I saw a question recently where someone was asking for advice on providing an Internet Marketing consulting service.
It was apparently their first, or one of their first, consulting gigs.
The question was full of vibes about how to protect themselves by making sure their client couldn’t take anything they came up with to another consultant.
It had a protectionist feel about it (self protection, that is).
But I think that’s the wrong approach.
I’m a great believer in ‘give and ye shall receive’.
It’s an approach that’s worked for me, and it’s worked for others too.
With that in mind, I’ve copied below the answer I offered:
Speaking from my own experience, I’d suggest you help this doctor for a minimal fee and use this project (assuming the good Doctor accepts your proposal) to learn the business of providing Internet Marketing consulting.
You can’t just rattle off a few points and be concerned about preventing him from taking your suggestions to his current consultant. That’s the wrong focus.
You should focus on building the relationship.
If you build the relationship with him, so that he trusts your advice and intentions, he won’t take his business (or your ideas) anywhere.
But he may well do so if he doesn’t believe you have his best interests at heart.
Charge the doctor a minimal fee and focus on winning his confidence.
Demonstrate that you truly know what you’re on about and can provide better value than his current consultant/advisor can.
Work WITH the doctor, treat it as a partnership, learn and understand his business and provide the best advice you can.
Later, when people like the doctor are singing your praises and business is flooding through the door – that’s when you can start wondering whether people are taking your ideas to competitors.
But by then it probably won’t matter that much.