Customer Review

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Business of Biech, March 28, 2000
This review is from: The Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond (Hardcover)
The Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond, by Elaine Biech truly deals with what the title suggests, the business end of consulting. Throughout her book, Ms. Biech reiterates that "Staying in business is less dependent on how good a consultant you are than on how well you run your business" (p. 201). Biech backs up her emphasis on running a business successfully by offering a number of exhibits in the form of worksheets, questionnaires, self-evaluations and developing a business plan. Her exhibits contain information from tracking expenses, to tracking time. In every topic covering the business end of consulting Biech is very thorough. For example, in the marketing section of her book, she tells readers what to put in mailings in order to get attention. Her idea is to make all mailings aimed at getting business "lumpy envelopes" by enclosing objects such as holiday symbols. This has created a trademark for ebb associates, Biech's consulting business. She is also very in-depth in her discussion on how to figure out your rates as a consultant. Although the majority of the book is aimed toward the business aspect of consulting, the author does discuss how to decide if consulting is a good profession for you or not. She is very up front in informing the reader what it takes to get into the business. In this section she offers self-evaluation exhibits for those considering consulting as a career. Biech is quick to dispel myths about consulting and tell the reader what he or she can actually expect. She believes that, although the best reason to become a consultant is because you want to, it is important to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in regard to the profession. For this purpose she provides the reader with a variety of worksheets. Biech repeats her emphasis on self-evaluation at the end of her book by describing, in detail, a week in the life of a consultant. In this chapter she is very honest about the time her business takes and the need to juggle her schedule. Saturday phone calls, canceling social engagements and putting off personal projects are all possibilities in a consultant's life, according to Biech. Not only does Biech offer questionnaires and worksheets; she also gives multiple examples of introductory letters, proposals and contracts. Introductory letters are a marketing strategy of ebb associates that show research has been done on the company before it was contacted. It is important, in Biech's eyes, to focus on the recipient of the letter in the first paragraph by telling him or her what is known about the business, such as its recent expansions, growth records or business reputation. This is a way of building the client up before suggesting a service the consultant might provide. Perhaps the thing that differentiates Biech's book from other consulting books is the variety and number of exhibits offered. Every form imaginable is available not only in the book, but on a disk enclosed with the purchase of The Business of Consulting. Session planners, billing, start-up expenses, budget format, cash-flow projection, financial statements, marketing plans and subcontractor agreements are just a few of the exhibits offered. In total, there are fifty exhibits on the disk, which can be printed for use by anyone starting their own consulting business. Because of all the personality evaluations and commitment questionnaires provided in Biech's book, I believe it would make an excellent read for anyone considering becoming a consultant. Its format would also make it an excellent textbook for classes on consulting. The emphasis on running a business might be a salvation to those caught in the mire of an unorganized firm, as well as a complete guide to those venturing into self-employment for the first time. As Peter Block, the author of Flawless Consulting states, The Business of Consulting is "practical, compassionate, and a good alternative to an MBA."
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Initial post: Jun 17, 2012 9:41:19 PM PDT
Magic Mike says:
This book is an alternative to an MBA? This book is so basic and horribly unuseful that it's not even an alternative to a high school intro to business class.
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