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STRATEGY

The One Word That Will Crash Your New Consulting Business

You bring years of executive experience, but you can throw it all away with the use of just one word.

Let's say you're a bright, energetic executive who has achieved serious success managing any number of business units, high-profile projects, and critical business functions.  But that world ended last week/last month/last year.  What do you do now?

Here's a thought hang a consulting shingle with the idea that you can bring all of those years of experience to a few of the smaller companies in the area.  These companies are one hundredth of the size and complexity of the behemoth you managed, so they will obviously covet your strategic insight.

There it is--I used the word--STRATEGIC.  I hate this word today.  It is overused and at its core cannot be quantified.  It is a leftover from the 80's like hair bands and spandex.  For me it connotes a negative attitude as in, "I am smarter than you,"  Do you really want this message to be the core marketing angle for you new consulting business?

Here's a news flash!  Today's companies need people that move the needle.  Are you a marketer?  Drive more customers.  Are you in logistics?  Create faster delivery yielding cost savings and faster inventory turns.  Do you have manufacturing skills?  Drive lower costs or improved product quality. Of course, these needle-moving results may be born of keen strategic insight.

But don't sell yourself as strategic.

Every executive worth his or her weight today is strategic.  Regardless of whether they are the founder(s) of the company or the senior executives hired to deliver great results for the company, they have been obsessed with the strategy of the company every hour of every day.  The last thing they need is you sitting in their office offering help with strategy.

My advice, drop the word strategic from your consulting language and outline how you will help them in these targeted areas of need.  Show them how your experiences and insight will solve their specific issues.  Sell that and you will have many happy customers.

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Last updated: Jul 17, 2014

CHRIS HEIVLY | Managing Director

Chris Heivly was a co-founder of MapQuest (which sold to AOL for $1.2 billion), sole managing director of 77 Capital (a $25 million venture fund), and an executive at five software companies. Currently, he is one of two managing directors of The Startup Factory, a seed investment fund making 10 to 14 new investments per year. A national writer and speaker about startups and startup communities, Heivly is also the founder of the Big Top Job Fair.




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