Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Business Consulting Suggestion: Make The Small Modules Work First

I knew a man who made a living with complicated mathematical models that he would provide for large companies. He was a professor at the Stanford Business School, but kept his business consulting on the side.

“One thing you want to look for, always, is the simple easy-to-understand model to use at the start,” he said.

“Never propose a big job as a whole package. Instead, always propose a small piece of it as a first step. Assure the clients they can abandon the whole thing if they want after that first step. Make it like a tenth of the whole job.

“Make it something they can see, touch, feel. Make it simple to understand. Make it as visual as possible.”

If that first piece doesn’t work, then you’re better off without the rest of the job.”

I’ve used this tip a lot over the years. That’s with my business consulting, mainly business planning and market research, and with some of the product development I’ve done or supervised. It’s very important.

This applies as well to a lot of business situations. Start with something you can show fairly easily.  Look for something that will make your clients understand the benefit of going on.

For business consulting, try to start the engagement with a small useful first step that demonstrates the value. Make it like a paid sales step.