How A Survey Consultant Can Help You Ask the Right Questions

Instead of hiring a professional survey consultant, many business owners or corporate managers attempt to design their own online omnibus surveys and execute and analyze the data themselves. But the most successful people in the world got that way by surrounding themselves with experts. That is especially true when it comes to taking advantage of knowledgeable market survey companies and the expertise of a trained survey consultant.

Use the right survey consultant and your surveys will pay for themselves many times over. But try managing an online omnibus survey with a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach and you’ll risk losing money, credibility, and customers. It happens all the time, thanks to poorly designed questionnaires, inappropriate sample frames, and questions that confuse data and contribute to misleading outcomes.

Any top notch omnibus survey company, for instance, will know how to ensure than the sample or surveyed audience is large enough – and sufficiently well-stratified – to get the insights you seek.
Meanwhile their survey consultants will create questions that yield more candid and factual responses by being easy to comprehend yet psychologically sensitive to the concerns of consumers being surveyed.
When surveys don’t flow well or when they delve into sensitive issues, people may fill them out with information that is inaccurate. Instead of responding to the question the way it was intended, they instead answer in a way that they think is socially acceptable, will make them appear more intelligent, or will preserve their privacy and anonymity.
Fail to understand these dynamics and it can not only mislead, but it can cause you to launch an expensive ad campaign or product line that misses the target entirely.
But the skillful survey consultant will design a survey that allows respondents to answer clearly and truthfully, will embed quality controls to ensure the integrity of the output, and will set timelines and reporting benchmarks to ensure the data is fresh when it is time to use it to make those all-important decisions.
A professional survey consultant can also do fast, flexible analysis. Many times the results of an online omnibus survey will need to be interpreted clearly in very short order. Providing quick, accurate analysis of omnibus survey results is often one of the most valuable aspects of the survey consultant’s service.
The survey consultant can also monitor response rates and adjust the sample to keep up with slower completion rates, for instance, or augment sample to allow for deeper analysis of interviews from key groups of respondents whose data would otherwise be obscured by statistical white noise.
In today’s world of sophisticated online omnibus survey tools and survey company technologies the power of world-class market survey companies cannot be overestimated. Let them conduct your next survey – and ask the right kinds of questions – to really uncover answers that illuminate your vision. Don’t rely on guesswork, but engage the services of online survey companies and a professional survey consultant.

10 Reasons Why You Really Do Not Need to Employ an HR Consultant

If you own or manage a small or medium-sized business you no doubt feel that your knowledge of HR issues such as employment law, equality and diversity, HR policies, employment contracts etc. is very limited. This probably causes you a high level of anxiety in case you get something wrong which might have a major impact on your business.

This feeling is no doubt heightened by HR professionals who we hear regularly in the media expounding on the costs associated with such things as Employment Tribunals, and how easy they are to lose. There are also innumerable HR Consultancies on the internet all offering to provide services for you to ensure you are “fully legally compliant”, and also to “add value” by providing services that you never even knew you needed like the latest HR software, or an “HR Audit” of your company.

As an HR practitioner of over 20 years standing, and as one who currently works as an HR Consultant, let me tell you a secret. If you run your small / medium sized business reasonably well and you have no major staffing issues, then you do not need to employ an HR Consultant (usually starting around 500 per day), you do not need to “subscribe” to an expensive HR website, indeed you don’t really need to spend any significant amount of money at all on HR services! Here are the 10 reasons why:

If you are competent enough to manage your business with all the complexities that entails, there is no reason why YOU can’t easily ensure you have a proper HR framework in place to support your staffing issues. You really don’t need an HR Consultant who is external to your organisation to tell you how to manage your staff.
The risks of getting things wrong are massively over-hyped. HR Consultants and Employment Lawyers will fill you full of horror tales about the costs of losing an unfair dismissal claim at Employment Tribunal. The simple facts are that if you act reasonably as an employer, you are likely to spend far more on HR Consultants and lawyers trying to defend an Employment Tribunal claim than you would lose if the findings went against you! Employment Tribunals are really quite rare in the scheme of things, and if you do have a claim made against you by an employee, then if you have acted reasonably in your dealings with them you should have no fears in defending the ET yourself.
HR Consultants are geared towards maximising their income rather than helping your business. This means that they will do their best to persuade you that you need to implement those products they support. A good example is HR software. Do you really need a bespoke HR System to record your employee details? An Excel spreadsheet or Access database knocked up in an afternoon might do just as well. If you do want an HR system you should shop around, there are a number of fairly cheap stand-alone systems out there which you could easily implement yourself.
You do need to have proper HR policies in place to regulate how you employ your staff. However these days there is so much information on the internet you can easily find the information you need on there. If you get your information there, then there is no need to employ an HR Consultant to come in to your organisation and tell you the same things!
There are some basic HR policies and procedures that you really need to have in place. These are in my view: Discipline, Grievance, Equality, Harassment / Bullying and Health & Safety. You may also want to add Induction and Training, and you will need some guidance on Maternity / Paternity leave and pay, and probably on Flexible Working. If you have a problem with sickness, then you should implement an Absence Management policy to address this. To be honest the easiest way to address all this is to produce a Staff Handbook which outlines all these policies and any other issues which you think are relevant for your particular circumstances. Our website has templates of most of the policies you will need – you can download and adapt these. We also have a full Policy Manual, and a template Staff Handbook. If what you need is not here, then you can easily Google it and you are likely to find something on the internet, or you can ask us if we have it. We do have lots of stuff which we have not yet put onto out web site. You really don’t need an HR Consultant to develop something bespoke for your organisation when so many resources already exist and can be adapted.
The internet is a fantastic free resource for small / medium-sized businesses. From an HR perspective you can access all the information you could possibly need to ensure you have the necessary framework in place to support your staff. The UK Governments Business Links site is a great resource for employers. If you need Health & Safety information go to the UK Health & Safety Executive site.
When recruiting, which you may not do very often, you may feel you need professional guidance. This is not necessary. Just be sure that the advert you produce for your vacancies is not in any way biased towards or against one or more type of person. It is often a good idea to let a colleague have a look at it just to double check you have not unconsciously missed something. At interview construct a list of questions based on the skills needed for the job, basically asking for examples of what the individual has achieved in that regard in previous jobs. Ask every applicant the same questions. Interview with a colleague and guard each other against any bias or discrimination creeping into your questioning. Make careful notes of the answers and how you have concluded who is the best candidate.
When dealing with staffing issues, if you have a problem with a staff member, you should manage the situation as you would with any other business problem. That is make sure you gather all the information you need, review the situation and then take appropriate action. If this relates to disciplining a member of staff, just make sure you investigate properly and then apply your agreed disciplinary procedure. Just be sure you have good notes on everything you do.
If you are faced with a staffing situation which is new to you and you are not sure how to act, you should flex your network of colleagues to see if anyone you know has experience of a similar situation. You can also look on the web to see if you can get guidance there.
Don’t worry about being caught out by changes to employment law. To be honest these are so well trailed if you simply keep an eye on the press or in the UK the Business Links site noted above, or our site you will be certain to know what changes are coming and how they will affect you. It really is as simple as that.
In conclusion, if you are careful about any staffing issues and you ensure you implement a decent framework of up-to-date HR policies and procedures which meet your employment law obligations, then you should have no anxieties about getting things wrong and feel no necessity to seek expensive HR Consultant help.

Pay Per Click Consultant – Wealthy Affiliate University

For anyone that is working on the internet the idea of having a private coach and consultant sounds like heaven. Just imagine having your very own pay per click consultant that can train you in the ways of marketing on the internet with this very productive way to make money. This is one of the hardest ways to do business on the web but you can make a lot of money and if you have a consultant that can teach you the ways of the wise, you can be very productive.

1. Constant Changes.

The internet changes constantly each and every day so it is important to know how to keep up to date with the new rules of the game. Having the Wealthy Affiliate as your pay per click consultant you are going to know how to keep up with the race of the web. If you have the right approach you are going to be able to create a campaign that will not dry out your resources and leave you with no money. This consultant can keep your bank account in the black instead of the red.

2. Learning The Right Things.

There are things that your pay per click consultant is going to show you so that you can avoid pitfalls. Some of the things that you need to learn are getting started with a plan of action for your PPC campaign, having a website that will actually convert for you, know how to market Yahoo and even Bing. All of this is very important from your consultant so that you can build a proper site that will be productive.

3. Getting All The Info.

You want to know that your pay per click consultant is going to give you all the information that you need in order to have a constructive and productive site. It is possible for you to start making upwards of $100 or more a day within just a few short months with the proper guidance. As you can see, a pay per click consultant can be very beneficial.

The Benefits of Hiring a Business Financial Consultant

It’s no secret that starting your own business requires a lot of hard work and research. Besides those things, you also need seed money in order to get your business up and running and that often means applying for a loan at a bank.

Getting a business loan is just like getting a loan for anything else, for the most part, but banks often require a little more information than is typical of other types of loans before they’ll hand over the funds that you can use as seed money to start your own business.

That’s where a business financial consultant can help.

Having a business plan in place is one of the most important things that any aspiring business owner should do. Beyond being an outline of what your business is about and how you plan to succeed, your business plan should also include a plan for how the various financial aspects of your business are going to be dealt with.

Hiring a consultant can help you to successfully navigate what is, at times, a very confusing maze of laws and rules that govern business finance. Not only can you make sure that any money that you put into your business is appropriated to the right aspects of the business but, with a consultant, you’ll also strengthen your business plan so that the banks will extend a line of credit to you.

Business financial consultants typically know exactly what it is that banks look for in the people that they’ll potentially extend loans to. It’s important to remember that starting a business isn’t just particularly risky for you; it can be a risk for the bank as well.

Banks want to make sure that they’ll get a return on their investment into the business that you’re starting. In order to guarantee them that their money won’t just disappear, you need to have a business financial consultant’s expert grasp on many of the different aspects of business finance and have everything thoroughly outlined in order to secure business funding.

Aspects of a Business Plan

Some of the aspects that you need to be familiar with in your business plan include how the funding you’re trying to secure is going to be spent on things related to the business like supplies, office space, personnel, marketing and promotion.

Beyond these things, a business financial consultant will use various CFO services to help you develop an idea for things like anticipated cash flow and escalating costs as they relate to the growth of the business. Having a plan to start a business is important, but having the foresight to predict how things are going to develop once the business is operational is equally important.

With the economic times being as trying as they are everyone is tightening their belts and banks are looking at who they give money to with more scrutiny than they had in the past.

Succeeding as an Owner

If you want to succeed as the owner of a brand new business then you have to make sure that every single aspect of your business related finances are in order before you go to the bank or any institution of lending with the expectation that you’ll be given the money needed to get started.

A business financial consultant and the CFO services that he or she can provide are pretty much necessities for new business owners, but any business can benefit from working with such a person. After all, you’ve already got plans to start your business and it’s a given that you’ll want to stay in business.

What Exactly Is A Business Plans Consultant Service

The perfect business plans consultant is actually a qualified professional advisor who has a vast array of experience in running enterprises together with composing business plans. A specialist could have worked in a workplace that they needed to check plans for banking institutions or small business support services.

They will have had knowledge of operating their own individual organization and might have actually run or managed all sorts of companies previous to becoming a consultant.

What can the consultant provide for your business?

These type of consultants can give qualified help and advice, should you be writing your own strategic plan and need help in any element you can employ a specialist consultant to help you. This could occur by face to face meetings, on the phone or even over the web by live chat.

Your consultant is also able to prepare a professional business plan for your enterprise. They might discuss with you with regards to your company and really learn every aspect concerning what precisely you plan to do and the way in which you are likely to do it.

They are able to finally take this material and prepare a bespoke plan customised for your individual company on your behalf. By taking over the writing of your plan they can save you time and money and let you get on with the more practical things.

For those who only need help with one particular component in the plan for instance — the financial records part they may produce this part to help you and allow you to wrap up every other part of the plan.

Ten Personal Development Strategies For Independent Consultants

Consulting is by definition is giving advice or providing counsel. In fact, being called a consultant or an advisor should be equally acceptable. The work itself is fundamentally identifying your clients’ need, defining the problem(s) that need to be solved, getting the client’s agreement on an approach for solving the problem, and working with the client to solve the problem.

Being a consultant, however, is a competitive occupation. And, those who fail to update their practice and evaluate, maintain, and grow their market position will not succeed. Moreover, the consultant has to be concerned about personal growth. In addition to maintaining good general health and keeping your life in balance, you as a consultant must work hard on your development and should therefore do the following ten things:

1. Read widely and diversely in professional journals and periodicals.
2. Take continuing education and advance degrees either by home study or by attending a college.
3. Be open to new ideas and varied points of view.
4. Learn from your mistakes and then dismiss them.
5. Look to learn from every encounter or event.
6. Join professional organizations, attend meetings, and contribute.
7. Challenge accepted beliefs.
8. Seek out interesting and informative people.
9. Continue to improve your communication skills.
10. End your day at a reasonable hour, relax, enjoy some good conversation, watch sports, do some light reading, meditate, or whatever you need to do to unwind.

And, most of all be kind to yourself, watch for signs of burnout, low energy, and negative thinking. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate success, change, and small victories.

Clients on Tap For Internet Marketing Consulting

How many small businesses can you think of that would benefit by having an online presence? The butcher, baker, candlestick maker? Your dentist, lawyer, beautician or printer? They all do, and because they are rarely skilled in internet marketing, they are the hungry clients for an internet marketing consulting business.

Yellow Pages Have Other Uses

People are no longer consulting the Yellow Pages to find the goods and services they need. They are searching online, and they are using their copy of the Yellow Pages to, among other things, raise the height of their computer monitors!

Offline businesses recognize that having their own websites is a much cheaper alternative than having any type of print advertising, and more versatile than being just ‘one of many’ in online directories.

How Big Is The Market?

Just a few months ago, the figures were staggering – and every single day they grow. To illustrate, there were 24.7 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, 4.3 million in the United Kingdom and 1.2 million in Australia. While they will not all be looking to set up a search engine optimized website (though they should!), many of them are.

This is an indication of the size of the potential market for an Internet Marketing Consulting business – and there are not many in the game, yet.

What Service Needs To Be Provided?

That’s the great thing about a consultancy – you can decide what services you wish to provide. If you have skills in a certain area, e.g. graphic design or content writing, you can do this alone, or you can offer a complete service, and outsource whatever components you choose.

Is It Easy To Get Started?

With the right guidance, you can start earning money right away, but don’t be mistaken – it is not money for jam, you do have to work at it. But you work the hours you want, and you work for whomever you choose.

As well, you need self-discipline to be self-employed. You need to be able to set targets for yourself and stick with them. For some people, not having a boss to tell them what to do and when to do it, is almost impossible to get used to.

Are There Any Courses Available?

Because internet marketing consultancy is a relatively new field, there are no courses available in formal institutions. The best way to learn is from someone with proven results already – if they are willing to share their secrets. They are around though, so look for someone with proven credentials (not just a fancy sales pitch!), Google their name to make sure they are legit, and if they check out, then get on board without delay.

Process Consulting – Understanding Consulting

Process consulting is one of the most invaluable but underused services in the field of business as more and more organizations feel that they don’t need a third party to solve their internal problems. This type of consulting is designed to enhanced group effectiveness, address conflict, and shorten meeting times. It aims to help teams to work together effectively so they can easily reach their pre-set goals.

Process consulting, when done correctly, can offer the following benefits to clients; better decisions, more productive but shorter meetings, increased participation or potency, and most importantly, greater satisfaction.

A process consultant does not intervene in a group in accomplishing its goals — that is not part of his job. He is usually called in to help groups in solving their problems with their members and concentrate on how the team works. He will come into play when there is conflict within the group that they cannot solve by themselves. An effective process consultant deeply understands conflict resolution, leadership development, and group dynamics. A process consultant is most useful during the stages of group development or when the group is either on its normative or formative stage.

When a group finds itself in conflict over values, facts, goals, and methods, the process consultant will help the group to reach a consensus over a particular conflict. This is to avoid unnecessary confrontation that can affect all the people involved.

A consultant usually does not participate in a group meeting instead, he acts as an observer. He observes group dynamics to easily figure out the various interpersonal relationships that can lead to conflict later on. He will be allowed to participate when the group is starting to take so much time and having a hard time reaching a decision. He will ask clarifying questions and eventually, offer his feedback and observations to the group.

If you want to sink your teeth into this endeavor, these are some requirements that you need to meet. For starter, you need to have a background in small group learning and a degree in psychology. Possessing analytic skills and experience in reading body language are also helpful. It will also work to your advantage if you have relevant trainings and relevant experiences.

Although this service industry is usually being ignored by business owners, you can still succeed in this endeavor if you know how to convince those few individuals who need such services to hire you.

Get The Best Out of Your Small Business By Seeking The Right Help From Business Consulting Companies

Putting up a small business is always hard at the start. The first step you have to do is register your new company. This process can be stressful and time consuming, especially since it can take months. If you are just starting out but are unsure on how to proceed, worry no more. There are business consulting firms out there willing to help you get a good start.

These firms can help you in every step of the way. You can place your trust them in planning your company structure, developing your sales strategies and establishing your brand identity. All you have to do is articulate your mission and vision for your small business and they will be more than happy to give you what you need. If you want to avoid the hassle of having to line up and register, these firms can do the work for you. This will allows you to focus on the more important matters that need to be attended to.

Talking with a small business consultant will open your eyes to things you need to know about your venture. If you want to have the best run company, get someone who is experienced in all matters of business. You must remember that you are a newbie in all of this. To avoid making mistakes from the start, ask about ideas and concepts that you don’t fully understand. These people will be more than willing to walk you through everything until you can manage on your own.

Business consulting firms are a big help in creating the image you want for your company. They can help you clearly define the message you want to instill in your customers.

These firms can give you a variety of choices. The tools that you will need to implement come in many formats and designs. There is no need to start from scratch since most paperwork and programs come in templates. If you want to set up a website, there are also templates that are easy to customize. In addition, with business templates, writing official documents becomes very easy to do.

For business processes such as employee data managers and issue trackers, business consulting firms are also knowledgeable about these things. You can save yourself from having to worry about everything that goes on in your company. All these services are just a click away since they are available online.

A small business consultant can make the right choices without having to second guess what you want. This is what makes it different from merely consulting with your employees. While an employee may know the company well, it would take an outsider looking in to see what works and what doesn’t. The consultant, more than anyone, has your company’s best interests at heart. At the same time, he or she will know how to equip you with the right tools and strategies to run your business successfully.

Boost your business’ potential by consulting with experienced industry specialists. With their help, you can build your company to the kind of business you want it to be.

How to Command Top-Dollar in Consulting

A frequent frustration for many consultants is trying to attract clients who are prepared to pay a premium for their advice. Many consultants are convinced that in the real world; that type of client doesn’t exist. Rather, their experience has been that they often, inadvertently, slip into doing a lot of unpaid consulting or chase after new business by offering deep discounts, hoping that they will get at least a foot in the door. Here are some techniques that will stop those terrible practices from ruining your consulting career.

The first important thing for the consultant to understand in generating new business is that the consultant is in “sales.” Many consultants, especially with academic or highly technical backgrounds, disdain the thought that they are in the sales game. They have a stereotypical image of a salesperson being a fast talking manipulator of the truth; willing to say or do anything to land the next commission, at the expense of the victim (customer).

The art of selling is really the art of persuading others to your point of view. It is a leadership and communication skill that we all engage in on a daily basis as we negotiate our problems with others; whether it is persuading a vendor to correct a billing error, or asking the boss for a raise. Everyone engages in the art of persuasion (sales, for short).

Unfortunately for most consultants, the stereotypical image of a salesperson permeates the marketplace which results in a predetermined pattern of moves by both the prospective buyer and the selling consultant, known as the buyer-seller dance. You must recognize that when you are engaged in a buyer-seller dance with your prospect, that you must immediately break the dance pattern-if you want to command the respect and high fees that are due to you from your new client.

The buyer-seller dance begins when the buyer/prospect is in control of the sales process. It is vitally important for you to understand that until you demonstrate the proper leadership skills and control your sales process from beginning to end; that your buyer will proceed with his own hidden-agenda which in the end-game means that you lose BIG TIME! Nowhere in the prospect’s play book does it say: “Here is a big fat check for all the value you have provided us.”Instead, the prospect/suspect disappears with all of your hard-won knowledge, using it, to negotiate a better deal with your competitor-ouch!

Another favorite trick of the buyer/suspect is to hold out the promise of future business, if you will only solve their problem today– for free. This is called the Wimpy Close. (Remember the old Popeye cartoons? Wimpy was constantly hitting-up Popeye with the line: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.”

None of that health food spinach crap for Wimpy. He wanted that big fat juicy hamburger now! It’s funny that Popeye never caught on to Wimpy’s little scam. I guess eating too much spinach will do that to you.)

Now the key question is: How do you stop deep discounting and unpaid consulting?

Before you begin, you must realize that in order to command premium fees, you must have a sales system in place instead of just a sales process. A sales system is a disciplined, step-by-step sequence that logically and efficiently moves from beginning to end and always concludes with a win-win sale, or no-deal.(And, no hard feelings.)

On the other hand, a sales process is a grab bag of situational tactics, ploys and techniques that are crafted by the salesperson, in her best estimation, to land the business now! It is fraught with hidden agendas on the part of both the buyer and seller and often leads to unpredictable outcomes. (Think of Time-share or used car salespeople.)

The first step in an effective sales system is bonding and credibility. No matter how valuable your expertise is, you will not be hired if the buyer does not like or trust you. This step is the most important, and overlooked when selling. One of the best ways to build solid bonding is to put people at ease and make them okay with themselves. (Most people spend way too much time feeling not-okay about their inner-selves. You will have an uphill battle, if you don’t address this issue head on.)

A wonderful book on this subject is “I’m OK, You’re OK” by Thomas Harris. There are many powerful leadership and communication ideas in it. After reading it you will understand why people do the things that they do and you’ll instantly become a more skillful persuader.

The next step is to establish an up-front agreement with the prospective buyer on what’s coming next on your agenda. In your up-front agreement, you discuss all of your agenda items ahead of time and mutually agree on them before you actually begin the meeting. This cuts down on misunderstandings, hidden agendas, misleading intentions, and most importantly, unpaid consulting!

If you are expecting your prospect to make a decision at the end of the meeting, then make sure he is prepared to make that decision. (Please note, mediocre sales people misread the last sentence and interpret it to mean that only a “Yes” decision will be acceptable. All high performing consultants construct win-win outcomes and accept “no-deal” if win-win can’t be achieved.

Always preserve the dignity of the other party in negotiations. A “No” decision just means not now. You will be an advantageous position in the future when the other party is feeling good about you)

By developing your skills in bonding and credibility, along with establishing an up-front agreement before you begin your meeting, you will be well on your way to commanding premium fees for the expertise that you can deliver. Remember that when you create profitable value in the lives of others; you will in turn create profitable value in your own-a true profit sharing plan in the pursuit of happiness. Good consulting!