niallstrickland

About niallstrickland

Niall Strickland is CEO of GrowthOracle.com and creator of GrowthOracle business analysis software tools for Business Consultants, Advisors and Coaches. He is an MBA with 35 years of international business experience.

Impact of Technology On Our Consulting Practices

Impact of Technology On Our Consulting Practices. When I graduated from college in 1991 with an executive MBA, the Internet had not really arrived. Few people were using email and computers were pretty slow. PowerPoint was only launched in May 1990 and slide based presentations were in their infancy. Visio, the drawing tool I still use for business process design [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 August 19th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

How we use frameworks to improve client businesses

How we use frameworks to improve client businesses. Frameworks are used by business consultants to simplify the analysis process when examining industries, markets, and client companies. The frameworks are frequently broken into 4 different categories: Industry and Market Analysis, Company Analysis, Product Strategy and Process Improvement. They are logical in nature and help to uncover patterns that may not be [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Your Network Is The Key To Success

Your Network Is The Key To Success. It has become increasingly apparent to me over the years that a successful business consulting or coaching business is not driven by your academic qualifications, your knowledge or your skills, but by your access to a network of people whom you know and whom are willing to recommend you to others. I would [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 August 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Guarantees, Warranties and Customer Satisfaction

Guarantees, Warranties and Customer Satisfaction. Most of us involved in the consulting or business advisory industry are prepared to stand over our work. We act with integrity and honesty without having to think about it. We give either explicit or implicit guarantees or warranties about what we can deliver. And if there is a rogue element within the industry that [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 July 29th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Systemize and Grow Rich

Systemize and Grow Rich. Perhaps I am becoming a little bit cynical in my middle years but I have started to notice the increasing number of fellow consultants and coaches seeming to step out of their core consulting and coaching businesses to sell their systems for increasing the monetization of consulting or coaching practices. Does this mean that their core [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 July 22nd, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Video Teleseminars Or Webinars?

Video Teleseminars Or Webinars? How we communicate our knowledge to our target market has fundamentally changed in the last decade. Ten years ago, it was all about face-to-face meetings, networking events and sales letters. However, changes in technology and the downward pressure on pricing for computing, data storage, and communication have been a game changer. Some of us have embraced [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 July 15th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Imagining the Future and the Second Curve

Imagining the Future and the Second Curve. I was recently given the gift of a really interesting book, written by Charles Handy, the author of many management books and an observer and commentator on broader issues that are impacting the quality of our lives as individuals and business people today. Handy grew up less than 14 miles from where I [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 July 8th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Brexit Is Here, So What’s Next?

Brexit Is Here, So What's Next? A week ago, few people expected Brexit to happen. Yes, most of us anticipated that the mood of discontent in some sectors of the United Kingdom would manifest in a sizeable protest vote. However, it only started to dawn on me at around 12:30am on Friday morning that something was amiss and that a [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 July 1st, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Getting Back To Basics – Naked and Afraid?

Getting Back To Basics - Naked and Afraid? In recent weeks, I have been captivated by a US television show called Naked and Afraid. The show is about two strangers, a man and a woman, who get dropped off in wild locations around the world, and have to survive for 21 days without any provisions and even their clothes are [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 June 24th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Managing Risk in SME Businesses

Managing Risk in SME Businesses. Every business has to deal with risks on a daily basis. Simply putting capital into your business involves risk but you do so in the belief that you will get a better return from your enterprise than you might get from putting it on deposit in a bank or into stocks or bonds. So what [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 June 17th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

So Who Coaches The Coaches?

So Who Coaches The Coaches? So who coaches the coaches? Well the coaches of course. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom or business knowledge and so we need our own coaches to help us make it to the next level. This may seem strange, particularly when you consider that our job very often involves coaching others. The captains [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 June 10th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

How To Take Time Out To Recharge Without Feeling Guilty

How To Take Time Out To Recharge Without Feeling Guilty. As business consultants, we work pretty hard, right? I know that I do. My commitment to my profession is not measured by the amount of time I spend in client-facing engagements. I also take into account the prep time I put in before meeting clients; the post meeting reflection and [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 June 3rd, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Consulting and The Guru Factor

As business or management consultants, many of us have something unique to offer to potential clients, and most of us deliver significant value as part of what we do. Outside of this mainstream cohort, there are others – sometimes referred to as Gurus - that offer solutions to individuals and businesses in what has become a more complex market for [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 May 27th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

What is the Biggest Bottleneck in your Business Consulting Practice?

What is the Biggest Bottleneck in your Business Consulting Practice? If you work in a large business consulting practice, chances are that you have a team supporting what you do, and you don’t really get caught up in day-to-day administration, chasing the next assignment, or typing up your conclusions and recommendations. You probably don’t have to worry too much about [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 May 20th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Get To Know Your Client’s Personality – Use The Enneagram

Get To Know Your Client’s Personality – Use The Enneagram. There is a clear advantage in observing human nature and in recognizing personality types as you meet and get to know individuals. It becomes even more important to understand personality types when meeting with clients and potential new clients. Some of us are instinctively good at putting people into defined [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 May 13th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

The Challenges Faced By Small Consulting Practices – Part 3

The Challenges Faced By Small Consulting Practices – Part 3. Last week and the week before, I introduced some of the challenges faced by solo-consultants and small consulting firms and provided some recommendations about how consultants may address them. The first post introduced the first 6 challenges consultants must deal with, and last week’s post dealt with another 6 challenges. [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 May 6th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Challenges Faced By Small Consulting Practices – Part 2

The Challenges Faced By Small Consulting Practices – Part 2. Last week, I introduced some of the challenges faced by solo-consultants and small consulting firms and provided some recommendations about how consultants may address them. Last week’s post introduced the first 6 challenges consultants must deal with, and this week’s post discusses the next 6 challenges. The full list of challenges [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 April 29th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

The Challenges Faced By Small Consulting Practices – Part 1

The Challenges Faced By Small Consulting Practices – Part 1. Business consulting can be a challenging profession, particularly if you are a solo-practitioner. You need to market your services effectively and repeatedly to continue to win new business, or risk going broke. When you win the new business, you are left with little time for marketing as you commit yourself [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 April 22nd, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Top 12 Reasons For SME Business Failure – Part 2

Top 12 Reasons For SME Business Failure – Part 2. Last week I explored the first 6 most common reasons for SME business failure. This week I delve into the next 6 top reasons for SME business failure. Lacking The Cash To Grow The Business To Reach Critical Mass We should all be familiar with the term “economies of scale”. [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 April 15th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Top 12 Reasons for SME Business Failure – Part 1

Top 12 Reasons Why SME Businesses Fail – Part 1. As business consultants, we all see the same mistakes being made by clients again and again. I have referenced the top one dozen reasons for business failure of small and medium businesses in another article. In fact between 80% and 90% of start-up businesses fail. Today, I am delving into [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 April 8th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Impact of Changes in International Trade on Clients

Impact of Changes in International Trade on Our Clients. Since the last world war ended, there has been a move towards harmonization and international trade across the world. The EU experiment, wherein 28 countries now have strong political and economic ties, and 19 sharing a common currency, there is a significantly reduced likelihood that another world war will break out. [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 April 1st, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Difference between Strategy Consulting and Management Consulting

Difference between Strategy Consulting and Management Consulting. With tongue in cheek, one might say that the biggest difference between strategy consulting and management consulting is the level of fees charged. Why is this? Well, one simple answer is that strategy consulting tends to be directed towards the CEO and the Board of Directors in larger companies and Public Sector organizations, [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 March 25th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

What Is Change Management and How Does It Work?

What Is Change Management and How Does It Work? Change management is described in Wikipedia as “any approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations using methods intended to re-direct the use of resources, business process, budget allocations or other modes of operation that significantly reshape a company or organization”. But what does this really mean and how do business consultants [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 March 18th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Consultant, Coach Or Confessor?

Consultant, Coach Or Confessor? Do you find that there are blurred lines appearing in your role as a business consultant, particularly when working with smaller clients? As a trusted advisor, you are in a privileged position with clients and it is quite common for them to seek your help across the entire spectrum of consultant, coach and confessor. But is [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 March 11th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Understanding The Value Proposition

Understanding The Value Proposition. One of the biggest challenges for independent business consultants is to get potential clients to recognize the value of what they can deliver - the value proposition. More often than not, the potential client is focusing on cost and not value. So how can we move the needle so that the value of what we deliver [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:54+00:00 March 4th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Having The Right Conversation With Prospective Clients

Having The Right Conversation With Prospective Clients. Are you still having the same tired conversations with prospective clients or are you having the right conversations? Do you still go to networking events and try to work the room but achieve mediocre results? Are your conversations about you and what you can do? Even more importantly, is your conversion rate from [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 February 26th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

How Company Culture Impacts Consulting Assignments

How Company Culture Impacts Consulting Assignments. Company culture comes in many different flavors. For this reason, business consultants need to have awareness of the flavors on offer before commencing each assignment. Why is this, you might ask? The answer is that the company culture will actually determine if your assignment will be a success or not. Here are some of [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 February 19th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Role for Politics In Small and Medium Businesses

Role for Politics In Small and Medium Businesses. This week I decided to publish a video I shot a couple of years ago on the topic of the role for politics in small and medium businesses. It features my own experience of political maneuvering in the corporate world as well as some of my views on how appropriate politicking is [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 February 12th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Perils of Using LinkedIn Groups As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

The Perils of Using LinkedIn Groups As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy. LinkedIn is the biggest business-to-business social media platform right now. It has a unique appeal because of its large global membership. Even as a non-premium member, you get to build your online profile, as well as to participate in a diverse range of groups with whom you can [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 February 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Top 12 Mistakes Made By SME Business Owners

Top 12 Mistakes Made By SME Business Owners. Those of us who provide advice and guidance to SME business owners frequently observe dysfunctional behaviors by clients or prospects during the meet-and-greet and business analysis phases of an engagement. So what are the most common mistakes and how do they impact a business? Failing to plan properly for the future Running [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 January 29th, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

How Core Values Are At The Heart Of Business Planning

How Core Values Are At The Heart Of Business Planning. I am sure that we all reinforce the importance of business planning with our consulting clients and we may even help them to craft business plans in conjunction with their key executives. However, how much time do our clients spend looking at the status quo and their core values, before [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 January 22nd, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Helping Our Clients Succeed – The Ultimate Measure of What We Do

Helping Our Clients Succeed – The Ultimate Measure of What We Do. Management consultants only exist to serve the needs of clients. Without clients, we would have to get proper corporate type jobs, or start real businesses for ourselves. Okay, I agree that this is somewhat tongue in cheek, but it is a reminder that we are indeed here to [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 January 15th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

What To Do If You Are Just Starting As A Management Consultant

What To Do If You Are Just Starting As A Management Consultant. If you have a lot of business experience and want to use your skills and knowledge to help other businesses, you might decide that it’s a good idea to become a management consultant. But what exactly does a management consultant do and how does he go about it? [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 January 8th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Case Study – Extracting Value From a Business Consulting Practice

Case Study - Extracting Value From a Business Consulting Practice. The recession, which followed the financial sector meltdown in 2008, had a disproportionate impact on small and independent business consulting practices. Larger practices may have seen some reduction in business as discretionary spending in client companies contracted, but a lot of smaller practices were completely decimated and saw many of [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 January 1st, 2016|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

The Experts Need to Keep Learning From the Experts

The Experts Need to Keep Learning From the Experts. Some of us involved in the business consulting industry are doing it a long time, while others are just starting out. The range of experience and expertise we bring to our clients varies widely. There is, however, a common theme we all share and that is the need to continuously upgrade [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 December 19th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Help Entrepreneurial Businesses to Scale

How to Help Entrepreneurial Businesses to Scale. Some entrepreneurial businesses have a vision to scale. However, as we all know, statistics say that 80 to 90% of all start-up businesses fail. There is a common thread here and by far the most frequent reason for failure is poor management, representing about 42% of business failures. The next most frequently seen [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 December 11th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Avoid Working With Consulting Clients From Hell

How to Avoid Working With Consulting Clients From Hell. Those of us working as business advisors, management consultants or business coaches, need to exercise care when selecting clients to work with. It is not always easy at the pre-engagement stage, to spot clients that don’t fit with your style, your business ethics, or your way of working. This often results [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 December 4th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Your Clients – Have They Got The Right Stuff?

Your Clients - Have They Got The Right Stuff? One of my favorite movies of all time is the 1983 released “The Right Stuff”, adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book of the same name. The story is about the elite Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel involved in aeronautical research, and the test pilots who were selected to be astronauts, [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 November 26th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Importance of Screening Potential Clients Prior to First Engagement

Importance of Screening Potential Clients Prior to First Engagement. Perhaps you already do this as part of your internal practices in your management consulting business, but if not, it is imperative that you develop the important habit of screening potential clients prior to your first face-to-face engagement with them. I know that new clients are a lot scarcer than they [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 November 19th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Business Analysis Tools for Understanding SME Businesses

Business Analysis Tools for Understanding SME Businesses. Most independent Business Consultants and Advisors operating in the SME space will choose a variety of analysis frameworks, tools and models that will get to the heart of any business and any industry. In this article, I will be talking about the business analysis tools that I prefer to use and why. I [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 November 7th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

What is the 28 Point Business Analysis Framework?

What is the 28 Point Business Analysis Framework? As business consultants and advisors, we all use frameworks to allow us to take a systematic and easily understandable approach to business analysis. As a former lending banker and management consultant for the past 35 years, I have devised my own 28 point business analysis framework for analyzing businesses. I simply call [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 October 29th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

What is the 36 Month Question?

What is the 36 Month Question? The 36 Month Question is a simple but valuable tool that I frequently use to gain an understanding of what may be blocking clients from achieving their business and/or personal goals. However, it goes much further than this. If used properly, it can also allow you to help your clients to articulate their business [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 October 29th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

12 Mistakes that Business Advisors and Consultants Frequently Make

12 Mistakes that Business Advisors and Consultants Frequently Make. If you are a sole practitioner in your own Business Consulting or Business Advisory practice, you will recognize that every time you complete a successful assignment, that you need to go out prospecting to win a new client or two. Experienced practitioners anticipate the end of current projects and start their [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 October 27th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

The Benefits of Mind Mapping for Business Consultants, Advisors and Coaches

The Benefits of Mind Mapping for Business Consultants, Advisors and Coaches. Sometimes old ideas are best. However, when you take an old idea that works and spin it into the 21st century, you can then deliver business transformation like never before. I am sure that everybody has heard of Mind Mapping, which was developed by Tony Buzan about 40 years [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 October 23rd, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments

Do business advisors, consultants and coaches have an alternative to offering free sessions in order to win new business?

Do business advisors, consultants and coaches have an alternative to offering free sessions in order to win new business? Unless you operate in the big leagues, where business seems to just roll in based on the strength of your brand or your great referral network, you probably have no alternative to offering free sessions to potential clients to convince them [...]

By | 2017-05-28T11:31:55+00:00 October 16th, 2015|Categories: GrowthOracle Blog|0 Comments