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October Branch Forum: How to thrive as a professional consultant

Thursday, 26 Sep 2013

Paul Ostaff, the Principal of Reignite Consulting, argues that consulting success depends on replacing the structure provided by your previous firm. This involves transforming yourself from a technical expert to a business person. You have to “live in a helicopter”: being able to move from working in your business, to working on your business, to being able to let your business run on its own. You must move from doing your job well, to ensuring that there is a steady stream of jobs to do.

A successful consultant must move beyond technical excellence: to be employed, you must also be a self-starter and demonstrate that you can add value from Day One. In addition, you have to decide on the role you wish to play at your client firm: that of an employee, a contractor or a consultant. Flexibility is key.

Importantly, you must look at your initiative from a business perspective. You must formalise the sales process within your firm. Leads, contacts, meetings, proposals - and sales - need to occur with regularity. Other roles that need to be performed include HR, Finance, Client Management, and Promotion to name a few. Fortunately, the new business person need not do all of these tasks on their own: other professionals can be hired to do these for you - and often better than you can do these yourself.

The critical aspect of running your firm, especially in the early days, is that of staying financial. Tough times must be managed, and as the firm grows, growing pains must be dealt with. Finally, you have to protect your assets - intellectual property, branding, systems and processes - and most importantly, you.

Finally, how does one decide what has to be done next? Paul Ostaff argues that you should begin with the end in mind. A plan, with goals and milestones, needs to be drafted and refined over time. In addition, you have to pace yourself: you are not a 24/7 robot. You need to develop a picture of where you wish to grow to, and how you want to finish.

Date: Wednesday 2 October 2013
Time: 5:45pm for a 6:00pm start
Venue: Telstra Theatrette - Level 1, 242 Exhibition St, Melbourne

For more information and to register, please click here.