Source: Pixabay

To Be, Or Not To Be… A Consultant — Part 2

In “To Be, Or Not To Be… A Consultant — Part 1”, I emphasized that 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 reach the desired scalability faster, one must also retain the existing customers through innovative loyalty programs and relentless brand enhancement practices… In this post, I will tell you why saying NO is the hardest — at least, it is for me…

A Good Advisor Helps You Think, Plan, And Act…

On average, I receive between 5–10 “equity-only” offers to join Advisory Boards and BODs per week. And it’s a good thing because a good advisor helps you think, plan, and act…

However, based on years of experience in structuring Project Finance solutions, CGE made a formal decision to utilize the SAA format for the following reasons:

1) Learning from the past — CGE used to offer success fee services linked to the financing of utility-scale renewable energy projects. In some cases, we worked for 3–6 months to deliver a binding term sheet to our clients, and yet the clients still chose inferior financing from their past contacts or family ties.

Also, without monthly expense coverage, some of our clients would disappear for weeks on their trips to China, or India — leaving us unable to communicate with urgency. This reflected poorly on our professionalism in front of the pension funds and other lending institutions.

We were not compensated for our efforts, so at such time — CGE decided to never face such a situation again… It is a “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” thing…

2) You are not locked in — our SAA allows companies to cancel the engagement at any time. If for whatever reason, the CEO is not satisfied with our advice — the SAA can be terminated before the 90-days Term expires. Besides, all the retainers are fully credited against future success fees — so nobody is paying twice — NOOOBODY!

3) Red flag — to be frank, companies that CAN’T cover our expenses, do not inspire huge confidence going forward. Perhaps, it’s just too early to bring and engage a proper Advisory Board. So, I would rather revisit our discussions at the time when the situation changes — with pleasure…

And things do change, much faster than you think… Pre-seed VC funds are gaining prominence by the day. Only a few years ago, most of the institutional VCs treated IDEAS as time a dozen. It was all about: show me your TEAM & TRACTION.

Who would have thought that even the most accomplished VCs such as Mark Suster from Upfront Ventures — would now say: “The bet that we’re making is now more on the founder skills and vision than on customer adoption of a product”…

4) Data analytics — most of all, we learned to rely on our statistics collected over the last 12 years. Among all the companies that accepted our SAA framework, only 12% were delinquent in paying our Success Fees. The delinquency rate grew to a whopping 72% among the companies we agreed to help — but w/o executing the formal SAA. This is 6X more aggravations we are no longer prepared to accept…

So, to all the entrepreneurs who emphasize how some of the advisors are prepared to work with them for free, I say: “if you can tap equally encompassing BusinessAI™ wisdom at no cost — take it!. But please keep in mind that you often get back what you paid for”…

Truth be told, if I didn’t believe in my abilities to help ambitious and open-minded startups to become the next Unicorns — I wouldn’t be wasting their time and mine. But I can sympathize with the past experiences of hiring the wrong advisers.

I hired many managers in my past companies that turned out to be not the best fit. However, I always looked at it as an analogy to buying a bad business book: It doesn’t mean that all the business books are worthless, and one continues buying additional books thereafter…

And to continue with the library theme, occasionally, I am being told that the CEO already has an advisor. Well, saying that you already have an Advisor, is like saying that you bought a business book in the past and have no need to look at another one…

The expense coverage is nothing but an indication of a sense of urgency. Our REAL payback is tied to a success fee, anyway, and it is quite lucrative when we are talking about raising millions. So, our interests with the CEOs are fully aligned.

And I am quite clear about another issue: CGE can’t accept and hold an equity position in any company — without getting to know the company during the 30–90 days SAA term. It’s our Fiduciary Duty…

It’s our KYC (Know Your Customer) process that I can’t change. However, after the expiry of the SAA, all the future payments and Success Fees can be converted into an equity stake. CGE would also gladly join your BOD at such time…

And one more thing, all CGE’s Advisory Board engagements are under the NDAs. To disclose the details about the past transactions, the clients would have to be contacted and asked for written authorization.

I’m sure that all my clients wouldn’t like for me to disclose the information about their company, too — without permission. For such a reason, Canada Green ESCO executes a Strategic Advisory Agreement (SAA) for a short 3-month term and the SAA can be canceled and/or extended at any time.

It is worth mentioning that many of my past engagements are already described without any breach of confidentiality in over 100+ posts on LinkedIn, Medium, and CGE’s website — and in my book…

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…

• Imitation works best in karaoke bars, not in business. To escape the competition, businesses need to constantly reinvent — so I join Advisory Boards to “unlock” Radical Innovation.

• Good advisors help increase REVENUES & reduce COSTS. Great ones, turn COST into PROFIT centers — so I deliver the right KEE (Knowledge, Experience, and Expertise) to do so.

• My BusinessAI™ expertise is all about business development innovation. It’s literally, “off-the-wall” — just ask Verizon about it…

• I often say that good advice is worth its weight in gold. So, let me be your Midas, in Canada, and around the world…

• Warren Buffett once said: “predicting rain doesn’t count; building arks, does”. Yet successful ark builders also work with the best lumber salesmen, and more.

• Helping the CEOs to escape the competitive floods — is what I do. If product descriptions qualified as IP, Business Development would have been easy. The problem is that all the competitors can use the same narratives. And no amount of branding, marketing, and wordsmithery is going to suffice w/o utilizing BusinessAI™ — the strategies I specifically designed to achieve Business Development excellence.

• As a 30-yr BusinessAI™ veteran, I offer unmatched investment advice to VCs, PEs, and their portfolio companies. In many cases, I also Propose, Design, Structure, Finance, and Deploy state-of-the-art Joint Ventures to bring RAPID REVENUES — just as I did w/ Verizon already 20-yrs ago…

• As a founder of Canada Green ESCO Inc. (CGE), I used BusinessAI™ strategies in Cleantech — focused on fighting Climate Change & utility-scale Environmental Risks. In total, CGE raised $1B+ in project finance linked to solar, wind, geothermal, Waste-To-Energy (WTE), energy efficiency, and more.

• Now, I help maximize returns also in Healthcare, Fintech, Transportation, and Construction industries. And I apply the same structured finance expertise I acquired through financing Cleantech projects. It involves equity, non-recourse debt, balance sheet financing, and tax equity.

• My pattern recognition abilities allow me to see what is still missing & how to maximize business offerings & profitability. And as a coach & mentor, I bring unparalleled business savvy to separate the wheat from the chaff…

• What I learned over the years is that it is not just technology innovation that makes all the difference. Business Model Innovation is as disruptive as Technology Innovation and yet I see too many companies focused on pushing their product out the door — while losing ~70% of untapped revenue streams…

--

--

--

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.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Founder stories: An Unleashed Q+A with Jo Dalton, Founder at JD & Co

A black and white photo of Jo, smiling next to a unicorn wall hanging

Open Source vs. Cloud Castles

Why Kansas City is America’s Next Great Tech City.

The secret lives of technology enabled entrepreneurs

We Are Struck Capital ⚡️

Airbnb Reflections

Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads August 16th, 2020

The 3 Big Lessons that most business owners learn too late in business

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
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.

More from Medium

How our startup is building a Zone of Genius culture

What is talent?

Predictions for the Future of Medicine: From 3D Printed Pills to Smart Toilets

🎙️ Brian Trelstad — HBS Professor and Partner at Bridges on Service-Based Impact Investing