The Consultant's Blueprint
A Framework for People Who Believe Consulting Success is More than Expertise and Experience
The Consultant's Blueprint is a framework designed for consultants looking to establish, improve, and grow a consulting business. The framework consists of seven interrelated consulting concepts that address strategic and operational aspects of consulting. Its flexible format assists a consultant with the development of their ideas, strategic decision making, and the execution of their decisions.
The framework begins by defining a consultant’s Focus and Ideal Client and ends with the Delivery of a service. With clarity as to a focus and their ideal client, a consultant can traverse different paths as they shape their consulting business-a business that fits their ideal client’s needs and wants as well as their personal and professional requirements.
No two consultant’s businesses are the same. Every consultant’s ideas, decisions, and actions are unique to them; however, all consultants want to be successful and engage in similar activities.
THE CONSULTANT'S BLUEPRINT IS FOR...
The framework is designed for the business consultant.
A brand new consultant might be best served by starting with defining their Business Core: Focus, Ideal Client, and Service.
Experienced consultants might decide they need to validate their Focus; spend time concentrating on getting clients by building Relationships; or assess their Engagement pricing approach.
A small consulting business might decide their challenge is timely Delivery of the agreed upon services or if they might find their consultants struggle with building ongoing client Relationships.
KEY AREAS IN MORE DETAIL
Although the key concepts are interrelated and each concept stands on its own, the concepts can be grouped into four categories: Business Core, Awareness, Engagement, and Delivery.
The Business Core is comprised of Focus: The Foundation, Ideal Client: Who You Serve, and Service: Point of View to Services. The three concepts address the consultant’s why, what, who, and how for their business.
A consultant’s Focus is the foundation or lynchpin for their consulting practice. It is the why and what that impact every major decision and action from defining the ideal client, connecting and building relationships, determining the service offering, and delivering the service promised.
Focus consists of:
The Ideal Client is a consultant’s who. An ideal client is the person who wants to work with the consultant and in turn who the consultant wants to work with. Clarity as to who the ideal client is enables a consultant to connect with people interested in paying the consultant to help them. Synergy between the Focus and Ideal Client necessitates a consultant to continually modify their Focus and Ideal Client criteria until each works together seamlessly.
Ideal Client consists of:
The Service expands on a consultant’s focus, their what, by explaining how a consultant can assist an ideal client overcome their struggles or move them ahead with an opportunity. A clear definition of the service being offered not only helps the client understand how the consultant works but helps the consultant remain true to their focus. Methodologies, transformational systems, and packages are flexible, enabling the unique needs of a client to be met and are used as the starting point when an ideal client asks for assistance. Aspects of a consultant’s service offering can be included in a consultant’s brand message and are used when building awareness.
Service Offering consists of:
Awareness is comprised of two concepts: Brand Message: Attention Grabber and Relationships: Connection Builder. These two concepts concentrate on connecting with the ideal client and building a relationship so that the consultant becomes known as the expert in the field and the consultant of choice. Awareness is all about How You Market You.
Consulting is a relationship business built on trust. The first step in building that trust is crafting a clear, crisp, and compelling Brand Message that results in the beginning of a long-term relationship with an ideal client. To craft the message, clarity as to consultant’s Focus, the why and what, and the identification of their Ideal Client, the who, are necessary. An expanded brand message can include information about a consultant’s how, their Service Offering.
Brand Message consists of:
Creating Relationships is a multi-step repeatable process that builds on the brand message and leverages the consultant’s strengths to foster awareness of the consultant and the consultant’s offer. The aim is for the consultant to become known for their expertise and for the ideal client to ask for assistance.
Relationships consists of:
Engagement occurs when an ideal client trusts the consultant enough and desires help resulting in the client asking for assistance. The consultant starts by understanding the opportunity and the ideal client’s definition of success, developing an approach based on the consultant’s service offering, determining a fee for services, and finally providing an offer, a winning proposal that leads to a signed contract. Engagement is the culmination of all a consultant’s hard work building awareness and relationships around their focus. Think of Engagement as sales for consultants.
Engagement consists of:
The final category is Delivery: The Execution which is the providing of services you agree upon. There is only one concept included in this category but this concept is composed of numerous subcategories. Think Project Management for Consultants.
The signing of a contract enables the consultant to move to the final consulting area in the model, Delivery. Delivery is the successful execution of an agreed upon service that provides the results the client expects. If the effort is project based, suitable project management techniques, tools, and procedures are followed. The aim of delivery is to not only meet client expectations, but to exceed those expectations without gold plating.
Delivery consists of:
Establishing a consulting business is not easy. It is an adventure with its share of ups and downs. The Consultant's Blueprint is a framework designed to assist consultants as they journey on their consulting adventure enabling them to not only are successful, but soar.