
  • Store owner who runs the mailing list for specials
  • Yoga instructor who sends you a mailer on upcoming classes
  • Meetup group you joined and never managed to attend
  • Parent class rep at your kids’ school – and  everyone on the shared contact sheet
  • Dating site people you saw once
  • Parent you met at the park and decided to join for coffee, since you both work in the same industry
  • Friend you met at fitness class, who knows about how to set up that thing on the computer
  • Guy you met at the charity event, who mentioned he could send you a discount code for an event at the art gallery
Most of those people may not profile as “business” or “professional” contacts, per se, but they’re part of your network and thus your professional life. In fact, even if you’re on mat leave, still in college, backpacking, vacationing, parenting, socializing or otherwise wearing your “non-career” hat, the contact you make may influence your future career and business. It’s all marketing and networking.

Consulting Course - Become a Consultant - Learn to Consult

7 terrible secrets revealed by common email address mistakes

These common email address mistakes can mar your reputation:
  1. Too flirty. You’ve got some flirty, cutesy or otherwise goofy email address, leftover from college, your Internet dating days or a drunken moment at Gmail - hotsexythang@domainname.com and coolseattleguy@madeupdomain.com.
  2. Shared with your life partner, meaning you have no separate identity, control issues, a domineering partner, computer skills too weak to manage your own account or some other “issue” people dream up – robandjulie@mytownslocalISP.com.
  3. Too generic. You put a date in your address to set you apart – jane2007@gmail.com.
  4. Make you look less than brilliant. Unless you’re flickr, a modified spelling looks like you either created your address in desperation or that you can’t spell – consltnt@gmail.com or propaytner@hotmail.com.
  5. Nonsensical. youcanseetheanswer@gmail.com or rotememoryrobots@yahoo.com.
  6. Unbranded. If you have a business or a professional career, it’s a mistake to use a generic email account, such as Hotmail or Yahoo – newyorkfloriststore@yahoo.com or rsmith.consultant@hotmail.com.
  7. Spam filter nightmare. Many email filters are set up to look for numbers, underscores, and superlative adjectives. Even if you can handle the branding issues, your email may end up in the junk mail bin – angela_coopersmith1980@gmail.com.  

5 remedies for common email address mistakes

Relax – there are several solutions for typical email address mistakes:

  1. Get your own email account, if you’re sharing one. Your ISP and gmail offer a variety of options. Click here for my preferred provider – I’m an affiliate
  2. Change the name of your existing email account. Your ISP may help you. Or you can easily set up a new Gmail account.
  3. Set up additional profiles if you use Microsoft Outlook.
  4. Forward all your email to the account you check most, if you don’t know how to set up more than one profile on Outlook or your smartphone.
  5. Purchase a domain name and set up an email address to match. You can do this even if you do not run your own business. Consider jane@realestatemagic.com or dsmith@atlantabanker.com, for example. Click here for my preferred provider – I’m an affiliate.

It gets even worse

I wrote this article on common email address mistakes because of a random discovery on LinkedIn. For years, I’ve recoiled in mock horror upon seeing women sharing their husband’s email addresses. But then I saw something that shocked me even more. For whatever reason, it seemed even worse than the usual email address mistakes. I saw a husband and wife sharing a single LinkedIn account. It made no sense to me. Why would you share a career profile on a virtual resume site? It boggles my mind. But more on LinkedIn (and Twitter) later.
What deadly email address mistakes have you spotted? What tips do you have?
 Note: all email address given are fictitious and were generated for the purposes of this article. No connection to a real living or dead person or existing or closed business is made or implied. Any connection is purely coincidental.

Know what to charge? Get the expert Consulting Fees Guide here

Consulting business plan template – free outline

Many people write to ask where they can find a consulting business plan template. Well, here’s a free outline of a consulting business plan template. It’s just an outline, though – see here for my full business plan kit, which includes the actual materials I use to help clients with their business plans.

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Business Overview
  3. Products & Services
  4. Sales & Marketing Plan
  5. Operating Plan
  6. Management and Organization
  7. Action Plan
  8. Financial Plan
  9. Investment Opportunity
  10. Appendices
    1. Personal Financial Statements
    2. Financial Statements
Having run a business and marketing consulting firm for the past 14 years, I’ve written countless business plans. Every last one of them counts, though. While I’m not someone who would ever tell you that you must follow your business plan to the letter – it’s a roadmap, not a jail term – I do believe that having a good sense of direction for your business is important. For most people, the process involved in developing a business plan is actually more important than the output. All the work and thought involved in figuring out where you’re headed is what will really drive your business.
 
With that in mind, if you are looking for a consulting business plan template, you want one that is easy to customize around your own business. Otherwise, if you follow a pre-written, off-the-shelf plan, how will you stand out from the competition? Your business plan, while following a prescribed template, should help create a business that is unique, sustainable and achievable.

In the meantime, it’s still okay to start exploring the kind of business you want to start, the marketing you want to do and the fees you want to set. You can start on your business while working on your business plan, if you want.

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50 people in line for our teleseminar tonight!

Wow, I must say I’m floored. When we sent out the invitation for Consultant Journal readers to take part in tonight’s free teleseminar, I was hoping that we might get 10 people to register. I’m being really honest here – it’s my first time doing something like this for Consultant Journal and I wasn’t sure how readers would respond. I felt there was a good chance many of you felt “stuck” in your lives, but I had no idea so many of you would be keen to listen in. (By the way, if you aren’t able to make the call, you can still register and listen to the recording later.)

As I mentioned, I’ve partnered with Gerrianne Clare of Family Guidance System to offer a FREE teleseminar for Consultant Journal readers. Tonight, Wednesday, July 6 at 5pm Pacific, I’ll be interviewing Gerrianne about:

  • A simple 3 step technique to move from “feeling stuck” to being “in the flow” to achieve positive, lasting results in all parts of your life.
  • HOW to keep negative energy and family stress from creeping into your business performance (and vice versa)
  • A little known unconscious habit common to many consultants and solopreneurs that can sabotage your work/life balance

Ready to get in the flow?  REGISTER HERE. (link removed)

I’m very excited about tonight’s call and look forward to “meeting” many of you on the line.

Nearing capacity for teleseminar – sign up now

Just a quick note to say that we’re almost at capacity with seats in this Wednesday’s free teleseminar. As I mentioned, I’ve partnered with Gerrianne Clare of Family Guidance System to offer a FREE teleseminar for Consultant Journal readers.

On Wednesday, July 6 at 5pm Pacific, I’ll be interviewing Gerrianne about:

  • A simple 3 step technique to move from “feeling stuck” to being “in the flow” to achieve positive, lasting results in all parts of your life.
  • HOW to keep negative energy and family stress from creeping into your business performance (and vice versa)
  • A little known unconscious habit common to many consultants and solopreneurs that can sabotage your work/life balance

Get reconnected to the life you want and uncover what’s getting in your way from having it. REGISTER HERE.

I’m excited about this Wednesday’s call and I’m looking forward to my first teleseminar with Consultant Journal readers. See you there!

Business moms – 5 things they won’t tell you

Business moms – Here are 5 things they won’t tell you about working from home.

1. Sometimes you’ll miss wearing business attire

While it can be great to work at home in casual wear–especially in the beginning–you may want to get ready for the day before you start working in the mornings. Freshening up and looking professional can help you get into work mode and can make your family take you more seriously.

2. Working at home with kids is not the same as working at home without kids

Let’s face it. Working at home with children in the house is simply not the same as working at home in an empty house. You will have to be much more mindful of taking telephone calls and scheduling conference calls when you’ve got children in the next room. Depending on your children’s ages, interruptions will happen and you may have to be flexible about working hours depending on your children’s needs.

3. There will be bad days

Just like with any job, there will be bad days as a business mom. Even I have my days! 

4. Sometimes saying no can be tough

Being a business mom can mean that you’ve got some tough decisions to make, especially when it comes to scheduling and saying no. As a business mom you’re juggling a lot of competing priorities, and sometimes it can be difficult knowing which route to choose, like when I received a dream call from a reporter who wanted to interview me four days after my second son was born.

5. Believe it or not, working at home can get lonely

While the idea of no longer having a boss and not having to spend time with co-workers may sound great, working at home can indeed get lonely–even when you have children at home. Here are tips for dealing with home office isolation.

While these 5 things they won’t tell you about what it’s like to be a business mom may focus on the negative, it’s important to remember that the good far outweighs the bad. The 30 things I love about being a parent entrepreneur are just a tiny sampling of the hundreds of reasons why I love being a business mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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7 reasons to use portable media in your business

Aah, smart phones, iPhones, BlackBerries and Droids. Are you part of the portable media club? If not, here are 7 reasons to use portable media in your business:

1. Stay connected

Use portable media in your business and stay connected 24/7. Check in on your business no matter where you are and never miss important last minute emails.

2. Maximize your efficiency

Use portable media in your business and avoid wasting time waiting for meetings, flights or any other moment where you find yourself waiting with little to do. When you’ve got downtime–even a minute or two–you can plow through email, check your calendar, or check in on your business online. One of the main differences between portable media and traditional laptops is that with portable media you don’t have to wait for the long boot-up time that traditional laptops need. One touch on your smartphone wakes up your iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid in seconds.

3. Be more active on social media

Use portable media in your business to keep up with social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook. Posting to social media is quick and easy on portable media, especially if you take advantage of social media apps. Checking in on social media is a great option when you’ve got a minute or two between appointments.

4. Be on call for your clients

Use portable media in your business and be accessible to your clients whenever you want to be accessible. Respond to emergency emails from wherever you are. But be careful. Being an independent consultant doesn’t necessarily mean being accessible 24/7. Be sure to set boundaries and give yourself “me” time during which it’s okay to let business emails sit unanswered. Work/life balance is key, after all.

5. Access your data from anywhere

Use portable media in your business and rest assured that you’ll never be without your important data. Email addresses, phone numbers, reminders and calendar appointments are all at your fingertips wherever you are.

6. Consolidate your information

Use portable media in your business and sync your smartphone to your home computer.  Automatic syncing of your information means that you’ll spend less time  transferring files back and forth and more time generating business.

7. Personal perks

Use portable media in your business and reap personal benefits, too. Out on the road for an evening? Want to make dinner reservations? Want to see what movies are playing at your local theatre? Check in on your portable media unit from anywhere.

Are you interested in building your expert-status? Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

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5 ways to use video cameras in your business

Video cameras are becoming more common as quality increases and prices decrease. Here are 5 ways to use video cameras in your business:

1. Tutorials

Use video cameras in your business to create video tutorials on basic concepts related to your business. Clients will appreciate these tutorials, and on-camera tutorials can save you time and money because you may be able to provide video tutorials instead of in-person training.

2. Social media / YouTube

Use video cameras in your business to promote your products or services via social media. Create simple how-to videos that provide valuable information and position you or your organization as an expert at the same time. Cross-promote these videos at Youtube, Viddler and on other video sharing sites to increase your reach. You can even pull the audio from your videos and package the audio as free podcasts to be distributed on iTunes and elsewhere online.

3. Insurance

Use video cameras in your business to document your workspace and to provide evidence in the event of an emergency like a flood, fire, or theft.

4. Client testimonials

Use video cameras in your business to capture client testimonials. There is nothing more powerful than the endorsement of satisfied clients. When done professionally, on-camera client testimonials can have powerful impact on your business. If your camera skills aren’t up to par, consider outsourcing this project to video professionals.

5. Interviews for information gathering

Use video cameras in your business to aid in your requirements-gathering process. Not all clients will be receptive to being on film, but others will find being on camera an added bonus. And for you as a consultant, you’ll be able to refer back to important meetings and decisions for clarification.

Are you interested in more tips on how to build your expert-status? Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

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10 ways to use digital cameras in your business

10 ways to use digital cameras in your business:

1. Document for insurance purposes

Use digital cameras in your business to document your workspace for insurance purposes. Be sure to take photographs of your office detailing your business equipment and store the photographs in a safe place. These photographs could prove invaluable if a fire, flood or other disruption occurs at your home office or workplace.

2. Enhance your blog posts and articles

Use digital cameras in your business to enhance your business blog. Leave the photographs on your main website up to the professional photogaphers, but if you have a business blog use your digital camera to take relevant photos to enhance your blog posts. A picture is worth a thousand words!

3. Add benefit to client meetings

Use digital cameras in your business to enhance your client meetings. As a graphic design consultant, a client may indicate a color that he prefers or a logo idea based on an album cover or keychain. Having a digital camera at the ready will help you to capture the client’s desires digitally right then and there.

4. Document your work flow and efficiencies 

Use digital cameras in your business to document your work flow. Snap photos of your workspace as you work on a project. Notice piles of paper everywhere? A pattern of disorganization? Use the photographs to identify problems in your organization and make changes to improve your organization skills and efficiency.

5. Take photos of milestones

Use digital cameras in your business to document milestones. Get your first large cheque in the mail? Snap a photo. Land a superstar client? Take a picture of yourself with your big silly grin right after you hang up the phone. These photos make for great reminders and will help motivate you if you’re having a bad day.

6. Take photos of important events and functions

Use digital cameras in your business to capture notable events of interest to your clients. Did you sponsor a banner or table at a networking event? Did you win an award at a business networking award dinner? Taking photos of these notable events and posting them to your Facebook page, blog, email newsletter, website or other social media outlet will increase your brand power and status as an expert in your field.

7. Enhance PowerPoint presentations

Use digital cameras in your business to enhance your PowerPoint presentations. Sometimes stock photography is not enough. However, ensure that the quality of your photos is up to par. If your photographs are blurry or low-quality, stick with stock photography instead.

8. Take mandatory photos

Use digital cameras in your business because it may be a necessity. Taking your own photos may be necessary depending on your niche. For example, an environmental consultant may need to take photos of the terrain and adjacent areas to include in an environmental assessment or report.

9. Use as a scanner in a pinch

Use digital cameras in your business if your scanner goes on the fritz. In a pinch, a digital camera can serve as a scanner if needs be. The quality isn’t great, but taking a photograph of a document and emailing to a client is better than having to retype it manually.

10. Create promotional or informational videos using still photography

Use digital cameras in your business to create YouTube or other videos. Did you know that you can create effective videos by linking still photographs together? It’s very easy and can result in effective videos that combine photographs and overlaid text.

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