Top 5 reasons consulting resembles back to school

In my part of the world, it’s back to school time. Next week, school starts up and I’ll breathe a sigh of relief as the streets of my beloved downtown empty of tourists. Finally, I’ll be able to easily wander Robson Street (which has the 5th most expensive retail rents in the world) and the ever outstanding Stanley Park…without needing to weed my way through tourists and students. I’ll hang out at Starbucks Corner, although I far prefer to get my latte at Caffe Artigiano down the road. I’ll go shopping in the middle of the day, soak up the fall atmosphere (including the rain) and meet friends for, well, coffee — this being Vancouver and all.

But, in many ways, September brings a change in my consulting work. Summers are always a little slower. I take vacation, my clients take vacation, my clients’ partners take vacation…everyone takes it easy. I often pursue special summer projects, rather than spending all my time working "in" my business. Summer is a great time for me to look at building up my business, so that I can go like gangbusters in the fall.

So September reminds me of "back to school".

  1. People come back from vacation. I get lots of "hello" and "how’ve you been?" messages and…of course…requests for coffee.
  2. Companies start thinking about how they’re going to ramp up during the fall. Everyone looks forward to the new "term".
  3. Networking groups start up again. I’m already looking forward to a new season of hors d’oeuvres. 
  4. In the marketing world, companies start panicking about October and November tradeshows and so my email inbox fills up with inquiries.
  5. People start talking about the courses they’re going to attend. Heck, if that doesn’t sound like back to school, what does?