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What I've Learned in Business So Far...

post #1 of 310
Thread Starter 
Well I thought I thought I might press my luck and share some accumulated wisdom with some friends here since some seemed to like the consulting discussion.

Each day or so I will try to share some wisdom from my nearly 30 years working with businesses as a banker, CRO, risk consultant, and marketing consultant.

My hope is that this information might prove valuable to those of you working with Fortune 2000 companies.

Remember that this advice is free and that sometimes you get what you pay for.

Alrighty then. Let's get started.

Some great books in business:

Blue Ocean Strategy - Great way of thinking about business growth.

Made To Stick - Best book on business communication ever.

The McKinsey Way - An introduction to effective consulting.
post #2 of 310
Thread Starter 
Looking for Great Jobs 1. Fans (people who will recommend you highly) beat grades and firm prestige all day long. 2. LinkedIn Profiles smoke resumes in the race of candidate attention. 3. Intellectual Engagement is the best way I know to get a great job. By this I mean the common sharing of cool and well thought out ideas. 4. (Related to #2) A Personal Network is one of the most valuable things I know of. Taking the time to cultivate and keep in touch with that network pays huge dividends.
post #3 of 310
This thread could quickly become a useful blog. Salutes and Thanks AF.
post #4 of 310
Thread Starter 
Some thoughts on selling solutions with PowerPoint: 1. Simpler is better. 2. Tell a story by describing your clients pain, what the solution is, exactly what you are going to do and why they should hire you to do it. 3. Pictures and charts are worth a thousand words. 4. Any PPT slideshow in excess of 28 slides is a form of torture. 5. Include a "tagline" at the top of each page that summarizes briefly the key point(s) on that page. 6. Anything below 14 point font size is unreadable. 7. Use high contrast lettering because often the client's projector will have out of spec colors. 8. Try to keep "key components" to less than 3 in total count. It makes things easier to remember. 9. If presenting with a group of people from different areas of the company, build a unifying framework to tie everything together in a cohesive way. This is often easier said than done but done well looks like true "thought leadership" and clients LOVE that. 10. Tie everything you are proposing to a client's pain points AND their own business metrics.
post #5 of 310
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhood View Post
This thread could quickly become a useful blog.

Salutes and Thanks AF.

You are most welcome. Thanks.
post #6 of 310
+1 on great thread. subscribed.
post #7 of 310
Thread Starter 
This will not be as valuable to some here but wanted to put some spin on the usual excellent fashion advice here. Thoughts on a business wardrobe for client business meetings: In today's business world, nothing is so versatile as a good "power suit" and a quality but serious sportcoat. Belive it or not but often my Kiton suits stay at home and my sport coats go on the road with a quality pair of slacks. I meet with many senior leaders now and things are just not that formal any more, except for law firms and investment banks. Good and comfortable leather shoes are essential for meetings. Riva cotton or other thin high quality shirts are essential for travels to warmer weather. Travel with 1-2 spare shirts. Buy a good versatile all weather jacket like the Loro Piana Horsey Jacket. Good for rain, snow, and cold evenings. Avoid travel, if at all possible, to Chicago and Minnesota in Jan or Feb. Be wary of Delta's multiple course Business Elite meals. Before you know it you are a size 36 waist. Consider a Marriott rewards card - great hotels, reasonable in price, and the points accumulate. Need a luxury hotel? Kimpton is awesome. Wear driving loafers on the plane - easy to take off, comfortable, stylish. Change into better leather soles when you get there. Invest in either a good pair of IEMs or headphones and an iPod. Helps beat the travel blues with so many flight delays these days. Pack like a road warrior - a list of essential items, an extra change of clothes, but no more than you need. Store a good book and movie on your laptop in case you need to kill time beyond what the iPod can do for you. A "rollerboard" suitcase is not sexy. It is, however, the most functional luggage I know of. Ballistic nylon is also not sexy. It is the most durable thing I own. If you are well dressed, people will ignore the rollerboard and lack of leather briefcase.
post #8 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhood View Post
This thread could quickly become a useful blog. Salutes and Thanks AF.
Yup, just like his consulting thread. Thanks AF for the suggestions - I was gonna ask you for travel tips when we grab lunch, but this thread works too.
post #9 of 310
Thread Starter 
More thoughts on travel... If you have a business meeting in another city, arrive the day before. Travel the day of, while it may impress your firm's CFO, is fraught with risks, danger, and extreme fatigue. Use the subway when in NYC and London. Cheaper but more importantly often faster. Allow more time than you think since there may be lines at the token machines. Resist the temptation to meet friends the day before a meeting. Late drinking takes an increasing toll as one ages. It takes a toll on mental sharpness no matter how young you are. Spend lots of time thinking about the client meeting especially this: Who will be at the meeting and will all the "stakeholders" I need for approval be in the audience? Often a key person will send their whole team. It can be better to reschedule and get the key person. The theory is that their team can relay the information back to the senior manager. The practice is somewhat different. Keep asking yourself if you got the client's "pain points" correct and if your solution answers their pain. If this isn't right then the meeting is not going to be worth your time. Better yet, ask the client in advance of the meeting is you got their pain points correct. That is the best insurance.
post #10 of 310
Thread Starter 
Research any internal or external meetings by using LinkedIn or Google or both. The more you know, the less you need. The more you know about a person and their business and their personal interests, the more engaging and prepared you are. If there is one thing people value more than money or love, it is time. Show people you care about their time and you will gain friends. If you bring value to someone you may gain an internal "champion" who can cheerlead your idea or business plan. A wise and super successful salesperson once told me that he likes to bring 1-2 "gifts" to each and every meeting. A "gift" can be an idea or something of direct value like insight into their business for a client. This is extremely effective in my experience.
post #11 of 310
I would add...

Get in the habit of traveling with simple workout clothes and sneakers. There are few better ways to adjust to the time, changing sleep patterns and the stress of travel than with a workout.
post #12 of 310
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy View Post
I would add... Get in the habit of traveling with simple workout clothes and sneakers. There are few better ways to adjust to the time, changing sleep patterns and the stress of travel than with a workout.
Yes, good one Gus. AF approved addition.
post #13 of 310
Thread Starter 
Those Euros you got in Paris will be worth almost nothing in London. Sterling still rules. That Eurostar train that goes between Paris Nord and London? Fantastic. Visiting Paris or London or Milan or any other major city? Nothing beats a local to help you find the genuine best places and meal values.
post #14 of 310
Awesome thread thanx AF!
post #15 of 310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan View Post
Those Euros you got in Paris will be worth almost nothing in London. Sterling still rules.

That Eurostar train that goes between Paris Nord and London? Fantastic.

Visiting Paris or London or Milan or any other major city? Nothing beats a local to help you find the genuine best places and meal values.

Do you have more tips on traveling within a city? I received a lot of tips on credit cards, airline programs, etc. to use from friends and folks at the company, but not much on local travel...even from home to the airport in Atlanta. By default I'd just get a Breeze/BART/MTA/yada yada cards when I go into a city.

I tend to save the reloadable ones from cities I've been to, but many have crappy subways that aren't too useful...so do you have any additional suggestions on rental vs. cabs etc.?
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