Three light bulbs of a given wattage produce more light in a specific room than one or two light bulbs produce. This law of physics applies just as well to using an external consultant as an outside resource. (Check out the current update of our “classic” article 7 Reasons for Using an Outside Resource).
Here’s a closer look at this three-light-bulb analogy.
- 1) You have specific objectives you want to achieve and you know your business in a way that only an insider can.
- 2) We join our outside perspective “light” with yours, learning from, and collaborating with, you on a defined objective.
- 3) Both of us learn from each other. This mutual learning process produces even more light, generating even deeper understanding, better insights and decisions on action plans than would be likely to occur without this collaboration.
Our philosophy and guiding principle: Deeper Understanding … Better Decisions applies to each client’s unique position and specific needs.
Although Research & Analysis (R&A) is a subset of Management Consulting (MC), the side-by-side overview below will give you a better idea of the types of services we offer, with representative example for relevant Function, Sector and Soft Skills projects.
Collaborative relationships and reporting levels with MC clients are typically divisional- or higher-level executives; R&A clients are usually involved in tactical and operational functions. The Express Guide offers hints on efficiently locating the information you’re looking for on this site.
Management Consulting (MC)
The purpose of advisory MC projects is to help organizations of all sizes solve problems and improve their operations.
Business Plan Guidance Quo Vadis? (Where are you going?) We don’t write business plans for others. Rather, we help clients (of all sizes and in a variety of industries) develop customized plans for all or a defined portion of their business. It all starts with what it is that you want to accomplish.
Best Practices You can modify and adapt what has been proven successful in your own industry, or cross-sector, without being labeled a copycat. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel.
Building Bridges “Customer Satisfaction” is just the beginning of building your relationships, whether it’s with those who buy your products or services, forming business alliances or hiring employees. And it all starts with YOU!
Research and Analysis (R&A)
The purpose of R&A MC projects is to support quality business decisions. Our R&A focus is on sectors within business-to-business industries and on their markets.
New Product Assessment Gap analysis, coupled with a thorough screening process increases your odds of launching winning new products.
Industry Analysis What are the key industry-influencing factors needed to understand the dynamics of your targeted customer industries? How can you leverage those dynamics to your competitive advantage?
Trade Show Planning and Assistance Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re suspending projects related to in-person trade shows. However, these events offer both attendees and exhibitors unmatched marketing and research opportunities. Once it is safe to do so, we will resume providing our integrated approach for maximizing your investment of time and resources.
TYPES OF CLIENTS
We have been privileged to work with a spectrum of clients of various sizes and in different industries and geographic locations. This diversity has enabled us to observe, learn from and share what we’ve learned from common (although hardly universal) strengths and drawbacks of each group and subgroup. Here is some of what we’ve learned.
The Size of an organization is relative to its Industry Sector and Geographic Location “neighbors.” Further, opinions vary on the best unit of measure (sales, number of employees, market capitalization, to name just a few). Others note that characterizations based on size are simply stereotypes. Despite these disclaimers, we find that Size is a convenient way of classifying the entire universe of domestic and international organizations into a managable number of categories.
- Small. Start-ups, family-operated and entrepreneurial organizations often need to “make do” with limited resources (except for those whose investors provide adequate funding). We get this, and so, work to design practical, affordable and effective projects.
- Mid-size. Organizations, like siblings, often struggle to cope with middle-child syndrome. This often means finding the right “voice” for their market entrance or differentiation without breaking the bank.
- Large. Several members of the “top 25” global enterprises have requested our assistance for specific needs of one of their divisions.
More than half of our clients are Manufacturers; they encompass a varied range, including advanced materials, chemicals, electronics, functional foods, machine tools, medical diagnostics and medical devices, transportation (automotive, motorcycle parts, railroads) and adapting military and space technology to civilian applications. Other client categories we’ve worked with (alphabetized, not exhaustive):
- Associations: chambers of commerce, trade associations.
- Education: primary schools, universities.
- Financial institutions: banks, real estate firms.
- Governmental entities: local, national, international.
- Professional Services: attorneys, engineers, research and consulting organizations.
Working over several decades with clients across the United States and Canada and around the globe, we have come to respect the differences (and recognize the similarities) where “place” exerts influence on business practices, expectations and communication styles. Seattle and Kentucky — to name just two areas in which we’ve worked — exhibit as many differences in business practices between them as do some of our European (German, British, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian) and Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) clients.
Too much information? See the list of our Top 15 services.
Our decades of consulting and research/analysis experience have validated that defining and clarifying business goals are critical for project outcomes. Our 7 Steps to Getting Results provides a detailed description of our basic process.
Applying the Scientific Method to Business
Six steps, from Research to Action, result in the six outcomes (Facts and Data to Goal Fulfillment). All these activities are iterative, with feedback flows moving freely from one step to another. These feedback flows allow for course corrections as additional insights develop from applying each step. Our Tutorial, Applying the Scientific Method to Business offers a detailed discussion on how to leverage this process to your advantage.
You can find further information on our consulting practice in our discussion of Knowledge Branches. Mini-Cases offer some brief examples of our consulting activities; Articles, Tutorials, Blogs and Reviews share with you many of the lessons we’ve learned over decades of service to hundreds of clients and our perspective on successfully managing your business and your life.