In accordance with our business philosophy, it is vital to create and maintain open lines of communication. This way we stand a good chance of addressing in-process issues as they arise, and we can adapt the program and billing if necessary to respond.
Consulting is a collaborative process. Many of the answers and much of the raw data will come from within your own company and customer base. The consultant's role is to provide specific processes and activities that extract, organize and present those answers with the benefit of our experience. It is important therefore to establish a working relationship that is collaborative, with a sense of creating solutions that work for everyone in the value chain.
We often meet with your customers, partners and suppliers, in workshop and research contexts. It is very important to us to be always a credit to your organization and your personal reputation.
It is imperative to understand before we start what you want to get out of the engagement. By stating this early in the contract document, we establish alignment and a firm basis for ongoing work.
Well-defined process steps and deliverables
When we can write down the steps we will need to go through to give you what you need, we can agree on how things will be done, and determine the risk and the value. Every proposal contains a set of process steps, coupled to specific deliverables.
It is best to establish a clear set of objectives and deliverables, and agree on a fee for the work up front. This level of clarity avoids misunderstandings later in the process, and helps us both to manage cash flow. The standard agreement is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of clients with special concerns - for example intellectual property rights.
Billing occurs through the project at defined and agreed milestones. The first invoice is due at the start of the project; the last at the time the final deliverable is accepted by the client.
We use workshops, face-to-face and telephone interviews, web research, and focus groups as primary tools for discovery and consensus-building. These are described in the proposal, and we value client input as to the best way to work with the internal and (if necessary) external teams.
We deliver documents electronically and on paper, using Microsoft Office (principally Word and PowerPoint) and Adobe Acrobat. In some cases it makes sense to publish documents on a project-specific web site. E-mail is an important part of the communications process and audit trail.
Tim Barnes is a widely experienced consultant and author. He has provided strategy, market research and branding services to industries as varied as semiconductors, software, banking, furniture, industrial design and life insurance.
His unique philosophy and working style have enabled him to achieve an industry-leading 95% rate of repeat business with clients including Texas Instruments, Herman Miller, and the Ford Motor Corporation.
Strategy & Marketing brings unique consultative tools that deliver actionable answers rapidly and in a cost-effective manner.