Trond Frantzen, Managing Partner | The PowerStart Group
Professional goals are the darndest things. They can be elusive monsters that follow us for years, perpetuate guilt (for not hitting them), often don’t get updated, and cry out for the magic formula of “how do we do this?”. Goals that fall by the wayside, unachieved, never give us an explanation of why we didn’t reach our objective. They just sit there, saying, over and over again, “you failed”. Some goals can drive us nuts.
Unless we understand how to work well with them.
The first two steps in setting professional goals are (a) to assess where we are now; and then (b) to determine where we want to be.
Most important of all, wherever we want to go, we do not need to know how to get there. I know this goes against common wisdom (remembering that it’s also common that only 6 of 100 people reach their goals), but simply having the goal will eventually lead to developing the plan to achieving it. So, let me repeat this in different words: We do not need to know how to get there! The path will become clear after you have impressed the goal on your sub-conscious often enough.
So, if you’re a consultant, let’s assess where you are now. Write down your answers.
- Where are you in your career? (Yes, you need to do this.)
- Is it where you expected to be at this time? (Don’t be too hard on yourself, but be honest.)
- Are you already a consultant (of some kind)? If so, how long have you been doing this?
- Do you sell your own services, or do you work through an agency or another firm?
- Do you set your own billing rate, or does someone else do it?
- Do you think your billing rate is reasonable and competitive? Is it based on market forces?
- If you set your own rates, how do you know it’s the right rate? Did you do your research, or are you just responding to competition?
- Does your billing rate take into account any special factors, such as your unique skills or style? Should it? If so, why?
- What do you bring to clients that other consultants don’t or can’t?
- Are you a published author in your field?
- How long have you wanted to be a consultant? (Or, how long have you wanted to have your own consulting firm?)
- If you sell your own services,
- How much time per day do you invest in marketing your services?
- How much time per week do you actually speak with prospective clients?
- What are you doing now that you would like to stop doing?
Remember, writing your answers down will stimulate thinking. It’s not the other way around.
Let’s move on and determine where you want to be. Again, write down your answers.
- Do you want to be an independent consultant, or do you want to build a business?
- Where do you see yourself in 2 years? In 5 years? (Visualize. It helps.)
- What do you (or would you) like the most about working as a consultant?
- What specific business or organizational skills do you have to offer clients as a consultant?
- What management skills do you have to run your business (marketing, accounting, sales, etc.)?
- Have you chosen a business name and registered it?
- Have you prepared a business plan, even if it’s very brief? (Brief is good.)
- What does sales success mean to you?
- As part of your business strategy, will your billing rate take into account any special factors, such as your unique skills or style? Should it?
- What do you want to bring to clients that other consultants don’t or can’t?
- If you are not a published author already, is this something you’ll do (write a book) to bring added value to your clients?
- How much time per day are you investing (or will you invest) in marketing your services?
- How much time per week are you investing (or will you actually invest) in speaking directly with prospective clients?
- As a consultant, what specific services will you not provide?
Answers to these questions will help you get a better picture of where you want to go. Also, a couple of questions may be difficult to answer – such as, how much time per week will you actually invest in speaking directly with prospective clients? We’ll address this in a future post.
Your answers also clearly identify the goals you should focus on. Write out each goal clearly, in present tense, and with the date when you achieve the goal. Repeat the goal to yourself every day, and visualize how you feel when you achieve it.
You are now on your way.
Trond Frantzen is Managing Partner with the PowerStart Group. He specializes in business development strategies, marketing & sales planning and execution, and “bail-in” on challenged projects. His newest book, “A Playbook for Success: A Guide to Sales Success for Consultants and the Rest of Us” can be found on Amazon.