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  • Zachary Collier

5 Things I Have Learned from Running a Successful Consulting Company

Here are some lessons that I have learned since starting my consulting company.

1. Networking is super important. It almost seems like a cliché to talk about the importance of networking. Basically every article offering career advice ever written stresses how critical it is to cultivate good networking skills. Accordingly, I can’t offer any new insights in this domain. The best I can do is to reinforce the idea that, yes, networking is actually very important! In business, building relationships is the name of the game. Moreover, you never know when various relationships will prove beneficial. I have connections in various business sectors, as well as those in academia and government. I even connect with college students when I meet them at conferences, because you never know where they will end up once they start their careers. Bottom line: the more relationships, the better.

2. Keep following up with people. This is related to the previous point. What is the point of having a network if you never interact with the people in it? Staying in the forefront of peoples’ minds is important so that when they need your help, they think of you first. Of course, don’t follow up so often that it is annoying!

3. Be open to creative opportunities. I have worked with clients at large companies as well as tiny companies. I have done consulting work across a number of disciplines and industry sectors as well. There are a lot of companies out there that need consulting support, as well as organizations like local governments, universities, industry groups, etc. There is great demand for consulting services, you just need to be willing to look in unlikely places.

4. Manage the ebbs and flows. Another thing that just about every article on consulting mentions is that work comes in waves. Sometimes you are super busy, and sometimes there just isn’t anything to do. This is the nature of the business, and you just have to go along for the ride.

5. Demonstrate “thought leadership”. Honestly, I don’t even like the term “thought leadership”. Other people besides self-proclaimed thought leaders have plenty of good thoughts too. There are lots of good thoughts to go around. Maybe it is more like everyone is contributing to the “thought economy”. In any event, I have learned that it is important to write about the areas in which I have expertise. This is related to the second point – when people think of a specific area of specialization, they should think of you. In my case, my goal is that when people think about risk and decision analytics, they think about me. Of course I am not always the best at keeping up with writing these articles, but I’m trying!

At Collier Research Systems, we specialize in decision making. Whether it involves a single individual or a group of individuals, we can develop tools and processes to help you make good decisions. Visit www.collierresearchsystems.comto learn more.

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