Advice for the association biz entreprenuer.

Since launching this company four plus years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the launch of a business with a number of friends.  Thought I would tell you a bit of what I learned.

  1. Your business won’t fail for a lack of clients.  Starving happens when your service is undervalued and underpriced – usually by you.
  2. It won’t be surprising who your best business partners become.  Most often, execs who have a reputation of honesty, kindness and integrity become the best clients.  These individuals are also looking for a relationship in which everyone benefits.  Are you surprised?
  3. Burn the boats and don’t look back.  Many consultants seem to be hedging bets by looking for regular jobs as they hang out the first shingle.  I’m never going back to the association staff world (not that it would have me anyway!).
  4. Don’t respond to RFPs.  In the early days, there is a temptation to jump for every business opportunity, including RFP shootouts.  The process is often a race to the bottom, based on price – not relationship and fit.
  5. Know what you do best and stick with that offering.  Business opportunities will arise which are out of your sweet spot.  My best suggestion is to refer that kind of business to me a colleague in the space better suited.  Stick to a key offering for a year, then expand.