The Synergy of Training and Consulting…
If you are a consulting firm, consider adding training to your services… if you are a training firm, consider adding consulting. There is a strong synergy between the two.
I recently enrolled in a course on how to develop on-line training classes. Two goals:
- JumpToConsulting – Develop a multi-module course for newbies (or choose just curious) on how to start/build/operate a small consulting firm. Always in the back of my mind, this is the thrust of this blog.
- EMIGURU – Put existing class materials on-line for engineers seeking information on EMI/EMC (electromagnetic interference & compatibility), the thrust of my engineering consulting firm for the last 30+ years.
Both are offered in the spirit of “do some good —have some fun – make some money.” Watch the blog for more details as both unfold.
A key point in the course building class is combining a personal touch with the training. That touch spells the difference between information and education.
When we started our engineering firm, our efforts were aimed at solving problems. But not long after starting, clients began to ask for help in preventing future problems. So we developed some training materials to address those wants and needs.
Eventually, the revenues from the training side of the business often exceeded the revenues from the consulting side of the business. But rather than abandon consulting, we kept both efforts going. And that decision was a key to our success in both areas.
First, the consulting often fed the training. After solving a problem, we asked if clients would like to prevent them in the future. The problems themselves provided fodder for the classes. Nothing like showing students how to identify and fix real world problems.
The latter came later, and were more tricky, as we had to master promotion in addition to presenting. We found targeted direct mail worked the best. We tried e-mail, but had poor results. Too much spam, I suppose.
The public promotions were not cheap — we typically mailed 50,000 to 75,000 mailers per year. It took a while, but paid off when we finally solved the promotions puzzle. As a result, I suggest you pursue in-house classes first.
Second, the training often fed consulting. This is where the public classes really shone. When students had problems, we were often the first the called for consulting.
If you don’t feel ready to do full promotions for public classes, consider free talks or workshops sponsored by professional groups or trade shows. While you don’t get paid, you don’t pay for the promotion. Such talks can still bring in business, while enhancing your credibility and visibility.
The synergy of consulting and training worked very well for my consulting firm. Training was often scheduled months in advance and assured future revenues. Consulting filled in the gaps. The synergy provided a nice balance in both time and money.
To kick off my consulting class, please join me on February 8 for a FREE one-hour webinar “So You Want To Be A Consultant” sponsored by the IEEE, my professional society. Hoping to inspire some engineering colleagues, but all are welcome. REGISTER HERE.
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