Will Kenny
Will Kenny helps independent training consultants develop content, skills, and strategies for marketing their products and services. With decades of experience as a successful training consultant, he knows the unique needs and obstacles of this business. The Best Consulting Practices blog shares tips to help training consultants adopt effective, appropriate, and sustainable marketing action.
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  • Business
    5 Common Myths About Marketing Your Consulting BusinessPreview
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    Many freelance consultants have a rather hit-or-miss approach to marketing their services. In truth, quite a few consultants do not learn to market themselves in the early days of their businesses because they are lucky enough to start out with business in hand. That is, they leave a corporate environment, only to do their first few projects for their former employer. They moonlight until a solid long-term project comes along, so that when they give up their day job, they don't have to do any selling. Eventually, of course, they run as far as they can on their existing network and referrals and they have to start getting the word out about what they can do for new clients. They read a lot of books and blogs, and even take some seminars, on how to market themselves. They collect a lot of good ideas, maybe even plan some good steps toward building visibility and earning trust among their target prospects. But I often see some unspoken assumptions underlying the details of those marketing action plans, myths about how marketing works that seriously undermine the results consultants achieve. In my work helping consultants be more effective in marketing and selling their services, I have seen several of these myths over and over again, perhaps because in some ways, freelance consultants are particularly susceptible to these assumptions.Read More…
  • Business
    Give Away "Free Samples" To Get More Consulting BusinessGive away free samples to get more consulting business
    Giving away "free samples" is a time-honored marketing tradition, one that is very alive today. It is also one of the excellent habits common to many successful freelance consultants. In fact, I'll argue that sharing "samples" with prospects may be even more important for the consultant than for many other types of businesses. Of course, you have been on the receiving end of many samples. Perhaps you nibble and graze on free offerings when you go to the grocery store. You might have received small samples of cosmetics or other items, either through the mail, or handed out in various settings. You're getting a free sample when you read a book excerpt before you order it on Amazon. And you may not realize it, but you are getting samples when you sign up for newsletters or "special reports" and articles from web sites. Why are all of these businesses willing to give away items of value, with no assurance that you will buy something? While there is no guarantee of landing any individual buyer, businesses have known for a long time that giving away samples -- items of real, if sometimes small, value -- works. It brings in customers.Read More…
  • Business
    Business Plans for Freelance ConsultantsBusiness plans for freelance consultants
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    The phrase "business plan" probably calls to mind a lengthy formal document full of analysis and fine details. At the same time, it suggests the structured thinking process that should lead to such a document. Unfortunately, it is way too easy to put too much effort into creating the former, at the expense of the latter. Frankly, too many consultants start with the document and let it drive the planning. They use commonly available formats and "fill in the blanks," which is different than "answering key questions." The wide availability of model business plans leads consultants to waste a lot of effort, so let's look at the "templates problem" before we get into the core elements of a good business plan.Read More…
  • Business
    Take a SWOT at Better Planning for Your Consulting BusinessTake a swot at better planning for your consulting business
    Thoughtful, strategic planning can make a mighty contribution to the success and growth of your freelance consulting business. With deliberate planning, you can guide your marketing efforts and client interactions to spend more of your time doing the kind of work you like best, with clients you enjoy, at good rates. But strategic planning does not have to be an elaborate process to be effective. You don't have to go on a special retreat, pore over a sophisticated array of "metrics", or spend the day with a management guru to come up with a good plan that can make a major difference in how your consulting business thrives.Read More…
  • Business
    How To Find Your Consulting Work "Sweet Spot"Preview
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    I have worked with plenty of freelance consultants over the last couple decades, and it is fair to say that perhaps the majority of them started out working for someone else. For example, most of the training consultants I work with (my target market) served as training staff in medium to larger companies before going out on their own. They drew on the skills they developed and the knowledge they acquired working for someone else to develop products and services for their own freelance businesses. That often meant that their consulting work was more or less a reincarnation of their previous work. Oh, certainly, running their own business was very different in many ways, but they tended to work with the same kinds of people or businesses, to do the same kinds of work, as they did before going solo. Often, after a few years in business, they became dissatisfied with their new lives. Consulting just wasn't as much fun as they expected. The smartest of these figured out what was wrong, and made adjustments, and now they are reaping the full benefit of having the courage and ability to set up their own consulting businesses. (Others, unfortunately, either grind along and live an unsatisfying business life, or give up on running their own businesses.) What was wrong, usually, was that they took the easy path, doing what they knew in environments they were familiar with, and then measured their success only by their income. But even if you are making a good income, it is hard to keep doing work that doesn't make you feel good. And it doesn't make you feel good because: you are working with people you don't like, performing tasks you don't enjoy, or under conditions that make you grumpy. Looking explicitly at these factors and their contribution to your satisfaction with the consulting life is the first step in going after the kinds of projects and clients that you will enjoy.Read More…