Top 8 Consulting Best Practices from 2014

Top 8 Consulting Best Practices from 2014Women In Consulting recently announced the results of its 13th Annual Consulting Best Practices and Compensation Study at our September general meeting.  The overarching theme was that consultants and small business owners are reporting that their businesses are “the same, but better.”  This means that while revenues are flat, respondent are seeing deeper relationships and deeper pockets.  Projects, although sometimes still hard to get, are larger in both scope and budget.

One consultant even responded, “It’s busy out there – there’s plenty of work.  I can’t make more because I simply can’t do more!”

My biggest take away from their presentation was that eight best practices are critical for consultants to follow at each and every stage of their businesses:

1. Networking is still the #1 way to build your business and your resources.

2. “Strutting your stuff” ─ writing, speaking, developing your thought leadership ─ is important.

3. Have the confidence to ask for what you are worth and walk away from work if it doesn’t pay.

4. Use subcontractors both to expand your offerings and bandwidth as well as to take care of tasks that others might be better suited to do so.

5. Mark up your subcontractor fees to your customers.

6. Charge your customers a percentage of the project fee to get started.

7. Renegotiate fees when project scope changes.

8. Charge value-based project fees or, at minimum, project- based fees instead of hourly fees.

Of these best practices, I chose to really focus this year on #1: network to build your business and resources. I moved to the East Bay just over a year ago and since I got here, WIC has been an integral part of my business and growing my network in the Bay Area. I cannot recommend WIC membership enough, and would encourage anyone looking to expand their professional network to check out an upcoming WIC satellite meeting or general meeting.

If you’d like to hear more about the survey results, Kathie Sherman and Jen Berkley Jackson presented the results of this year’s survey in a webinar that you can now download and watch at your leisure.  Please click here to purchase the download for the 2014 Best Practices Survey Results webinar.

The full report is available only to WIC Members. For more information about membership options, including full membership, community membership, and Leaders’ Network membership, please visit our website.

And finally, I leave you with a question.  What one thing are you going to do this year to maintain your rates and even charge more for your services?' About Alicia Woodfall-J​ones

Alicia Woodfall-Jones studied to be a teacher but found she lacked the passion. So, after landing a job at Genentech, she quickly learned she had an affinity for developing efficient and compliant pharmaceutical documentation solutions. Over a decade later, Alicia entered the pharmaceutical consulting world, expanding her experience and knowledge to include technical writing, project management, and instructional design in a variety of companies and functions.

After numerous years working as an independent consultant, Alicia founded Bulletproof Documentation, which specializes in providing consulting technical and medical writers, instructional designers, and project managers to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Since 2008, the company has steadily grown on the reputation of being extremely responsive and providing high quality product with excellent customer service. It took a long time to earn this reputation and it is a most prized possession. It is upheld by every Bulletproof consultant, every day, on every project.


  1. Hi Amy,

    When you asked me to write for WIC’s blog I naturally looked up articles to see scope and length. I enjoyed your above article on Consulting Best Practices. It was heartening to read that I tend to follow your 7 of the 8 Best Practices. Care to elaborate on why Project Fees are preferred over hourly fees? I do both, but find that many clients change their minds often and expand the project scope, so hourly fees can work best in a consultants favor.

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