Juan’s Consulting Playbook
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Juan’s Consulting Playbook

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Defining Your Offering

Tip #1: Start your offering with your area of expertise, but you may need to find a path to a larger domain.

Magic happens at the intersection of domains. Your differentiation is composed of your people and your unique assets that help you deliver faster and better. Build a small team of at least two experts, ideally from different domains, and start building assets immediately. See for more.
Define how your expertise helps solve problems that your target customer needs to solve.
Use the template to start jotting down ideas for different areas of expertise you could offer to potential clients.

Tip #2: Customers buy consulting services to reduce risk of failure by solving problems completely.

Solving a problem completely means that the customer no longer has to worry about the problem.
Customers reduce risk by trusting you to solve their problem. Regaining trust once lost is extremely difficult, making it the most detrimental outcome.
Understanding a customer’s risks is key to finding new work.
It can be difficult to define a customer’s definition of success as it involves alignment across the customer’s organization. Help the customer reduce risk while they figure out the definition of success. As you learn more about the customer’s business and operations, writing a draft definition of success and letting them edit it can help clear the path to identifying priority challenges.
Unlike the cost of ownership that can result from buying products (e.g. maintenance, needed expertise, training, etc…), when customers buy consulting services strive to deliver value with low/zero additional cost of ownership.

Tip #3: Collaborate (or partner) with other consulting companies that help you deliver a complete solution for your customers.

Partner companies can be a great source of new business. Find partners that have complementary expertise.
Create a long-term win/win/win between your company, the collaborator, and the customer when defining the value proposition and pricing. Customers usually don’t like commissions and collaborators don’t like to operate under other companies. Clearly define the collaboration and capture value by expanding the pie for everyone for a defined period of time. You win long term by collaborating on many engagements, not by squeezing all value out of a small number of engagements.
Use the template to start listing the names of other potential experts and partners you could collaborate with.

Tip #4: If you think you’re only selling your time, you likely haven’t defined your offering specifically enough.

Product-market-fit for consulting is challenging to identify since it’s possible that a single customer can consume all of your time for various reasons independent of your offering. If you want to sell time, sell other people’s time by placing them in roles but understand the limitations of your differentiation. Differentiation by selling your or other people’s time is very challenging.
Seek service-problem-fit by aiming for alignment between your services and the business value they deliver to your customer, growing expertise in the problem area, and expanding your offerings to evolve with customer needs. Fit for purpose services can be decoupled from the time they take to deliver as the customer benefits from outcomes instead of inputs. These outcomes are usually in the form of new revenue or efficiencies.
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