Posts Tagged ‘fees’

Pick My Pocket

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

If you don’t have a clear threshold, where free marketing advice stops and paid advice starts, you’ll forever have your pocket picked by clients, prospects, investors, business partners and friends. I’d urge you to adopt a “pick my brain fee” (say $500 or a $1,000) for an hour of unfettered advice to a for-profit business. Instantly, 80% of these requests will immediately cease. Those that agree to it, will reward you with a committed paying client or business partner. Here is a golden rule: you might offer some free insights on “what” they might do, say, act upon etc. but they must agree to pay you before you start explaining “how” they might accomplish their objectives. Repeat after me, “I am not a charity unless I choose to be. My time is scarce and valuable.”

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

Committed Partners

Friday, June 1st, 2018

I am tiring of business executives and entrepreneurs, who ask my assistance to find a new or replacement strategic partner(s) but then insist that I am remunerated several months later when the partnership enters into “due diligence”, or upon signed agreement. What they fail to understand is that a visceral commitment needs to exist on both sides BEFORE we start work together. Where my promise is to build a peer-level trusting relationship with their ideal partner in a very brief time period, and in return, they provide fair and equitable remuneration. “Fair” does not constitute that I take 100% of the risk in the relationship building phase, where I have little or no control over a successful outcome. It requires a portion of my fee is paid “upfront”. That a great many “search” firms acquiesce to the rubric “the client hates paying fees”, and readily accept “payment on success”, says more about their low level of self-worth and the paucity of commitment to meet the objective than the greed of the client.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Who Transforms The Transformer

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Large advisory firms (Big Four and large management consulting practices) have cornered an expertise in transforming how large businesses deploy capital, manage human resources and IT, accelerate innovation and implement strategy. Yet many of those same “expert” firms are desperately in need of transformation.

How else do you explain the increasing tension between the commodity end of their work (outsourced shared service offerings) and the desire to grow the high-margin, high-value strategic advisory business? It is a fraying piece of string for those, who desire to play in both segments.

The complexity of the advisory businesses is such that an increasing proportion of front line employees time is being reserved for internal issues (tweaking matrix organisation structures, new value propositions, problem solving and fees), at the expense of the client. Yet there are very few people in those firms, who have the skills and volition to want to lead the change (“champion”).

Safety lies in the belief that your brand will get you the first meeting with the large client. Yet a cursory google search reveals very few Partners in these firms, who are demonstrably centres of expertise or objects of strong interest to C-level operatives and the wider global media. Inherently, the transformation business is a pricing battle dressed up in pseudo value-based fees.

Indeed, changing the operating beliefs that inform the behaviour of Partners and Directors in those firms is very hard. The outliers or mavericks in those firms are tolerated to the extent that they inject some colour into client relationships but they are very rarely embraced in the inner sanctum. So you end up with external market forces largely determining the future of these advisory firms.

A client wouldn’t take advice from Hilary Clinton on email etiquette or Donald Trump on diplomatic communication, why would they hire these folks? The only conclusion is that they feel safe in hiring lots of extra pairs of hands from a known brand so long as the price is right.

You’ll have a hard time convincing me that is right for the client and the advisory firm’s future.

© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.