I asked Forbes Columnist, George Bradt of Prime Genesis, to write an exclusive article on consulting, which I published in our Autumn 2012 issue of the Wharton Club of New York Magazine. It exemplifies traits of successful immigrant entrepreneurs.
Be Different – Be Strong – Be Committed
The Three Requirements for Consulting Success
To be successful as a consultant, you must be different; you must be strong; and you must be committed. The consulting field is growing faster than ever, driven by the information revolution, baby boomers moving out of corporate roles and the struggling economy. Some consultants will join larger consulting firms as experienced hires, while others will make a go of it on their own. In either case, these requirements apply.
To start, you must be able to answer two questions that get at core positioning:
What do you do?
How is that different from others doing the same thing?
Get this right before you do anything else, or you’ll be competing for consulting work on price. Consulting is all about solving someone’s problem. First prize is solving a problem that no one else can solve — an unmet need. If you can’t do that, solve a problem in a way that no else can — a new way of meeting needs.
For example, PrimeGenesis focuses exclusively on executive onboarding — helping new leaders and their teams get done in 100 days what would normally take 6-12 months. We’ve been doing this and just this for a decade. It’s a big problem and we’re the only ones exclusively focused on it. We are different.
Teams with tactical capacity — the ability to work under changing conditions and translate strategies into actions — beat individuals every time. Get a partner or ally, so you can be better together and avoid the consultant roller coaster.
For example, we opened PrimeGenesis with five partners. Now, we have 12 partners around the globe and strong alliances in China and India. We’ve worked hard to have partners with complementary strengths. Eight of us are former CEOs, Presidents or Managing Directors across industries. Four are organizational development experts. We are strong.
Consultants must be committed to customer satisfaction, continuous improvement and business development:
Customer satisfaction — It’s why you exist. If your clients don’t get value, you don’t have a business.
Continuous improvement — If you’re not getting better, you’re getting relatively worse.
Business development — The No. 1 job of a company is to create a customer. If you don’t love selling, really love selling, go do something else.
For example, PrimeGenesis does all of these things. In particular, I personally spend the first hour of every day on social media — responding to requests, commenting on others’ articles, and writing and sharing my own articles on Forbes.com, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. We are committed.
All in, we at PrimeGenesis are 10 years into this consulting stuff. We’re still around because of three things: 1) We solve an important, previously unsolved problem and make a big impact; 2) we’ve built a strong team, perfectly suited to the task; and 3) we work harder than anyone else to deliver to our clients, get better every day, and create new customers.
The bottom line: Want to try consulting? Be different, be strong and be committed …or be something else.
George Bradt, WG’85, Managing Director, PrimeGenesis Executive Onboarding