Business Coaching and Business Consulting – What’s the Difference and What’s the Outlook?

Business coaching and business consulting are two of my primary services. What’s the difference, you ask? Wikipedia defines as, “Business coaching is the practice of providing support and occasional advice to an individual or group in order to help them recognize ways in which they can improve the effectiveness of their business.” BNET defines Business Consulting as “an expert in a specialized field brought in to provide independent professional advice to an organization on some aspect of its activities”.

It may seem like a small difference, but it is an important one. The critical issue is to identify what your business actually needs.

If you need: ongoing help with reaching max potential, someone to confirm your decisions, cheer you on, a transformational relationship with a mentor…you are looking for business coaching.

If you need: situational help with a specific problem, to call in an “expert” for advice, an analysis and recommended remedy…you are looking for a business consultant.

Yes, those definitions are a bit oversimplified and quite often there will be crossover. I suggest you create specific definitions for your business and its needs ahead of time. In the long run, it will help you make stronger decisions about hiring a contractor for coaching/consulting services.

If you are thinking of opening a consulting business, particularly in Portland, OR, here’s some recent research:

Although economic times are challenging in general, Portland has a positive outlook. Greenlight Greater Portland recently released a report indicating that the metro area would add 100,000 new jobs in 2008 and is predicted to grow economically by 29% or $14 million dollars.

Several growth sectors were also identified: professional, financial and information services, as well as construction and natural resources. It is predicted that Portland’s professional and business services sector will grow 23 percent to more than 170,000 workers by 2013.

In addition, the American Management Association (www.workforce.com) recently released a report with positive findings for job growth in the business consulting/ coaching field.

Among the findings were:

  • Business coaching is more popular than ever, boosted by companies struggling to develop a new generation of leaders to replace retiring baby boomers, and due to a proliferation of business coaches and coaching training programs.
  • Of U.S. companies surveyed, 52 percent said they had business coaching programs in place, and another 37 percent said they would be implementing coaching programs in the future.
  • Companies use coaches to work with executives, high-potential employees, problem managers and expatriates headed to overseas assignments.
  • Companies that use formal metrics to measure performance of coaching programs are most likely to report that those endeavors are successful.

According to both local and national sources, it is a good time to be in coaching/consulting. If you are interested in starting your own business, I recommend sitting down with a consultant and talking to them about what it is like in your neck of the woods..

What is the Secret to Building a $100M Consulting Practice?

Imagine if you were no longer threatened by consulting commoditization and the resulting loss of firm revenues. What if you could leverage technology in a way that would increase your profit margins and open doors of unlimited add-on consulting opportunities?

You are painfully aware that service-capability selling by a consulting organization no longer works. Clients are increasingly seeking productized consulting solutions to common business problems.

Now absorb this information: Gartner reports that the consulting organizations that will ultimately survive in the future will be those that create standard, repeatable consulting services.

What then, is the secret to building a thriving consulting practice in the face of commoditization?

1. Do This to Stand Out in a Commoditized Crowd
Al Ries, author of The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding observed that most professional service firms are good at generating prospects, but not at branding. The key is not what you do (the commodity) but the way you do it (your brand).

Just imagine what would happen if you productized your common business services and then competed on the merits of your brand.

2. Do This to Profit From Commoditization
You probably already know this, but productizing services with pre-defined project plans not only accelerates project completion but also increases firm profit margins.

Think of how many of your current services could be pre-defined and delivered as a solution package. What affect would that have on your profit margins?

3. Do This to Move Beyond Commoditization
Most experts agree that it costs 6-12 times more to acquire a new customer, than it is to expand your offering into existing customers.

Can you imagine the doors of add-on opportunities that will open to you as you successfully deliver a productized commodity service?

Now for the best news of all: productizing your services couldn’t be easier. Software technology exists that allows firms to quickly productize services with project plans, resource plans, billable hours and even client collaboration.

But be sure to select a software partner that provides:

1. ASP software (the last thing you need is technology hassles)

2. Cross-platform software (you need a solution that fits in any environment)

3. Customization (you are the business expert, not them)

4. Commissions (you should be making money with their software)

Learn more about wining the commodity game; get your free copy of the guide “3 Steps to Build a $100M Consulting Firm” at [http://www.attask.com/partner/consult-signup.html]

Frightened of Asbestos? Take the Services of Asbestos Consultants to Hit the Problem

Twenty to thirty years ago the term ‘asbestos’ was not common among the people. They were not aware about the harmful effects of this fibrous material that can cause lung cancer or breathing disorders in the human respiratory system. Asbestos is a toxic mineral that is used in building materials and vehicle brakes to get resistance from the corrosion and heat. Inhaling of this mineral can cause asbestosis disease that can even lead to the death.

Those workers who work in the brake and clutch repairs, or in construction industry are at the higher level of risk for catching such hazardous diseases caused by asbestos. Fibers of asbestos are very small which can’t be seen by the naked eyes. People are required to take safety measures to escape from the harmful health problems.

Earlier, asbestos was considered as an ideal material for constructing the buildings. Most of the buildings that were built in the time period of 1980-1990′s are containing asbestos. So, it is required to remove this harmful product so that you can keep yourself safe and healthy. However it is never suggested to remove the asbestos from your home with your own efforts. The reason behind it is that you can can catch some of the fibers as they are very thin and it will cause serious health disorders in your body.

There are particularly trained consultants for the removal of asbestos from residential or commercial buildings. It is advised to take the help of these asbestos consultants because they give special services and advices for all the problems related to the asbestos removal. Asbestos consultants make you aware and provides the information on identification symptoms, preparing work area for the removal and proper cleaning of this toxic material.

Asbestos consultants also provides the assistance for government laws that are connected with the industries that are using asbestos containing material. Asbestos consultants help you in determining the safe processes to work with asbestos. Asbestos consultants also inform that how much percentage of asbestos is present in your residential or commercial building. They perform a test and check the status of the asbestos, to estimate the extent of health dangers for the people who are living or working in the building.

What is Internet Business Consulting and How Can it Help Your Business?

Websites have long since been regarded as one of the quickest ways to get your company name, service or product “out there.” And the relative ease with which you can set up a payment processor and even a method of shipment for your products, being in business online need not take long or be complicated.

But having a website that does all these things is only the very tip of the iceberg. You still need a source of past, present and future customers. And this is where an Internet business consulting firm can help.

You might be wondering what exactly, Internet business consulting is. Simply put, it is training, either singularly or in groups that specifically focuses on way to increase your visibility and profits online. But how is this accomplished?

An Internet consulting firm will first meet with you to discuss the present state of your online endeavors and what goals you want to achieve as well as timeframes in which to achieve them. Once the company has a clear understanding of where YOUR company wants to be, they will start coming up with a plan to help get you there.

The Internet business consulting firm will take a look at your company site as a whole, including copy, graphics and structure and will make recommendations based on what they find. This can include changes to the presentation of the site as well as to the sales copy. The structure may be changed as well, to permit better usability for customers.

If there is a need for training, the consulting company will also provide that. It may be included in fees you’ve already paid or may be an ongoing weekly or monthly session. Depending on your company’s needs, there may be training in copywriting, graphics for the web, or even training on setting up profitable Google AdWords campaigns.

Another thing that an Internet business consulting firm should be able to do and do well is search engine optimization. This is the key to your company’s success online. Given the proper information, the firm should be able to put together an SEO campaign that will uniquely position your company in the marketplace and give customers solutions to the problems they face. An effective SEO campaign includes elements of psychology, salesmanship and mentoring. In short, the firm you choose should be able to explain your prospects problem, solution and be able to position your company as the expert in the field.

An Internet business consulting firm should be able to handle all aspects of your site as opposed to just sales copy or graphics. What you want to look for is a company that will not only handle these two things but will go deeper to include things like effective paid and free online marketing, how to effectively target the proper market and of course, training when needed. In short, look for a long-term, stable working relationship as this will benefit both your company and the consulting firm for years to come.

5 Steps to Working From Home As a Grant Writing Consultant

All of us at one time or another have experienced the loss of a job, being in transition or just plain don’t like the job we have. It’s a tough situation to be in but it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we can do differently in getting what we want from our next venture.

If you happen to be floating along in one of these less than desirable situations, let me challenge you to do some radical thinking – have you thought about ditching a job search altogether and creating your own job? Self-employment is the hottest trend according to U.S. Labor Statistics and nonprofit grant writing consulting lends itself beautifully to working from home, making money and contributing to society’s improvement.

I started my own grant writing consulting business as a desire and need to be a stay-at-home working mom. There were just a few things that I needed to happen. One, I needed to make money. That was a given. Second, I wanted flexibility to work my job from home. And, three, I still wanted to contribute to the good of society by continuing my work in nonprofit.

In order to be a successful grant writing consultant, I realized quickly that I was going to have to get five tools working for me. These are very important and they’ll work for you too. Think of yourself as the mechanic of your career. And what does every mechanic need? Tools! Get these tools into your toolbox and see the success that follows.

1. Have confidence in stepping outside of your comfort zone. No luck securing the job of your dreams? Try something new and different by working for you. Thousands of others (including yours truly) have taken the leap and never looked back. Everything and everyone has a starting point. If it’s something you’ve been wanting to try, don’t waste any more time. You don’t ever want to look back and say “I wish I would have…”

2. In becoming a grant writing consultant, first learn correct grant writing techniques that will win grants. Well, duh, you might say. All I’m advising is that you pay attention to who you place your trust in in learning the cornerstone of your new business. Remember that guy with the question mark suit that promised a bunch of free money from the government? He’s an example of who to avoid. Also, read and learn everything you can about this skill. There are many reputable folks that you can learn from. And, practice makes perfect like with anything else in life. Remember the first day on your current or last job and everything just seemed so new and strange? You get over that. For those of you with experience in grant writing, yay!, you get to skip this step and move on.

3. Build and sustain meaningful relationships. This holds true for just about everyone you come into contact with in your business. Get to personally know the folks at the offices of the grant funders that you’re making application to. Like you, they put their pants on one leg at the time and they’re there to help. Take an interest also in really getting to know the nonprofits you serve. Don’t just tell them what you can do for them – actively engage yourself in finding out what matters most to them. Not only is this a polite way to do business – it consistently attracts clients that pay you.

4. Effectively market yourself to attract clients. There are two ways to market yourself as a grant writing consultant – locally and virtually. And, no, you don’t have to be an aggressive marketer to attract potential customers. As a matter of fact, my personality just lends itself to a more soft-sale approach. I advise my clients to hang out where the business is. In this case, it will be where nonprofits gather. If you’re interested in working locally, check out your local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals ( http://www.afpnet.org ) and attend some meetings. All potential clients! Marketing virtually, of course, means establishing a website and connecting via social media for more clients. There are nonprofit groups on LinkedIn to engage in discussion and Twitter and Facebook are also good starting places.

5. Become known as the go-to person. You want to become known as the balm that will soothe your client’s pain. In time, you’ll learn to use speaking and other communication means to your advantage to establish this reputation and become a respected fixture in the grant writing world.

So, there you have it. If you’d like to learn more about the first steps in beginning your own career, be sure to visit my website and download a FREE copy of “You Can Become a Grant Writing Consultant.” You might also be interested in my step-by-step instructional program GRANTcoach – taking you from a grant writing novice into a successful consultant.

Here’s to Your Success!

Fabulous Ways to Decorate Your Home with Cushions

The right combination of colours can bring a room to life. There are many different ways you can use handcrafted cushions in your home’s decorating scheme.

Couches,Guest Posting chairs and bedding are three of the most common household items that people decorate with handmade items in Sri Lanka such as cushions.

Cushions can be used as a tool for defining your space. People use them to create partitions, or even to separate spaces from each other entirely. For example, if you have an open floor plan and want people in one area of the room not to disturb those in another part of the home, it’s easy to do with cushions. Other examples include:

Using backless couches against a wall so that they close off that section of the space. If you have just enough room between two walls where there is no furniture placed yet, place pillows on either side to make this happen without adding bulky pieces which will take up too much valuable real estate within your living area. This also provides extra seating wherever needed.
Adding cushions around your living room can also add a lovely splash of colour that will instantly change the appearance of your space and give the room a nice bright and airy feel to it.
If you have a lack of colour in your living room, simply add a few decorative cushions to bring colour and change the mood without taking up any extra floor area or adding bulky furniture pieces that can obstruct walking paths.
In smaller spaces, it’s important to make sure that all areas are functional as well as stylish so consider using pillows around your living room as much as possible.

Online home décor items such as cushions can serve as additional seating when needed but also provide pops of colour which will keep things from looking too drab and boring over time. If you want an even simpler option for changes within small rooms, try placing colourful throw blankets on top of existing accent chairs or couches.

The Benefits of Using Natural Beauty Products

It has been said that what you put into your body is just as important as what you put on it. That’s why many people are turning to natural beauty products in order to improve their health and well-being.

Natural beauty products use ingredients that are extracted from plants,Guest Posting fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and vegetables instead of harsh chemicals like hydroquinone or sodium lauryl sulphate. These types of plant-based ingredients not only moisturize skin but also provide nutrients for the skin cells. They also don’t contain carcinogens which can lead to cancer. When it comes to beauty products there are many handmade items in Sri Lanka, which are available at different stores.

People choose to use these types of beauty products for a variety of reasons, but the most popular reason is because they do not contain harmful chemicals that can damage skin cells. Natural beauty products also provide nutrients for skin cells while moisturizing them at the same time. These benefits are typically offered by plant-based extracts such as argan oil, green tea extract and vitamin E which can be found in many different brands’ makeup line-ups these days.

Beauty products that use natural ingredients include such things as scrubs, cleansers, moisturizers, toners and other skin care products. Natural beauty products are often made with organic ingredients which means that their contents do not contain genetically modified organisms or any man-made chemicals whatsoever. They tend to be chemical free as well meaning that they don’t use dyes in the formulation process. What’s more is that natural beauty products typically come from small businesses who craft them by using hand-made sustainable processes. These brands seek out fair trade materials wherever possible so you can feel good about supporting a business choosing eco-friendly options for creating their product line-ups.

All of this information explains why it’s important for everyone to try switching over to natural beauty items instead of continuing to purchase commercialized products made using chemicals which are bad for your skin and hair.

Explore Batik and Tie Dye: The Art of Fabric Dyeing

Batik and tie dye are two types of fabric dying that have been around for centuries. Batik is a technique that originated in Indonesia, while tie-dye began in the United States.

Both techniques involve using natural dyes to colour fabrics with patterns or pictures. Batik products are intricate because they use wax instead of liquid dye to create elaborate designs on the fabric by blocking out areas where the wax does not penetrate,Guest Posting whereas all areas of fabric can be dyed when making tie-dye items. You can find beautiful and very creative ladies clothing online such as batik sarees in Sri Lanka.

Batik and tie-dye clothing are totally hand-crafted artisan clothing designs, and have great appeal because of their unique and intricate designs. They are usually made by small business owners from rural areas, especially women who are empowered by these handcrafting skills. Batik items are made by painting on fabric with wax and dye, but tie-dye is more about using natural materials such as leaves, flowers etc to get the patterned effect for which it has become so well known.

The appeal of both processes lies in their unique textures and intricate patterns resulting from handcrafting methods used to make them. Tie-dye products were first produced nearly 70 years ago when a chemist invented a way to apply colours without bleach or harsh chemicals that would fade after washing. This led to people doing all sorts of experiments with different fabrics and dyes until they found out how best to produce each kind of design on clothing like t-shirts, scarves, dresses, skirts, kaftans, sarees and so much more.

There are many stores and eCommerce sites that sell these beautiful clothing, and when you buy from them, remember that you are also helping to uplift the lives of someone else or even an entire community, and are providing sustainable employment and income-earning methods to many people.

How to Make Your E-commerce Business Eco Friendly

As an entrepreneur, you may think that making your business eco-friendly is not a big deal, but it should be.

Environmental responsibility has never been more important than in today’s world. There are so many ways to make your small e-commerce business eco-friendly,Guest Posting so let’s go through some of the best methods for doing so.

Many home-based or small businesses such as those that sell sarees online in Sri Lanka or even stationery online in Sri Lanka, are into e-commerce these days, but it is important to make it more eco-friendly in order to reduce your carbon footprint and to ensure that the environment is safe.

The main way of making your small online shop more eco-friendly would be by using renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines on top of your roof, in terms of your manufacturing plant or office area. This will make sure that all the power used during production runs comes from clean water and air resources instead coal plants.

Other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint is by:

Using eco-friendly packaging materials when you send your products out.
Recycling all the waste materials that you produce (e.g. paper, plastic etc.).
Using recycled or recyclable products like glass and metal instead of wood and plastic in your business processes.
Only printing what is absolutely necessary during production runs since printers tend to be one of the biggest electricity users for a home-based ecommerce business owner. You can also email any invoices and receipts to customers rather than sending them printed versions of it to reduce usage of paper.
Finally buying only those items which are made by companies who use sustainable practices such as fair-trade goods, organic cotton clothes, handmade items etc so that you are also buying eco-friendly products.

It is very important that your small or even larger e-commerce store has as less environmental impacts from its operations as possible because if we continue doing what we’re doing right now, our planet is doomed. So why wouldn’t you want to make sure it stays green?

How to Clean Glasses Properly, and What Not to Do

It’s important to keep your eye glasses clean because it helps you see better. You will be able to work more efficiently, and have a clearer view of the world.

There are some things that should not be done when cleaning eyeglasses,Guest Posting such as using window cleaner or dish soap. We recommend using water and a microfiber cloth instead. When getting spectacles online in Sri Lanka or even spectacle frames in Sri Lanka, you should know how to take good care of them so that you can use them for a long time.

The first thing you should do when cleaning glasses is to remove the lenses. Next, make sure your hands are dry and free of dirt or oil. You can spray a lens cleaner onto the cloth before beginning to clean, this will cut through any grease that may be present on your glasses. Use small circular motions with soft pressure for best results. This process ensures no scratches occur on the glass surface as it cleans. Avoid spraying water directly into or around hinges and joints, since these areas tend to trap grime more easily than others. Once both lenses have been cleaned thoroughly, reattach them back in place by lining up notches and pushing down until an audible click lets you know they’re locked securely again (this step might take some practice but it will only take a few times before you’re able to replace lenses like an expert).

Make sure that both the front and back of your eyeglasses are free from dust, dirt, or grime. Wet a clean cloth with lukewarm water and wring it out thoroughly so that only a small amount is left on the surface of the cloth. Clean one side of each lens at a time using slow circular motions with soft pressure before switching sides.

Things that you should not do while cleaning eye glasses are:

Do not use paper towels or toilet tissue. These papers are made of wood pulp, which scratches lenses easily when they are wet and in the presence of dirt.
Do not clean eyeglasses with acetone because it can damage hard coatings on your lenses that repel dirt.
Never wipe glasses dry unless you have used a microfiber cloth to do so.
Never use your shirt sleeve to wipe eye glasses. Your shirt sleeves contain dust particles, dead skin cells, hair follicles, body oils from perspiration, as well as other types of contaminants which can scratch lenses.