Are you Equipped to Succeed?

Hi, Everyone!

When was the last time you took a full inventory of all of the things you need to run your business?  Well, it’s springtime – and that means it’s time for cleaning!  This article explores the vast array of “tools of the trade” and provides a simple method for evaluating the equipment, collateral materials and services involved in keeping your practice operating at its full potential.

I remember a lunch I had with a colleague during my very first year in the industry.  We were talking about my new life as an independent consultant, when he jokingly said, “All you need to be a consultant is a briefcase and a business card!”  How wrong he was!

To be successful as a speaker, trainer, coach or consultant takes far more than a briefcase and business cards. In fact, the list of all the things you need in order to run a modern, independent practice is very long indeed!

Depending on the specific type of business you’re trying to build, here are at least nine categories of tools you may need, and each category could contain literally dozens of items.  Here are a few examples of each:

Basic Office Equipment: State-of-the-art computer, software, high-speed Internet modem, telephone, voicemail, a fax machine, scanner and printer, etc.

Production Equipment: Digital video/audio recorder, digital still camera, professional quality microphone, video/audio production software, photography lighting kit, book binding equipment, paper trimmer, laminator, etc.

Marketing Tools: Business plan, numerous brochures, course descriptions, service descriptions, testimonials, client lists, fee schedules, ads for publication, templates for newsletters and contact list mailings, letterhead, etc.

Sales Tools: Needs assessments, proposals, contracts, invoices, statements, etc.

Products to Sell: Books, audio programs, video programs, branded trinkets, etc.

Presentation Tools: Nametags, tent cards, workbooks, facilitators’ manuals, powerpoint presentations, registration materials, diagnostic instruments, introduction, certificates, assessment reports, etc.

Technology Tools: Website preparation and tools such as: URL, @yourURL email address, audio, video and flash files, hosting services, shopping cart service, banking gateway, contact database, webcasting/podcasting capabilities, teleconferencing services, etc.

People Tools: Bookkeeper, accountant, banker, financial planner, lawyer, web designer, graphics artist, copywriter, marketing consultant, performance coach, office staff, etc.

Miscellaneous: Preferred member programs with select airline, hotel, car rental companies, professional association affiliations, chamber memberships, etc.

To give you an even better idea, we’ve prepared a “Tools of the Trade” checklist, which you can access it here:

Tools of the Trade Checklist

To determine how much work you have to do to get your “tools of the trade” in order, begin by working your way through the checklist, eliminating those that don’t apply to your specific practice and adding other items you believe should be on your list. As you do so, whenever possible, gather materials together physically so you can examine them as a set.

Now, critically review your tools situation by considering these seven questions:

Missing Tools? — Do you currently have the tool? If you don’t, you’ll need to make acquiring it a priority.

Outdated Tools? — Are the tools “up-to-date” or “out-of-date”? That may mean that a simple address change needs to be made or it could mean that the tool no longer performs the functions that you need. Maybe its time to trade in that fax machine from 10 years ago for a nice shiny all-in-one.

Mismatched Materials? — Are your materials a hodgepodge collection of random designs or do your materials synchronize well? Consistent fonts, logos, feel, textures, spacing and images make for a very professional presentation.

Inconsistent Branding? — Are your tools consistently communicating the same image or do you have multiple versions of your logo and a bevy of “seemed clever at the time” slogans?

Inferior Design? — Do your collateral materials look like they were created by a professional designer or a “how tough could this possibly be” amateur?

Inferior Quality? — Do the physical materials you used when producing your brochures, business cards, and marketing materials convey an image of class, substance and richness in color and texture? It’s not impressive to have a full-color business card ink-jetted on notebook paper.

Poor Tension Management? — A great many of the tools you need for building your business are intended to prompt your existing and prospective clients to DO something. How well do they do what they were intended to do?  For example, if a brochure was intended to grab a prospect’s attention and stimulate them to take action but even YOU lose interest in the first two sentences, something is SERIOUSLY wrong with tension management!

By the time you’ve completed your inventory, you’ll no doubt have MANY tools in need of repair.

Ooops… I forgot to list briefcase and business cards on the checklist! LOL!!

– T –


One Response to Are you Equipped to Succeed?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Are you Equipped to Succeed? « InStream — A Community for ChangeWorks & MasterStream Professionals --

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