Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls

Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls

Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls

Here is a GREAT article that I found at monster.com.  I hope you appreciate it as much as I have.


Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls
by John Rossheim
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Contracting is the life, isn't it? You put your bare feet up on your desk, make a few phone calls to clients who eat up your advice like caviar, and then just count your money.

Not quite. There are lots of things that can go wrong when professionals go independent. So it's a good idea to survey the road for some of the most common potholes, and to consider making a pit stop before you blow a tire and lose control of your business.

1. You Stop Prospecting for New Business

Countless consultants get in a rut and work with the same small group of clients year after year. Stability is great, but if you don't regularly test the market for more challenging projects and prestigious clients, you could be missing stellar opportunities.

Our advice: Learn how to fire a client and market yourself and your business.

2. Your Fees Don't Keep Pace with the Market

You have a longstanding relationship with a client and can't seem to find a way to move your fee up from $60 an hour. Rising expenses chip away at profits, and it's obvious that other potential clients would pay you $90 an hour, no questions asked.

Our advice: Rationalize what you charge.

3. You Enter Agreements Blindly

Work for hire, hold harmless, irrevocable assignment -– who knows the meaning of all that legal mumbo jumbo? You'd better find out -- with the help of a lawyer if necessary -- or you may end up in civil or bankruptcy court.

Our advice: Get everything in writing.

4. You Give Away Your Intellectual Property

Your client takes that ingenious little algorithm you wrote, turns around and licenses the code to five other companies for a cool $500,000. It's all perfectly legal, and what do you have to show for it? Resentment.

Our advice: Leverage your intellectual capital.

5. Your Home Office Gets Out of Control

Your office looks like an office supply store that got hit by a tsunami. You've actually lost business by misplacing contact information. Or maybe your toddler knows where to find those floppy disks, and she's using them to test her new molars.

Our advice: Get organized and stake out your territory.

6. Bad Work Habits Lower Your Productivity

Billing by the hour can be profitable, but not if you keep clocking out to watch TV or shop online for stuff you can't afford because you're not billing enough hours. Even if you think you're spending time wisely, there's probably room for improvement.

Our advice: Bone up on time management.

7. Your Work Becomes Your Life

Do you work every weekend? Is your spouse preparing to hit you with a conjugal negligence suit? If so, you need to put work in a larger perspective and get a life. If you don't, your professional creativity and productivity will suffer.

Our advice: Plan to make a vacation happen.

8. You Fail to Ride the Technology Curve

Even if you don't work in the high tech arena, technology is key to your business productivity. Do you frequently rekey lots of data? Wait around while your PC completes tasks? Spend hours looking for basic information? If so, you're losing your competitive edge.

Our advice: Mind your technology.

9. Your Professional Skills Stagnate

What's new in your field this year? What have you learned this month? If you don't have good answers, your stock value will drop like a dotcom's in spring 2000.

Our advice: Stay sharp.

10. Your Grapevine Withers

What's the contractor's most valuable business property? The Rolodex. If you don't keep up with customers, colleagues, rivals, mentors and other players, you're toast.

Our advice: Team up with other contractors.

Rich Geoffroy
Polymer Services Group

RE: Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls

A star for that.  I wrote that same list (diferent words, different sequence, same concepts) in my personal-development plan when I started my business.  I screwed up on number one in the first year (it was number 8 on my list), and just about went under.  When I got that straight the rest have stood me in a very good position.

Anyone who follows all 10 points every day will do MUCH better in their business than someone who doesn't.

[BTW, eng-tips.com is a great contributer to success in number 9]


RE: Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls


An excellant list. I would like to add that it applies not just to contractors, but to everyone: employees, owners, contractors, etc.

Star for you.

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Top 10 Consulting Pitfalls

The technology one is a very good point.

I have seen employers reluctant to spend 2k on an analysis package that would do a 40k project in half the time!

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close