A lot has changed in 2020. Coronavirus is changing business. You need to shift with these changes. Marketing consulting is fairly simple to operate remotely. For those who rely on their local market alone, this is the time to start thinking outside of the old normal. Shifting your consultancy online requires changes to how you operate, the tools you use, and most importantly, how you interact with clients. Become fluent and savvy enough that your clients are not only confident in working with you, but they look to you as an advisor who is leading the charge through the digital transformations that all businesses and professionals are going through.
In the video, I’ll share the things to think about, invest in, and do immediately to make a smart shift today.
Hey, David Bradley here. And I’d like to talk to you about shifting your consulting business online. So if you’re in marketing consulting, now you have a few clients, you have a small agency, whatever that might look like, how do you go from handling all your local clients? The people you meet with person, to person, going fully online. And this is something that we need to think about in the covert era, but it isn’t just important because that’s how we have to shift to handling our own clients. But oftentimes in a consulting role, you’re going to be looked at as an advisor in many different areas. And if you’re in marketing consulting specifically, then there’s some connotation with technology because digital marketing, digital communications. So you’re expected to know about technology as well. So this will come up in conversations with clients. So shifting your business online has to do with a couple of different steps, but first let’s just focus on your current clients.
How do you communicate? How do you interact with them in such a way that you can maintain the integrity of the relationship, meaning the quality doesn’t lessen. Maybe it’s even enhanced to some degree by taking your usual person to person face to face interactions and shifting online. First, it’s always good to begin with asking them about their situation. How have they shifted online? How has the coronavirus the COVID-19 ever affected them and how they communicate as a team and with other vendors and ask about what they’ve implemented, what has worked, what hasn’t, what they’ve liked that they’ve seen from others, from other partners, other vendors, what things have not worked so well with them and take that into account when you plan how you engage with all of your clients, but that individual client specifically as well, because you want to find a system that works on both ends, but something that is simple and easy for them to switch into.
Now, you also want to set expectations appropriately. And as you collect that information, you start to put your own plan together of how you’re going to shift online. And you let them know, this is how we used to operate. These are where the changes are happening. This is how it’s going to affect you for better or for worse. You lay it all out so that they know what to expect. Now, with that aside, you communicate with your current clients. If you have them, you have that figured out, you have that resource. You need to just handle some basics when it comes to getting your tech ready and the technology that is going to fuel your business. When it shifts online is mainly going to be communication based. So if you have your own internal team, if you have a, a close relationship with the client’s team to have them communicate, then you can start to consider things like Slack, project management tools, like a sauna base camp Trello, and figure out if you want them involved on the client side or just your internal team.
But for the most part, it’s going to just be communication conferencing and more and more people are getting used to video conferencing, particularly based on the shift that’s happening in our culture, where all business is done virtually essentially. And I think we’ve all been aware that zoom has taken off and it’s become super popular. And I can’t say that it is quite my favorite tool all around there’s pros and cons to it just like there is with any tool, but it is probably the most familiar at this point. It’s the most familiar that hits all the boxes of, can we have a phone conference? Can we have a video conference? Can we do something that is like a meeting webinar platform? And in Mary’s all those together, it maybe isn’t the best in any of those categories, but it marries them altogether. So it gives you a lot of flexibility and what’s important is clients are used to it.
And when clients are used to something technology related, if they’re not in a very tech friendly field itself, it will make the process of shifting online that much easier. They don’t have them download any additional software. They don’t have to learn anything new and it provides a clean basis to have that relationship. All of the other stuff, cloud drives like Google drive Dropbox online based accounting tools and tax bookkeeping, et cetera, all of that should probably be already existing in your business. If you’re doing anything by hand, then you need to make those shifts anyhow. And hopefully this is a catalyst for you to do that. The final piece is just getting your equipment ready. And if you’re shifting from going into the office to handling everything out of the home office, you start there again, start with your own house, get it in an order.
And so your home office, you need a good computer, a fast computer, the faster your computer for what you need, the faster you’re going to get work done. The more productive you’re going to be, the less time you’re wasting, waiting for things to process. Now that doesn’t mean that you need a $3,000 computer, probably not a 2009 computer. I have an all in one setup that costs about 1000. A laptop was a little bit more than that 1500 and this per form is better than the laptop. That’s pretty much all you need, unless you’re doing anything heavy in terms of graphics and video, you don’t need to go crazy, but you don’t want to go and get a $300 setup, either invest in something that’s going to enhance what you’re doing and not limit you. Aside from that, you don’t need too much more in the home office, a printer probably doesn’t necessarily need a fax machine.
I don’t know. The last time use the facts. You don’t need a phone set up, your cell phone should be sufficient. You could probably use a mic, a headset, something that allows you to be hands free, something that allows you to have a good quality of communication. So I have an ATR 2020 200 Mike that I use for when I have webinars. It’s something that sits on my desk, not on my head. So that depends if I have video going, or if it’s just something that I’m speaking over. But that gives you excellent quality. I have a mic that connects to my cell phone and it’s Motorola HX five 50 MX five 50. Those allow you to be hands free, the relatively cheap, not the best quality, but it gets the job done. And then you might want something that is also hands-free, but connects right to your computer.
Just the regular audio Jack covers your bases, but, you need something that allows you to have good quality audio, but also be hands free because you end up focusing much more when you’re not holding a phone to hear ahead and listening in, and you don’t necessarily want to just rely on standard headphones. You don’t want to just have audio coming through your speakers and speaking back just a small investment. You can get those for under a hundred dollars and they’re plenty good enough quality. And that’s pretty much it. The main thing and shifting your consulting business online is to speak to your current clients, figure out what they’re doing, what’s working, what isn’t and align your processes to make sure that it is a smooth and clean process for them. And in the process, you might be able to advise them a bit.
And the more advisory you provide, the deeper that relationship builds. That’s a win, win conversation. Anyhow, get your own technology stack in order. And really what that means is how am I going to communicate internally and externally with clients? So that could be Slack or Microsoft teams or whatever like that. But usually it is just about getting a conference tool of some sort. I used Uber conferences three years and like that, but zoom is kind of the GoTo right now. So you might want to jump on that train just for the ease of use and the familiarity for the clients and get whatever equipment you need to set up your home office so that you can get the work done efficiently, and also set up the environment. So it’s something that you enjoy working within. If you’re going to spend more time at your home office, now treat it with the respect that you would in a formal office, where people are visiting you.
It should be professional. Yeah. It should be a you, whatever that might mean. It should be something that makes you feel inspired and ready to work and just get a headset, get a mic, get something so that you can communicate without having to use the standard headphones that might’ve come with your phone. And without having to just blast the voices over the computer speakers and that’s it shifting online isn’t any more complicated. And I think what this video should have done for years realized, Oh, this isn’t so tough. It gives me an opportunity to deepen my relationships with my clients and I can make the shift in a day with under a hundred dollars and.
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