What I Learned from a Candidate Phone Bank

sales skills strategy Oct 29, 2020

Pro tip: Easy way to practice telephone prospecting: phone bank for a candidate!

Last night I volunteered to take a 90 minute shift making phone calls for a local political candidate. In local races in a presidential election year, candidate name recognition is a big problem. Finding volunteers to make calls is tough - no one enjoys interrupting people, and the chances of being on the receiving end of a hang up are high.

But the telephone works! I kept thinking of Jeb Blount's great 2019 book...

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Why You Must Price Based on Your Value

Uncategorized Sep 27, 2020

In my first years as founder/CEO of a contract research organization, I tried to figure out the best way to price what we could do.  My lab manager and I took a detailed look at several projects, tracking hours and materials, and developed a spreadsheet for calculating our costs based on scope.  We added what we thought was an appropriate profit margin and used that model for the next couple of dozen projects. 

What we found was that 1) we were not good at estimating...

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Something to do during Covid - Attics of My Life

Uncategorized Sep 20, 2020
 

I'm putting this up for fun.  No video, just an audio recording of my own four part arrangement of Attics of My Life (Grateful Dead, from America Beauty (1970)).  Made for church choir, but given that we can't sing together these days, I recorded and mixed all four parts (OK, I sang soprano an octave down).  It was hacked together as a recording pretty quickly at the end, but I admit it took me some time to arrange before that!

Stay creative!

Tech notes: 

Recorded on...

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The Number Two Issue for Consulting Scientists

Uncategorized Jul 28, 2020

Based on our survey, the second big issue or problem scientists face in trying to grow their consulting business is "Potential clients want free advice, but often don't sign".  Let's break this down:

1. They want free advice.  Of course they do.  And to establish your authority, your bona fides, you really have to give them some.  

2. The don't sign.  OK, why not?

2a. "I don't know."  Did you ask?  Asking might give you an opportunity to correct a...

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Cohere Founder Jeff Kiplinger Featured on Podcast

Uncategorized Jul 23, 2020

Jeff Kiplinger is featured on the newest edition of "Molecule to Market", the podcast created by Raman Sehgal, founder of ramarketing.  Their talk ranged through some history, making a transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur, the difficulties scientists face today in trying to take a similar path, and the role of contract research in the biopharma ecospace of the future.  Listen here, or subscribe to the podcast!

 

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Issues Consultants Face - Breaking it Down

analysis Jul 05, 2020

Of the six common issues surveyed, the number one issue identified was "building and maintaining pipeline".   48% identified this as a Big Issue, with the next Big Issue ("clients involve me on a limited basis to save money, so I can't contribute strategically") identified by only 24%.  

The weighted average for "building pipeline" was 4.03, while "contribute strategically" and "clients want free advice" were nearly tied at second (3.45 and 3.52).  However, these were...

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Survey Results - What Issues are Consultants Facing?

data Jun 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Results from last week's survey of consultants about the general issues they face are in.  With 29 responses from the LinkedIn community, the question "What issues do you face trying to grow your business as a consultant?" showed these as the "top of mind" issues:

Examination of the results points to the top 4 issues, which are related to our ability to connect with, communicate with, and sell to our prospective clients are most important.  The primary issue for...

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Should Smaller Companies Not Develop Strategic Plans?

strategy May 11, 2020

Last week a LinkedIn connection forwarded an article from Ivey Business Journal (https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/strategic-flexibility-the-key-to-growth/). The authors draw from a lot of sources, including Michael Porter's work on strategy. The authors discuss a basic question: do small companies have an agility/adaptability advantage over large ones?

Small companies:

  • Have few embedded systems

  • Are often tightly governed by one or a very few owners

  • Have management that is...

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Seven Ways to Build Business Value

exit strategy Apr 29, 2020

We still don't know what's going to happen - as I wrote the first draft of this blog, oil futures were at -$37.83 per barrel. There are types of businesses that will never resurrect in the form they took before the crisis. But life sciences services, supplies, and development companies look to be in good shape in the future, and their prospects don't seem to be related to whether they pivot into the Covid-19 space or not.

In this sector we may be relatively lucky, but we still want to think...

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Is It Time to Think About the Future?

strategy Apr 29, 2020

Zymewire surveyed their connections in the biotech/pharma service provider space about 10 days ago on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on business.

Clinical services providers are seeing the greatest impact due to slow initiation of planned trials; CDMOs are seeing the least. All the sector predicts a down quarter and some cash flow issues, but they expect the impact to be short term. In other words, expect a healthier 2021.
 
However, there are some issues.

The first is that the CDMO...

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