78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
I have purchased and read all editions of this book, and always find both the updated as well as the basic information extremely valuable (see my previous reviews of some of Weiss' books). While my reviews don't indicate it, I have all his books. Although some are very derivitive of his basic ideas, if I were to recommend one book (of all the consulting books, as well as all of Alan's), this would be it. The methods he describes are basic, but I attribute the use of them to my ability to stay a full time (or really "part time" as Alan defines it) consultant for over 13+ years. I am not a 7 figure/year consultant, and have no desire to be, but nevertheless, find the material continues to contribute to my success in this field. I have given or pointed others to this book, and those who follow even some of his advice, especially value-based pricing, have also become successful. Let's be honest, if you get one good piece of advice that you apply, the cost of the book is irrevalent. Certainly when compared to workshops, seminars, one-on-one coaching, etc. If you're disciplined enough to use the information, you will greatly improve your practice. And if you're already doing that, he nudges you to continue and improve. Alan covers other key topics such as forget cold calling and drive business to you by newsletters (snail and e-)which I use to great effect, white-papers (especially for beginners), articles in trade journals / magazines, books (including self-published, but not vanity), targeted ads, public and professional speaking, etc., and reusing / reformatting / "repacking" that body of knowledge to get extensive milage from your initial effort. He does or has used all these methodologies himself (there's no theory here), and has become very sucessful.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2011
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I have been in consulting for some 15 years and have learned hard lessons by trial and error. I wished I had found this book when I made my first attempt to consulting 15 years ago. The book is packed with the best advice to really build a million dollar practice. I have started already to cut fat, my two former partners are gone, do not need them to work, do not need to share my income with them, from now on if I need help it will be on a project basis. Though there are lots of advice and wisdom in this book. I found the chapter on Value Based fees to be the best part of the book. I had come to some practical methods of determinig my pricing, I have always used ROI to sell my projects, but I have not used the ROI to come up with a decent pricing, always have been able to give a 10-1 ratio from every dollar I have received or more, but now are staring to see the benefits of selling big tag projects to CEO's directly, without the need to put hourly-or -per diem fees.
I recommend to all to read throughly the parts on answering objections. Those are great advice and will be very useful to change the minds of CEO's and avoid being down priced by the peanut counters that all finance dept. have.
This book and a great book on negotiation from Herb Cohen - You can negotiate anything! will be a good match to get you moving specially if you are new in this business. Another and very important book for start ups is: The Four Steps to the epiphany by Steve Blank. I wished I had read it first before doing anything, basically what Blank tells you in the book is test your product/service idea first with real prospects in a real market. Find out if your product is really great and determine the minimum requirements to get to market successfully, do some iterations and test your business model and make sure there are customers ready to buy your product, and do your work before launch, this will help you avoid going to increase the stats of the failure start ups. This quote is great: most of start ups do not fail due to technology, they fail because lack of customers, I can tell you this is absolutely true. Forget the social networks, for consultants you need to meet real people and decision makers who have problems that you can solve, in the social networks what you will find is lots of people looking for free advice, consulting is not a charity. Unless you want to consult pro-bono for some real and good cause which is OK, but first make money..then else. Thanks
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2009
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This book provides a remarkable overview of the business of solo consulting. Weiss' book neatly packages objectives, strategy and tactics in a way that inspires and provides direction. There is lots to be learned by consultants at every level of experience. For some it will open their eyes to a new way of thinking and doing business, and for others it will reinforce and validate their current practices.
Highly recommended. A reminder, this book has no value sitting unread on a bookshelf. If you buy it, make a commitment to reading it twice. Once to enjoy and understand his message, and then a second time to consolidate the information and make notes on the actions you need to take.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2010
I bought this book when I started my consulting practice in 2004. It is the go to, how to reference guide for any and all consulting business questions. Alan is direct, specific, practical and intense... he provides solid step-by-step usable advice. He's been there, he's found the best ways to do things and he delivers.
His formula for partnering with others is perfect. It's helped me successfully manage how projects are handled. His process and formula works. Partnering with others can get sticky without the process he recommends.
I've recommended this book to so many people. It is a classic and has helped me in more ways than I can count.
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2013
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----- (0/5 stars) for expertise on consulting
Alan Weiss is, in his own words (see the youtube video on his talk at Harvard), not a consultant: "I am not doing wholesale consulting anymore, but doing mostly retail consulting". All his consulting wisdom stems thus not from consulting to corporate clients, but nearly exclusively from consulting for individual consultants.
This is important. Wess's business model is a bit at odds with the business model of most consultants. Wess makes money by selling books, consultants make money by actually helping clients. Wess success as a (so called) consultant/bookseller does not qualify him at all to tell other consultants how to better help corporate clients. Wess does provide an example, albeit a questionable one, on how to write and recycle books that sell.
Not once in his books you will find an example on how Weiss actually helped a corporate client. What I - as a consultant or corporate buyer of consulting services - am looking for is a track record: (a) what was the client's situation before the engagement of Wess? (b) what did Wess do, specifically? (c) what is Wess unique approach, what are his tools, methods? (d) what are the results after Wess left? how were results measured or audited? (e) what are any long-term lasting benefits of this engagement?
Unfortunately, the author provides absolutely no information at all about his track record as corporate consultant. Sincerely and unfortunately, I have no idea what the author actually does as a consultant. Most corporate buyers probably have no idea either, so maybe this is the reason the author now consults consultants and not companies.
I also do not believe the author's claims of his "US $ 3 million in annual revenues"; he says he takes "all the money out at the end of every year" (which makes it hard to verify the claims by analysing publicly available records), but the fact that he does so does not bode well for his credibility. The author drives Ferraris and Bentleys presumably to impress others on his qualities and success. Well, I say, we have seen that. Ponzi schemes operate in a very similar way: operators of Ponzi schemes show off their wealth, money and Ferraris come in, ... until the first critical individuals (or the FTC/IRS) find out that there is no substance there, there is, as Alain says "no there there".
The author is, in his own words (see video), passionate about "rethoric", which he considers "the most important capability of consultants". You do not have to read Gorgias by Platon (but I urge you to do so), but I share Socrates disrespect for rethorics: an art which is "all about appearing without actually knowing".
Is Wess a fraudster? The reader may decide: Ponzi schemes can go on for a while, but all of them eventually collapse.
***** (5/5 stars) for expertise on pricing
His book "Value-based fees" is an excellent source for advice on pricing of consultant services - this book much less so. I share the authors concerns on hourly or daily fees (he calls them "immoral" and talks about an "inherent conflict" of hourly rates) and offers some excellent suggestions on how to use value-based pricing for consultancy services.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2010
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No one else writes on the subject of consulting more authoritatively than Alan Weiss. I've read most of his books, and this one might be the best. What Mr. Weiss has done is rather remarkable--he has to an extent reinvented an entire industry. Now, you might first react to that statement by thinking "well, he sure reinvented the fee structure" but that would be missing the point: Mr. Weiss has reinvented the relationship between the consultant and client. He transforms it from a client-server contract to a collaboration deal, with all the resultant changes in nuance that entails. In the hourly fee paradigm, the consultant wanted to stick around as long as possible, milking the clock. Now, the consultant and client work together to bring about lasting, effective change that never checks the time but only the results. Along with his other books, Mr. Weiss has in this volume gone into more detail philosophically about a profession than anything I have ever read. He is truly an agent of change, and if you are a consultant, or even thinking of becoming one, then you must read everything he has ever written.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2010
Alan Weiss provides a much needed update to his authoritative work on consulting. The focus on managing customer expections and value based fees are often missing from other books on consuulting. Most sole-practitioners have only made the switch from trading their time for an employer's money to trading their time for a customer's money. Weiss highlights the error in this thinking and how it impacts near-term income and long-term professional growth as an industry expert. Weiss also highllights how no amount of marketing and self promotion can overcome hourly fee based pricing structures.
The 4th edition is completely updated and includes references to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and what they will and WON'T do for you in marketing yourself in the competitive corporate arena. This book contains up-to-date, practical advice on 'Million Dollar Consulting'...but not on 'Replacing Your Former Employment-based Income Consulting' found in so many other books. This may not be the only book you will buy on consulting, but it should be your first book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2014
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Alan definitely has a lot of consulting experience. He comes off a bit brash and arrogant at times, but in a way that you'd like to be with 30+ years under your belt. For example, he describes subcontractors as "the delivery people...who are a dime a dozen" as if they are almost sub-human, even saying "don't let them read my book."
The book has some great information, BUT, it is incredibly verbose. What Alan takes 10 pages to describe could easily be boiled down into 10 sentences or less. This book could easily be half its size. I find myself waiting for him to get to the point multiple times. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the information he is conveying, I just wish he could do it more succinctly and matter-of-factly.
My other complaint is that there is a noticeable amount of content seemingly copied wholesale either from or into his other books. Sometimes it's a paragraph here and there, but occasionally it seems like an entire chapter is repurposed from another of his books word for word. He even uses the same euphemisms over and over in all of his books, sometime with only slightly different context.
Other than that, however, there is good information here for anyone looking to get away from hourly billing and into a value-based system, so it has value in that regard.
17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
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In his text "Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice", Alan Weiss concentrates on providing advice to those individuals seeking to build a small, private consulting practice. Weiss repeats this refrain on several occasions throughout his discourse here, because as he indicates, a high number of individuals have asked him to expand his training materials over the years to address the growth of the individual practice. This focus contrasts with works written by David H. Maister, such as "Managing the Professional Service Firm" and "First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals" (see my reviews), for example, and Weiss is very explicit as to the reasons behind this focus: "Unless you have a personal objective to build a large firm, surround yourself with the accoutrements of size and mass, and build the equity in the company to the point where you own a valuable business (or a share in one), there is no intrinsic personal financial benefit in linear growth." And "if your objectives are to earn a high income while helping clients to improve their condition - in other words, to support your family and your aspirations while engaging in constructive and valuable work - then your chances of fulfilling this goal are immeasurably greater if you are running your own small firm (small meaning just you or with a few others). You don't have to wait years for a portion of the ownership because you already have all of it. You are not reliant on colleagues' productivity or management's strategic decisions, and you absolutely control how much money you keep." While this reviewer does not agree with all of the content in this book (for example, the definition that Weiss provides for "B2B"), this book is highly recommended to anyone interested in the subject matter at hand. In addition to the refrain Weiss provides concerning the purpose of this book, the other message that the author repeats is the value of financial reward, which is not an end in itself: "Remember that money is fuel for life and that the real wealth is discretionary time." This reviewer agrees with some of the other reviewers here in the sense that the author's chapter entitled "Stop Thinking that Time is Money: If you're Charging a Per Diem, You're Still Just Practicing" is among the best in the book. Charging clients based on billable hours rather than the business value that the work creates limits the amount of earnings that one can generate each year: "Fees are based on value, not on your time, which has no intrinsic value to the client. You can always make another dollar, but you can't make another minute." And "if you agree that discretionary time is real wealth, then you can easily see that simply maximizing income, despite personal and family sacrifices, can actually decrease your wealth. Be careful about that." The chapter entitled "Beyond Success", among the other favorites of this reviewer, provides answers by the authors on the following questions: "Should you charge the highest fees you can get away with?", "Should you travel first class and bill the client?", "Should you borrow others' ideas and present them as your own?", "Should you bill more than one client for the same basic expenses?", "Should you pass on to the client confidential information given you in the course of your assignment?", "Should you use tickets supplied by your client to bring your spouse along?", "Should you accept an assignment from a client's competitor?", "Should you agree to use secret identifying codes on a confidential survey?", "Should you continue to write for a client who passes off your work as his own?", "Should you agree to supplant an alliance partner who introduced you to the client?", and "Am I justified in turning down business from a firm whose practices are reprehensible to me?" The answer that Weiss provides for this last question is especially interesting. Of the guidelines that he provides, the author's first guideline is to ask whether the activity improves the client's condition or merely one's own. While this reviewer admires Gerald M. Weinberg (see my reviews by this author), his Third Law of Consulting sits in stark contrast with this philosophy, which states: "Never forget they're paying you by the hour, not by the solution." No author has all of the answers, but in the opinion of this reviewer, adding this book to one's reading list along with works by Maister and Weinberg can be an unbeatable combination.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2012
I bought this book 8 years ago when I started my independent consulting, training, and speaking business. I keep it on my desk as a reference book - and it has proved to be one I consult on a regular basis. Some key areas Weiss does a great job with:
- Setting fees based on value
- Simple proposals and agreements that get to the point and focus on value
- Coming up with new ideas and offerings
- Dealing with partnerships and subcontractors / compensation and more
- Helpful tips on marketing and growing the business
And there is much more. I like books I can find things in after I've read them. This has a simple layout, helpful illustrations and diagrams, and lists that make this an easy to use reference book. Every consultant should have one. Bottom line, you'll use it often and it will help build confidence as you approach new business opportunities.