Smarter Consulting: How to start up and succeed as an independent consultant

Book description

I wish this book had been available when I began my independent career. There’s only one word for it — PRICELESS!!!

 -Shay McConnon, psychologist, trainer, coach, magician and mentor

This book is a MUST read, for anyone thinking about life outside the

organisation — it helps make the transition smooth and seamless.

- Goran Hultin, former Deputy Director General at the ILO (International Labour Office), now a successful independent consultant

This is a practical and essential guide for anyone contemplating establishing their own business. Johnson captures all the key elements which allow a successful transition and is very clear about what can send you off track. Grounded in common sense and humour.

- Norman Walker, former Global Head of Human Resources for Novartis, now an independent senior executive coach and consultant on leadership


Are you thinking of working for yourself as an independent consultant? Have you already made the leap and want to get more work, new clients, higher fees? This book pulls no punches, it tells it like it is, giving you all the guidance you need to set yourself up and get work in the first place, plus all the know-how you need to survive, prosper and expand.

Table of contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Financial Times Prentice Hall
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. Foreword
  5. Introduction
  6. 1. Why do you want to do it?
    1. Be a lion tamer, its safer
    2. Star-crossed
    3. Independence: The new, new thing
    4. A trickle becomes a stream
    5. Have you got a plan?
    6. Seven, five or three days a week?
    7. Consultant, know thyself!
  7. 2. Are you an entrepreneur?
    1. Could this be you?
    2. The multi-tasking megastar
    3. How’s your network?
    4. What about money?
    5. Home Alone: Creating your workspace
    6. The perils of partnership
    7. Independents are really loners
    8. Changing people, changing times
    9. Adding expertise
    10. Bring in the professionals
    11. Shoulders to cry on
    12. Can you smell trouble?
    13. How not to fall at the first hurdle
    14. Key learning points
  8. 3. Getting out and getting going
    1. The escaping executive
    2. Consultants bail out too
    3. Back-to-work spouse meets downshifter
    4. The graduate
    5. The early retiree
    6. Key learning points
  9. 4. Planning the successful start-up
    1. What not to waste time over
    2. Adminfrustration
    3. Invoicing
    4. ... and the X-Files
    5. The production plan
    6. Set a routine
    7. Set the pattern for YOUR work ethic
    8. Missing your mates and cabin fever
    9. The partner and the kids
    10. The social v. business thing
    11. Taking time off
    12. Playing the percentage game
    13. Keeping time sheets
    14. Never put all your beans in one tin
    15. Staying fit
    16. Health checks
    17. Health and work insurance
    18. Saving for the future
    19. Getting an office supplier
    20. Finding professional advice: Financial, legal, IT
      1. Financial advice
      2. Legal advice
      3. Banking services
      4. IT support
      5. Webmaster
    21. Other suppliers
    22. Insurance
    23. Key learning points
  10. 5. The life of a salesman
    1. Selling failure no. 1: You think selling is sleazy
    2. Selling failure no. 2: You forget to sell
    3. Selling failure no. 3: You can’t ask for the order
    4. Selling failure no. 4: Chemistry
    5. Oh no! Not another logo!
    6. Registering your company name and domain name
    7. Whose rules?
    8. Confidence is a keyword
    9. Learn to ask for the business
    10. Help your client to help himself
    11. Intellectual property (IP)
    12. Key learning points
  11. 6. Marketing yourself
    1. Sales materials – how much, how soon?
      1. Business cards
      2. Letterheads
      3. Envelopes
      4. Compliment slips
    2. The website
    3. The electronic calling card par excellence
    4. Learn to link
    5. The art of cold calling – don’t
    6. Get yourself published
    7. Excuses to stay in touch
    8. Hot-topic seminars
    9. Platform marketing: Conferences and seminars
    10. Samples and show reels
    11. Creating your own network
    12. If you can’t do it – teach it!
    13. Charitable work
    14. Gifts to go
    15. Dressing for success
    16. Key learning points
  12. 7. New business: Getting it, charging for it, getting paid for it
    1. Creating your new business policy
      1. Rules for generating business
    2. Writing proposals that work
    3. When to chase for the business
    4. Making the PA your pal
    5. Setting fees and other money worries
    6. The variable fee game
    7. Marking-up work
    8. Retainer business
    9. Expenses
    10. Recovering development costs
    11. Contracts and letters of engagement
    12. When the brief changes
    13. The gentle art of quoting
    14. Evolving the client relationship
    15. Getting paid
    16. Working with different client groups
      1. The big corporations
      2. The big consultants
      3. SMEs
      4. Public sector
      5. NGOs
      6. Transnational institutions
    17. Developing long-term client relationships
    18. Conflict of interest
    19. Paying suppliers
    20. Agents and alliances
    21. Key learning points
  13. 8. Developing the business
    1. The solo operator
    2. Alliances, joint ventures and partnerships
    3. Hiring staff
    4. Contracting out
    5. Shrinking the business
    6. Checking out the marketplace
    7. Keeping up to speed
    8. Marketing others
    9. Keeping your culture
    10. Have you lost focus?
    11. Changing pricing structures
    12. Become a guru?
    13. Working with the competition
    14. Nightmare strategies
    15. Bail-out strategies
    16. A final thought
    17. Key learning points
  14. 9. Creating YOUR workplace
    1. Can I work from home?
    2. Can I have a dedicated work area in my home?
    3. Will I have clients visiting my home?
    4. Can I create an external access to my home office?
    5. Planning your stand-alone office unit
    6. Planning permission
    7. Do I have room to expand?
    8. Are there alternative facilities in town – maybe share the costs with others?
    9. Fixing up the facilities
    10. Play safe
    11. Does it have a view?
    12. ‘... with one enormous chair’
    13. Where do all those office supplies come from?
    14. Back to THOSE rules
    15. The challenge of staying connected
    16. Staying ahead
    17. Get professional help
    18. Key learning points
  15. 10. The travelling independent consultant
    1. Getting prepared
    2. Travelling light
    3. Luggage planning
    4. Travelling with clients
    5. Travel rules for independents
    6. Getting the best deals
    7. To book or not to book?
    8. Welcome to the throw-away society
    9. Charging travel time
    10. Expenses on the road
    11. Staying in touch on the road
    12. The workplace is where you lay your lap-top
      1. The workplace is everywhere no. 1: The airline lounge
      2. The workplace is everywhere no. 2: The hotel lobby
      3. The workplace is everywhere no. 3: Public places
      4. The workplace is everywhere no. 4: Restaurants
      5. The workplace is everywhere no. 5: OPOs (Other People’s Offices)
      6. The workplace is everywhere no. 6: Restrooms
    13. An ongoing challenge
    14. Key learning points
  16. 11. Counting the cost (and the profit)
    1. What do you need to make it?
    2. What kind of business suits you best?
    3. Sole trader
      1. Advantages
      2. Disadvantages
    4. Limited company
      1. Advantages
      2. Disadvantages
    5. Are there any other things you need to know?
    6. What about networks and partnerships?
      1. Networks
      2. Partnerships
    7. Getting in the professionals
      1. Accountants
      2. Legal support and solicitors
      3. Bookkeepers
      4. Bank managers
    8. So what are the ins and outs of business banking?
    9. Contracts with clients
    10. Working contracts with suppliers
    11. The taxman cometh
      1. VAT (Value Added Tax)
      2. National insurance
      3. Income tax and corporation tax (and other direct taxes such as capital gains tax)
    12. What can I claim for?
    13. Your legal obligations to the taxman
    14. Getting a bank manager you can work with
    15. You need a loan like a hole in the head
    16. Supplies, supplies, supplies
    17. Pension plans
      1. State retirement pension entitlement
    18. Hiring staff and subcontract help
    19. Accounting packages
    20. Domain names and intellectual property rights
    21. Working from home: Claiming expenses
    22. Travel – the unromantic stuff you need to know
    23. Family and the independent consultant
    24. Cars and other vehicles
    25. Dealing with deadlines
      1. Both sole traders and limited companies
      2. Sole traders only
      3. Limited companies
  17. 12. What’s next for the independent consultant?
    1. More competitors and more opportunity
    2. Technology takes over
    3. Consulting in the virtual world
    4. Staying up to date
    5. Shorter relationships
    6. Selling to the organisation
    7. The arrival of the portfolio consultant
    8. Finally, the independent’s secret
    9. Key learning points
  18. Appendix
    1. Sample Consultancy Agreement
      1. Now Therefore It Has Been Agreed as Follows:
        1. Article 1 Subject
        2. Article 2 Duration and termination
        3. Article 3 Conditions of performance of services
        4. Article 4 Copyright/confidentiality
        5. Article 5 Non-competition and unfair competition
        6. Article 6 Compensation
        7. Article 7 Assignment
        8. Article 8 Notice
        9. Article 9 Severance and public restrictions
        10. Article 10 Governing law and jurisdiction
        11. Article 11 Prior agreements

Product information

  • Title: Smarter Consulting: How to start up and succeed as an independent consultant
  • Author(s): Mike Johnson
  • Release date: January 2009
  • Publisher(s): Pearson
  • ISBN: 9780131370180