Million Dollar Consulting Toolkit
This useful guide provides specific checklists, guidelines, templates, and actual examples for every step of the consulting process. It covers marketing, sales, meetings, implementation, follow-up, invoicing, practice management, insurance, equipment, subcontracting, and scores of other elements. Thousands of people have bought Weiss's Million Dollar Consulting and started their own consultancy. Now, this handy resource goes hand-in-hand to provide all the tools new consultants need to enact all the recommendations and ideas in Million Dollar Consulting.
Alan Weiss, PhD (East Greenwich, RI), has consulted for hundreds of organizations around the world, including Mercedes-Benz, Hewlett-Packard, Merck, Chase, American Press Institute, and the Times-Mirror Group. He is the author of 12 books, including Getting Started in Consulting (0-471-47969-1) and Organizational Consulting (0-471-26378-8).
ALAN WEISS, PhD, has consulted for hundreds of organizations around the world, including Mercedes-Benz, Hewlett-Packard, Merck, JPMorgan Chase, American Press Institute, and the Times-Mirror Group. He is the author of twenty-four books published in seven languages, including Getting Started in Consulting and Organizational Consulting, both from Wiley.
Million Dollar Consulting Toolkit
Office and Practice Management
The material in this section deals with the elements of running your home or remote office, support for your practice, and daily routine. You may choose to skip this part if you already have a lean, mean consulting machine in action, or you may choose to apply it as a quality control check. But if you're just starting out, read carefully and slowly!
The checklist describes the basic and advanced equipment required for a home or remote office. Whether you own, lease, or share some of this equipment is dependent on your personal situation and finances.
There are subcategories where the equipment can be further specified. As a rule, high technology demands ongoing upgrades and replacements, but not constantly, since you will use less than 25 percent of the capabilities of many devices (e.g., people using word processing extensively may not utilize graphics editing, and those with a personal digital assistant (PDA) device may use it to track expenses but not receive e-mail).
Prices are highly volatile, and I won't make an attempt at a budget. However, if you are setting up an office for the first time, assume a $5,000 minimum investment. If you have an existing office, assume an annual $2,500 upgrade/addition cost, and an additional replace cost of about $5,000 every three to five years, depending on your need (or craving) for the latest technological breakthroughs.
Generally, purchasing warranties on equipment is not a good investment, since the reliability of machines and technology is good and most warranties that cost extra are nothing more than profit items for the provider (in many cases more lucrative than the equipment sale).
I'm ignoring the obvious: You will need a comfortable chair, roomy desk, organized files, and the like.
Speed dial, minimum of 10 lines.
Fax machine (if not incorporated into your computer):
Dedicated, separate phone line.
Redial and speed dial.
Minimum 50 pages of capacity for printing.
Minimum six pages per minute.
Accommodates legal and regular paper.
Enlarging and reducing capability.
Single-feed and multifeed capability.
Postage meter and electronic scale:
Minimum 15-pound scale that can automatically trigger meter.
Meter refillable via phone line.
Capability for tapes (for packages) as well as envelopes.
Automatic upgrades when rates change.
Computer and peripherals:
Maximum storage and speed you can afford.
High-speed Internet connection (preferably cable).
Backup dial-up phone line.
Wireless connection capability for laptop when traveling.
High-speed laser printer.
Automatically searches for and recommends software updates.
Minimum "footprint" or space requirements.
Minimum software requirements: Word processing.
Database filing system.
Contact management system.
Two e-mail programs (in case of crash or problems).
Two browsers (in case of crash or problems).
Synchronization with your personal digital assistant (PDA).
Alternative and optional items that may help considerably:
Television and radio, with VHS capability.
Small refrigerator. COMMENTARY
I think that Apple computers are the best investment. On average, you can use one for five years with appropriate upgrades before ha