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To Be, Or Not To Be… A Consultant — Part 1

Merriam-Webster’s definition of a consultant is quite terse: “one who gives professional advice or services: EXPERT”. Well, it’s brief and concise…

Digging a little bit dipper, you may find more meat on a bone at hubspot. It says: (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-become-a-consultant):

“A consultant is a person who’s an expert in a particular field who gives professional advice to individuals and businesses in their area of expertise, usually on a temporary or contract basis until a particular need has been met”. And it further explains:

“Companies hire consultants to:

· Get an objective, outsider opinion on processes or systems

· Solve for internal blindspots

· Receive expert guidance on solving a problem or implementing a solution

· Fill a temporary staffing gap in a scalable way

· Get access to expertise that is difficult to source and hire for (such as for a niche technology or other use case)”

And it is all true. So, my next question is as follows:

· Q: How many CONSULTANTS does it take to change a lightbulb?

· A: About 2.3 billion… just ask Google

Surprised? Don’t be. After all, CONSULTING is a huge industry. According to https://www.consultancy.org/: “With a total value of $200+ billion, the global consulting sector is one of the largest and most mature markets within the professional services industry”.

So, if you think that finding the right “Advisor” will be less tedious, let me ask you the next question:

· Q: How many ADVISORS does it take to change a lightbulb?

· A: About 921 million… just ask Google

Yes, the last time I Googled the word “advisor” — the search engine came back with about 921,000,000 results (yes, it’s not an error, I’m talking about 921 million…).

And if you think that social media helps to separate the wheat from the chaff — think again…

Finding a good outside advisor by the CEO is like finding a proverbial needle in a haystack… So, as an entrepreneurial consultant, if you are targeting CEOs at well-funded and growth-oriented startups, be prepared to spend 2–4 years on building a strong brand and excelling at… CUSTOMER ACQUISITION:

· identifying and targeting the right customers

· generating compelling marketing collateral

· selling your services to paying customers

· acquiring additional customers

· retaining your customers

The State of the “Consulting” Nation…

According to CB Insights: “Over the last 60 years, the large management consultancies have grown and maintained their status through prestige, branding, and long-time client relationships. Consulting itself is a $200B+ industry, per CB Insights’ Industry Analyst Consensus. But the big three consultancies — McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain — are ultimately no more immune to the forces of disruption than any other industry”.

Now, a tectonic disruption is hitting management consulting. The industries that have proven the most vulnerable to disruption have been those with:

· One or a few major players

· Relatively outdated business practices

· Slow technology adoption

Oddly, management consulting is rarely named in discussions about industries vulnerable to disruption, despite the fact that it meets all of the above qualifications”

Yes, Digitization, IT, and Artificial Intelligence are all causing the greatest disruption of the last 50 years in all areas of Management Consulting. And never before, the rate of change and the depth of the reinvention — was as deep and as profound as it is today.

I’ve been saying it for a long time. So, let me share with you my own experiences on above — the good, the bad, and the plain ugly…

Buckle Up & Enjoy The Ride…

I am targeting CEOs that are solving big problems and I assume that the only 2 Rules every progressive CEO aspires to — are as follows:

· Rule №1 — Stay open-minded & curious

· Rule №2 — Never forget Rule №1…

If I don’t see such traits — I move on, as I am convinced that good CEOs increase REVENUES & reduce COSTS. Great ones, turn COST into PROFIT centers.

My BusinessAI™ expertise is all about 30+ years of radical Business Development Innovation (BDI). It’s literally, “off-the-wall” — just ask Verizon about it…

I often say that good advice is worth its weight in gold. And just like Midas, I aim to turn your BDI activities into gold — in Canada, and around the world…

And I often add: if your company is meeting or exceeding all the planned growth expectations — congratulations! If not:

1) I am in the business of joining Advisory Boards and my message to CEOs and VC/CVC/PE firms is quite simple: imitation works best in karaoke bars, not in business.

2) To escape the competition, businesses need to constantly reinvent. I join Advisory Boards to “unlock” Radical Innovation and deliver cutting-edge KEE (Knowledge, Experience, and Expertise) to do so. And my Know-How is a direct result of a 30-yr hands-on AI Entrepreneurship…

As a first step, I ask CEOs to clearly articulate their brand in just two words — not in 2-page essays, or even in two lengthy sentences. For example: McDonald’s = FAST FOOD; Walmart = LOW PRICES. So, Who Are You? — in two words, please…

IMHO, if product descriptions qualified as IP, Business Development would have been easy. The problem is that all the competitors can use the same narrative. And no amount of branding, marketing, and wordsmithery is going to suffice without utilizing ground-breaking tools, such as my BusinessAI™- specifically designed to deliver AI innovation breakthroughs…

Initially, I have more questions to ask than answers to give. So, I ask CEOs to tell me more about their immediate priorities and some of the existing challenges.

As a consultant, your soft skills and the ability to listen are extremely valuable at such a stage. Why? Because it can lead to helping increase PROFITABILITY of existing business; add new CAPABILITIES to an existing business, and explore OPPORTUNITIES beyond existing business…

· As BusinessAI™ veteran w/ 30-yr hands-on AI expertise, I also offer investment advice to VCs & PEs during AI acquisition, development, and deployment

· In many cases, I also structure unique JVs to radically increase & diversify revenue streams

And yet, even the best technologies and the best solutions — still do not guarantee sustainable growth. Offering lower costs at a higher value is necessary but often not sufficient. I learned that while selling to corporate clients in a Joint Venture with Verizon. And ever since, I deliver unique strategies that… turn customers’ COST into a PROFIT center.

A good Advisory Board improves the decision-making process by helping the CEOs to consider different perspectives. More importantly, there is not a single top athlete who does not have a coach.

And yet, only 20% of CEOs are coached by Advisors. The other 80% — may never become the top performers they could have been. Thus, my advice to CEOs: “Amateurs don’t use coaches, professionals do… and so should you”…

Based on my 30+ years of entrepreneurial experience, I am convinced that companies succeed when they are READY to act and keenly OPPORTUNISTIC. Besides, every successful company must also be LUCKY to be at the right time and at the right place — to take advantage of the unfolding opportunity…

So, to all my prospective clients, large and small, I offer the following advice: If you anticipate even the slightest difficulty meeting your growth targets, please contact me without delay…

And when I see a genuine interest in my offerings, I provide more info about my professional background and the description of unique strategies that I use to deliver rapid results.

It’s rudimentary: STOP BEING PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH. Any business that successfully raised $2MM+ owes it to its investors & must tap into the best advice available…

In most cases, my hands-on involvement follows the following path:

1) Advisory Board Nomination Phase — my assistance starts at the Advisory Board (AB) level. Since “trust can’t be promised, it must be earned” — my goal is to help at the AB level and to be invited to the BOD as an Independent Director. When the invitation to become a Non-Executive Director materializes, I will know that I earned the trust. No ifs or buts…

2) Getting To Know Phase — in as little as 30 to 90 days, I will ask many questions, listen to your answers, and thoroughly understand where the company is now and where it wants to be in the future. Based on such an assessment, I will recommend how to get there. It allows me to work with the company at granular as well as strategic levels as a hands-on Operating Adviser.

3) Next Steps — after gaining a better understanding of your priorities — I will Propose, Design, Structure, Finance, and Deploy state-of-the-art Joint Ventures to bring RAPID & SUSTAINABLE REVENUES. And it is not about how to score one hit. It is a process to beat the odds…

My engagement can be viewed as a substitute for bringing FIVE experienced C-level executives on board — to tackle strategic innovation, disruptive marketing, operational efficiency, brand authenticity, and JV growth capital. To start the process:

  • Canada Green ESCO executes a Strategic Advisory Agreement (SAA) for the 1 to 3-month term.
  • The SAA can be canceled and/or extended at any time thereafter and clients are not locked in.
  • We require a small Expense Coverage Deposit (“ECD”) at the time of signing. Our monthly ECDs vary — based on the selected level of success fees.

Please note that when we execute our SAA with the VC/PE fund, Canada Green ESCO also offers its services to ALL the portfolio companies — without any additional charge…

My parting Marketing and Branding message to the CEOs? People make all the difference. Even 100 mediocre musicians do not amount to one Beethoven — the same way 100 mediocre physicists are not a substitute to Einstein’s brilliance…

In Summary…

A great consultant is like any other successful entrepreneur. It’s not about how smart you are, or well educated. As long as you have what the companies need today — it is by relentless trial and error, you will identify the right customers and utilize the right marketing and sales strategies. The growth will follow…

And to help to reach the desired scalability faster, one must also retain the existing customers through innovative loyalty programs and relentless brand enhancement practices… Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, where I will tell you why saying NO is the hardest — at least, it is for me…

For More Information…

For more information, please see my posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, and CGE’s website.

AI Boogeyman

You can also find additional info in my book on amazon: “AI Boogeyman — Dispelling Fake News About Job Losses”, and on our YouTube Studio channel…

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I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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Oleg Feldgajer

Oleg Feldgajer

I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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