Developing a Consulting Project Proposal and Preventing 'Scope Creep"

When presented with a new consulting project proposal it is very important to have an approach that will provide the foundation that will create a successful outcome for the client and the consultant. Defining a Project Objective and Developing a Proposal At the point that discussions with a prospect turn into the identification of an area of need, the basis has been laid to develop a proposal. The area of need would establish the objective of a consulting project. In the initial discussions an effort should be made to identify as precisely as possible, the area of need (objective) and the deliverable that would provide real value. The deliverable will be the core of the proposal. For example, if a client has an idea for a new product but doesn’t know the size of the market or if the product fills a real need, the area of need or objective would be understanding the value of the proposed product to consumers and determining the size of the market. The proposal might be to: “I

A Housing Model To Change The World

Most of you know that I am a Clayton Christensen fan. The video link below talks about market creating innovations and the limitations current financial ratios puts on innovations that create and expand markets. It is about 16 minutes long and, I think, worth the time. I believe Christensen's theories can lay the ground work for innovations that can change the world. Consider a project that focuses on housing for the very poor and creating a business model that would be sustainable and built on capitalistic principles. The idea stems from the belief that housing is a fundamental economic endeavor and can be the impetus for real economic growth. That is, housing drives other industries that provide materials and support services. Housing and the associated industries create jobs that create deman

Launching a New Executive Education Program

Earlier this year I accepted the challenge of creating an executive education program at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. Up until this point, Bauer had no formal strategy for executive education. It did, however, have an outstanding faculty and was engaged with a number of high profile companies in developing custom curricula for developing managers and executives. My job would be to continue with the custom programs already in place and to add classes that could be used by individuals or companies that had a need for only one or two classes. This would require engaging the faculty and community experts in developing classes for the program, creating a format to for communicating the class topics and qualifications of the faculty and designing a website that would be user friendly. That’s just the beginning. The next steps include developing a winning marketing campaign and developing enough demand to fill the classes at a rate that covers the cost

How to Save Newspapers Part II

In August of 2013 I wrote a blog on how to save newspapers ( ) . This blog described the differences between print and digital editions of a newspaper and their websites. The article focused on creating a symbiotic relationship between the newspaper and the website. I see that newspapers are trying to create a business model that relies on inputs from electronic and print components but I don’t see much symbiosis.   Most of newspaper efforts still seem to be driven by the old model and its strengths.   News stories are printed in the paper and digital editions with reference to those stories being repeated in a different format and different timing on the website.   I saw, in one newspaper, a large photo (half page) of an event with a caption telling the readers they could learn more about the event on the newspaper’s website. Now there is a synergistic effort gone bad. The folks getting the newspaper don’

Consulting Project Framework

I have used a framework to guide my consulting projects and internal corporate projects for years. The approach has kept me focused on project completion and has helped in providing data driven solutions for complex problems. The approach to designing a consulting project framework is based on starting with the mission and vision of the organization I am working with and understanding how the objective of the project fits with the mission and vision. Before next steps are taken there needs to be an assessment of the organization’s current position vis-à-vis the universe in which it exists. Only then can you move forward to developing a strategy, its tactics and an execution plan. An exercise that should help in gaining clarity for your project relates to the acronym: M ission – How does the organization service a universal need? This is why the organization exists. As you consider your next consulting project it is always good to consider how the client’s organization


For those of you that are looking for a simple process for launching a new product or entering a new market, I have developed a checklist below that can be used for either. Checklist 1.      State your company mission – This is why the business exists or will exist. Coca Cola is a good example, their mission talks about refreshing the world, creating value and inspiring happiness and optimism. Note there is nothing said about selling Coke. 2.      State your company vision – This is how the company will create value for the company, the customer and collaborators. Again, Coca Cola is a good example. The coke vision talks about being a great place to work, building a portfolio of quality beverage brands, nurturing a winning network of customers and suppliers, being a responsible citizen, being a profitable company and being a lean, effective and fast moving company. 3.      Does the new product or new market fit with the mission and vision? – Clearly introducing products ot

Advertising Sales Success For Media Companies

When I worked as a newspaper executive we had a special sales group called print specialists. This group typically was comprised of the more senior and gifted sales personnel. These specialists had knowledge of ROP (in-paper) advertising, preprints, commercial printing, direct mail and production processes. This group sold the more complicated products and assisted sales people selling more traditional lines of newspaper products in broadening the scope of sales opportunities. A print specialist was able to set down with an advertiser and develop an advertising program that best suited the customer’s needs. The program could include ROP ads coupled with a direct mail campaign with customized brochures reaching targeted audiences. Sales commission programs encouraged all sales groups to use the expertise of the print specialist. Using this approach all sales personnel had an opportunity to increase their income while improving the newspaper’s profits and providing real valu