ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

June 1999

100 Percent Waterproof

Taking Teams To A Higher Level

Making The Soft Stuff Hard

The King Of Leadership Programs

Merger And Acquisition: The Six Deadly Sins

Enough Is Enough

by Peter Block

Tick Tock, Your Life Is Like A Clock
by Greg Smith

Sorry We're Closed: Diary Of A Shutdown

Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Views for a Change

Book Review

Site Unseen

Book Reviews With A Twist

"The Business of Consulting- The Basics and Beyond"
by Elaine Biech

If you are in any way involved with consulting, Elaine Biech's new book, "The Business of Consulting- The Basics and Beyond," is a must read. Whether you are thinking about starting a career in consulting, trying to breathe new life into an existing business, refining a successful practice or hiring a consultant, there is something for you.

Do you find that most "how-to" books present only pieces of a topic or lots of theory? As a result, do you finish the book and still have questions or come away wondering what you should do to implement the ideas? This book has a refreshing distinction: it is both thorough and practical. It begins with things to consider if you want to become a consultant, ends with personal considerations for a successful consultant and covers everything in between. Biech shares tips she learned throughout her career and provides specific examples to illustrate her points.

As a consultant, I responded to the many useful ideas in two ways. I found myself continuously thinking, "If I had only known this when I got started..." and "I'll try this idea tomorrow."

Some of my favorite topics include:
- The Realities of Consulting- provides first-year lessons learned from three new consultants.
- Building a Relationship with a Client- includes building the relationship, improving it and maintaining it after the project.
- Exude Professionalism- tackles continuous learning, balancing life and business and managing time.

Anyone who has laughed at the shady consultant in Dilbert knows that there are many misconceptions about consulting. Biech dispels seven of the most common consulting myths. Among my favorites are Myth 1: "Consultants charge over $1,000 per day; therefore, you will become rich consulting," and Myth 4: "Having your own consulting practice means more free time."

A disk comes with the book containing all the book's exhibits- checklists, sample letters, evaluations and forms. The disk allows you to personalize these exhibits easily. To give you an idea of how thorough and practical the exhibits are, Chapter Six, "The Cost of Doing Business," includes nine exhibits from a monthly expense worksheet to a sample library sign-out sheet.

You would think a book explaining the ins and outs of running a consulting business would be as interesting as watching paint dry. Not this book! Biech presents her practical advice in a conversational style, with lots of anecdotes and lessons learned. It is like having your own private consulting session about consulting!

This book is a must for anyone involved in consulting. The alternative is learning by trial and error.

Favorite Quote
"Your personality, not your expertise, will land most contracts."

Second Favorite Quote
"Go for the big fish; you'll spend the same time baiting the hook."

Best Exhibits
The Sample Proposal and Sample Contract

Message I will Remember Years from Now
You can be the best consultant in the world and still have no work. To be successful, you must excel at both consulting and running the business.

"The Business of Consulting- The Basics and Beyond," Elaine Biech, 1999, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, San Francisco, ISBN 0-7879-4021-6, pages 208, US $39.95.
Reviewed by Michael Danahy, President, Quality Innovations Inc., Juno Beach, Fla.
June '99 News for a Change | Email Editor
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