Over the last 6 chapters of our consultant’s guide to Process Street I’ve gone through the basic and advanced features, example processes, compared 北辽process documentation software, documenting client processes and monetizing our partner program (and the app in general).
In other words, you’re almost good to go. The only thing I have left to highlight are some extra small business resources for consultants to help you stay up-to-date on tips and tactics, improve your business practices in general, and to improve your toolkit.
I’ll be focusing on:
- Blogs and websites to widen your knowledge
- Ebooks to tackle complex topics and help you read more
- Podcasts to turn dead air into productive listening
- Posts to give concise insights into practices and principles
- Premade templates which are ready to use in your own organization, or to customize for your clients
- Tools to improve your stack
After all, it pays to be prepared.
If you want to know more about starting, running, and managing your own business, there are few better places to do so than Entrepreneur. With articles, tips, case studies, and more covering businesses in every sector under the sun, Entrepreneur is truly a fantastic well of information to brush up on your general knowledge about any and every kind of business.
As with practically any job on the planet, consulting isn’t always an engaging practice, and learning about new techniques to improve your game can be especially dull. Thankfully, Killer Consultant is striving to help consultants be the best they can while keeping things fun and interesting.
If you’re looking for a more casual tone in a consulting blog or just one that’s easy to read and has a sense of enthusiasm behind it, you could do far worse than Killer Consultant.
Do you like consistency in you and your clients’ businesses? Do you hate wasting resources and general inefficiency costing you far more than you’re getting back out?
Then the Process Street Blog is for you.
Publishing on anything and everything business-related (from providing free process templates to analyzing 12,844 tweets to assess various Twitter support tactics), Process Street’s blog publishes three high-quality articles every week to help you systemize your business’ success.
From the mind behind The 4 Hour Workweek (which we’ve got in the “Books” section of this post), Tim Ferriss’ blog has an impressive backlog of posts both telling and demonstrating how to boost your efficiency and achieve success in your business. It’s hard to give a complete summary (the topic covered are so vast), but if you want to glean insight on new ways to streamline your work, this is a great place to start searching.
These days it largely provides summaries of episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show, but it’s still a great way to see interviews with interesting and inspirational people, along with the odd article covering anything and everything to do with boosting efficiency.
Rather than being just a blog, Women In Consulting provides both helpful articles for consultants and a strong community to help each other network and grow. Think of WIC as a full networking and learning experience, and not just another website to check in on once in a blue moon.
With automation, productivity, workflow, and app tips abound, the Zapier blog is a great resource for increasing your efficiency and smoothing out your workflows. If you want to get more done without the grunt work in your timetable, check out Zapier’s blog.
Normalized deviance is a massive problem in companies – if you don’t take a look at the big picture or get a second opinion on your processes, how can you be sure that you’re doing things the right way? What if the problem is down to things “just being that way”?
In The Challenger Launch Decision, Diane Vaughan retraces the steps leading up to the tragedy that was the Challenger shuttle launch, giving a life-and-death example of how the normalization of deviance can cause untold damage.
While it may sound as if it were some sort of incredibly dry political document, The Checklist Manifesto is anything but. Drawing from his own experience as a surgeon, Atul Gawande explores the importance of processes and checklists to achieve the amazing.
We’ve written a Checklist Manifesto review already, but to summarize, this book really hammers home what simple checklists can do and why collaboration is so important to both their creation and implementation. Best of all, it uses examples that you’re not likely to forget to drive its point home.
A three-year-old child making a full recovery after falling in frozen water and being “dead” for two hours. A limousine driver who bounced in and out of intensive care due to repeated infection after major surgery. Gawande draws from these cases (in sometimes chilling medical detail) to bring the real consequences of checklists into focus, noting how they can not only improve business efficiency, but in extreme cases save lives.
The E-Myth (and The E-Myth Revisisted) draw from Michael E. Gerber’s 40 years of experience consulting small businesses on why they’re not working, what they can do about it, and how to grow any company. This is an absolute must-read for consultants and small business owners alike.
Speaking of which, consider checking out Gerber’s E-Myth online course and how to build and scale a business with efficient systems. Plus (if you really want to go into detail), take a look at the E-Myth coaching services and Dreaming Room Monologues.
In 北辽Standard Procedure, Tony Brown picks apart how to create systems to help your business keep running, even when you’re not working. By laying out the core principles for running your business no matter where you are, this book allows you to create the systems and processes you need to manage and grow your business.
Have you ever struggled to see the systems behind a particular process or business? Having a hard time conveying the idea to your clients?
Work The System is your answer.
This book tackles the mindset to identifying, breaking down, and improving the systems behind everything we do. From personal life to the systems that brought you here and those responsible for your business’ success, check out this book to get some perspective on just how important processes are.
The Systems Mindset, meanwhile, expands on the ideas in Work The System to drive home the point and elaborate further on how to see and apply the principles behind life’s systems.
Each and every episode of Business Systems Explored takes a deep dive into the processes and systems behind successful companies and individuals.
If you want to get inspiration for how to improve your clients’ processes, this is a great place to start.
Hack The Entrepreneur invites successful entrepreneurs sit down and share what they think were the biggest factors to their success, providing one “hack” per episode.
In other words, HTE is a fantastic resource for getting some insight into a wide array of businesses and how their founders believe they achieved success. Whether they used a particular process or are weighing up the pros and cons of a particular business practice, check out HTE for lessons you can apply to both your own and your clients’ businesses.
Managing people is a tricky business. You can lay out processes and plans all you want, but unless the human element is also accounted for then even the most carefully laid plans will be for naught. As such, it pays to have a guiding hand when preparing for (and dealing with) management issues.
Lo and behold, the Manager Tools podcast provides straight-forward, practical management advice which will well serve both you and your clients in running a business.
The Tim Ferriss Show is great for those of us who love learning how to improve ourselves and our businesses, but find general tips to be dry and devoid of personality. By conducting long-form casual interviews with success stories from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Rick Rubin, Tim Ferriss brings some fantastic methods to light while keeping the conversation fresh, interesting, and memorable.
While a bit of a mouthful, the WP Elevation WordPress Business Podcast provides unique insight into (you guessed it) building a successful WordPress business.
Hosted by Troy Dean, and with a truly impressive backlog ining years of recording, there’s plenty here to fill your dead air with useful content.
This post is exactly what it says on the tin. Here Jonathan Long details the four most valuable lessons Sam Ovens (digital marketing consultant, CEO and founder of SnapInspect) learned from his rise to building a $10 million consulting business by the age of 26.
Whether you’re looking for a rags-to-riches anecdote or some crucial lessons for making it big as a consultant, 4 Tips From a 26-Year-Old Who Built a $10 Million Consulting Business has you covered.
This post isn’t easy to read because it isn’t written well. Sentences and paragraphs feel clunky to look at, and most of it has to be read twice to get the meaning of it.
The lessons inside it, however, are incredibly valuable to improving as a consultant.
Management Consulted’s blog brings these 11 tips for new consultants to cover the basics that every consultant needs to know and when squaring up to meet with a client for the first time.
However, as with many “tips for new hires” posts, these tidbits are just as important for seasoned veterans to be aware of and to follow. The process for preparing to work with a client doesn’t change based on your experience after all, and the last thing you want is to slip from complacency to normalized deviance.
Want more clients? Attract more leads. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, knowing that is by far the easiest part of growing your paying audience. You have to constantly be at the top of your game if you want to have a steady influx of fresh leads, because (let’s face it) your existing clients won’t always pay for the same services.
Maybe one of them decides to slim their expenses and that their processes are good enough, or maybe you’re just looking to expand your consulting business. Either way, Shelby Larson‘s post on generating leads for your consulting business is a fantastic way to see the methods you can use to attract new leads which (given some qualifying, negotiation, pitches, and a little luck) could become your next round of paying customers.
Yes, I know that you’re probably sick to death of hearing about “productivity”, and have probably heard every note in the book about how to improve it, but stick with me on this one.
Michael Zipursky (co-founder of Consulting Success) does indeed cover some of the tried-and-tested productivity tips such as prioritizing your tasks, but there are a few gems amidst his 21 productivity tips others don’t touch, such as switching up your work site to keep yourself focused (a tactic I’m particularly fond of).
Frustrating as they may be, it’s important to remember that the heart of your consulting business relies on good customer service. If your clients feel like they’re being treated badly, they’re not going to use your services again.
Erika Madden (founder of Olyvia) illustrates this beautifully through an interview with Jessica Freeman, uncovering the mindset and methods to providing top quality customer service and even how to salvage a relationship gone sour.
After all, however much you may find a client is difficult to work with, you’ve got to remember that they’re people too.
Putting a value on your services can be daunting, and doubly so when you’re starting out. There are, however, a couple of methods you can use to give yourself an idea to work from (while being certain that you’re not short-changing yourself or your clients). One of the best methods is to estimate how much value you’re providing to clients and then working back from that.
Despite its generic title, 北辽Helpful tips to be a better consultant: April 2017 has three tips to help you accurately forecast the financial value of your services to a client. This is vital not only for accurately forecasting results to your clients but also in valuing your services.
After all, how much do you charge per hour when you aren’t certain of the value you’re providing?
Why slave away when we here at Process Street have done the hard work for you already?
Our premade templates are free to use and share, allowing you to have a head start in documenting certain processes for your clients, or even in creating your own templates to later sell to clients at a flat rate.
From documenting the 北辽real estate sales process to daily routines and monthly sales reports, there’s something for both you and your clients no matter your business type. Plus, who doesn’t love free stuff?
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An oldy but a goldy, these tips for new consultants and freelancers from <ahref=”https://twitter.com/byosko”>Ben Yoskovitz cover the base essentials for running a successful consulting business.
Whether you’re brand new or a veteran looking to improve their game, these tips are a great eye-opener into the heart of successful consulting.
I’ve already talked about how difficult it is to price your consulting services, and while the previous post on how to calculate the hard value of your services is valuable, this post by James Crossman shows that there’s more to pricing your business than money.
None of the ten laws of pricing for consultants are gospel – they’re flexible enough to be adapted to your own business model and goals. They are, however, a brilliant set of guidelines for getting your price right.
Creating a password usually involves either a fine balance of randomness and memorability, but 1Password throws the regular formula out of the window. By letting you generate long, random passwords and save them in the app, you never again have to worry about someone guessing your passwords or even forgetting them yourself.
Not only that, but it has a handy Chrome extension which allow you to automatically fill in your login details on sites that you’ve saved in the app.
Managing customer data can be a nightmare, but it’s also vitally important. Without an effective CRM, you’ll be left copying data to and from your records at every turn – every call, meeting, and deal will create more data management duties, effectively reducing the value of the deal.
Close.io solves that problem by providing a flexible platform for managing your customers’ data. Through Close.io and its potential integrations, you can view leads and opportunities, call prospects, email customers, and generally do everything a CRM should allow – managing your customer relationships.
Freshbooks makes accounting easy for small businesses. Never again do you have to laboriously track your hours to later manually calculate your pay and then create an invoice – Freshbooks allows you to track your time, create professional invoices, track your expenses, see project overviews and more, all within the same app.
Stop wasting time on accounting, and start using it to get more clients instead.
Let’s face it – we all make spelling and grammar mistakes.
Whether you’re switching between American and British English or happen to miss a letter while typing, these are the tiny errors which impact your professional image. They may be inconsequential, but they’re highly visible, and serve to build a terrible impression of your wider abilities.
With both a native desktop app and plugins for Chrome and Microsoft Office, Grammarly automatically highlights and suggests corrections for almost every spelling and grammar mistake you make. I say “almost” because nothing’s perfect – Grammarly will pick up on the bigger errors but you’ll still need to check through to make sure that everything makes logical sense.
Think of it as your first round basic proofreader, only it checks as you write and does all of it automatically.
Although it’s far from the best 北辽process documentation software on the market, Microsoft Office 365 provides a wide array of tools to suit your basic business needs, such as Word for documents, Excel for spreadsheets, and so on.
The current king of project management, 北辽Trello provides a fantastic way to organize your tasks and projects using kanban boards.
Imagine you have a notice board in your office to pin tasks to. You might have the board divided into columns to better organize whatever notes you put up there. That’s exactly how Trello works – by setting up cards to contain tasks, columns to organize those tasks, and boards to house your columns and different projects.
While multiple books could be filled with all of the resources consultants can use to expand their knowledge, improve their practices, and widen their tool belt to suit specific use cases, I’ll leave it at that for this chapter in our consultant’s guide to Process Street. However, if you think I’ve missed one of the vital small business resources for consultants, don’t hesitate to get in contact – I’d love to expand this list with any suggestions you may have.
As the consultant’s guide winds down to a close, I’d like to thank you for reading and sticking through this series with me. Here’s to successfully increasing efficiency by improving technology, management, and above all, processes.
Let me know in the comments if you think I missed a resource for consultants – I’d love to hear from you.