Every entrepreneur envisions that time when they land the big contract, but then the demands start and you think ‘this was not what I signed up for’. You suddenly have to be somewhere at a certain time and some clients demand a certain amount of hours. Typically a consultant has very fluid hours, but what do you do when this happens? And what happens when you end up on a team with solo consultants, who aren’t really running a company? Well here’s what I’ve learned…
Outsourcing is key
Everyone has different expectations on a project and when you aren’t the lead or the prime, you have to go with the flow. Before you sign on the dotted line be sure to establish whether the hours are fluid or if you can use flex time to run your business and work on the project. The key is to deliver the goods, it’s never an option to put in half the effort on a project because you are not prepared. With the invention of Ffiver, there is no reason why the admin side of your business cannot be outsourced.
Your Team is Your Best Asset
Every leadership speech I have heard touts the effects of a great team, but nowhere is it more important than in consulting. Much like sales, in consulting you are only as good as your last project. Your delivery team is the core of your business. To your clients they are the face of your company and to you they represent the ability to complete the job. It’s crucial to establish a group of strong, productive team members that most importantly you get along with. They need to have motivations that mesh with your ultimate goal and you have to like them, because who wants to spend a significant amount of time with someone they don’t like?
Consultants work on multiple projects that is the nature of their work. If you want a consultant to focus solely on your project, you have to make that known. Consultants have to make their needs known to their clients, if you have a schedule that has to be fluid be upfront with your client. If you need to have your pay on a certain day, say so. The reason why this is your company is because you recognized you needed something more, now be responsible for it. Ask for what you need, but be willing to negotiate for things you want.
Being an entrepreneur means that you have to be aware of everything that effects your business and that extends to the kinds of clients and projects you take on. When you remember where you want your business to be, you remember what you need to do.
Felix P. Nater says
Leona, you even make difficult subjects seem effortless. You’ve touched on a very sensitive area deserving more of your perspectives. But from what I’ve read, it strikes a chord. A team shouldn’t disintegrate when that team is comprised of consultants running their own businesses. In fact, this is where the essence of effective teaming determines whether the team members view one another’s participation as managed selflessness. What better setting from which to grow new business development opportunities from the TEAM and the CLIENT? Managing expectations to me means managing my commitment to the project and the Team so that in the end I have built a reliable and reputation that invites new business and new support. Thank you Leona for making us remember the definition of TEAM.
Leona Charles says
Thanks Felix! You are much to kind, and you make a great point. This is when the team should shine, but often it falls apart. Why? I think that is something that we need to talk about as entrepreneurs.