You have an idea for a service your consulting firm could offer, or a new positioning you want to try out, or an edgy new filling for the croissants you send your clients and prospects.
How likely are you to offend potential consulting prospects by testing novel musings, outputs, approaches, and artifacts?
How much risk is there that you will permanently turn away high-potential business or, worse, create negative publicity for your consulting firm by experimenting in the market?
Too many consulting firms are afraid to go to market with half-baked ideas.
Be bold. Throw your consulting spaghetti against the market’s wall and see if it sticks.
Will potential prospects hold your wacky notions against you? No.
Will they be confused? Possibly. However, people don’t remember confusion, and it’s quickly dispelled by a strong, clear position.
Look, there are ways to burn bridges with consulting prospects.
If you betray your contacts’ trust, claim you’ll deliver something that you can’t, speak or act inappropriately, or surreptitiously tie their shoelaces together under the table, then you’ll rightfully lose the privilege of interacting with them.
Testing ideas, though, doesn’t put your consulting firm’s relationships in harm’s way.
In fact, the opposite is true.
If you’re candid about the fact that you’re exploring, experimenting and learning, you can strengthen your consulting firm’s bonds with your network.
Involving prospects in your testing signifies you trust them and they’re part of the “in crowd.”
Hence, every year—perhaps every quarter, test ideas with your consulting firm’s target market.
It’s quite likely many of your ideas will fall flat. That happens when you stretch your consulting firm. However, you’ll still end up in a stronger position.
What do you think?
Has testing ideas with your market while they’re still in development worked well for you, or have you crashed and damaged relationships with that approach?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.