Following your plan

Marketing can be a painfully slow process that moves in sudden bursts, instead of in a predictable fashion. The speed of your progress can be surprising and tempt you to pull back on your marketing efforts. On other occasions, what appears to be stagnation may make you want to abandon your plan and begin again.

In either case, take the long view and stick with your plan. It will take time for the market to recognize and trust you as an expert. Sudden changes to your strategy or market identity can create confusion and set back your marketing gains:

Adjust your plan, but first give it time to take hold with your clients and prospects. How long? In some cases, results are evident in the first few months. In others, it can take longer. Make patience and consistency your allies.

Market yourself creatively. Following the pack is a surefire path to oblivion, so blaze new trails. Keep in mind that your goal is to win clients, not marketing or advertising awards.

Invest your hard-earned cash, time, and energy in marketing. For the guerrilla, time is not money—it is more valuable than money. To maximize the return on your investments, take the "brains-over-brawn" approach to conserve your resources.

Be flexible. Adaptability is the guerrilla's strength. Carefully monitor the results of your marketing tactics, realizing that some will hit the mark and others will fall flat. Double up on the winners and drop the losers.

Capitalize on your passion. Helping clients is the core of the consulting business. Your passion for serving clients must drive you to jump out of bed each morning and make you burn the midnight oil. Passion inspires others and makes them want to support your efforts and sing your praises. Without passion for the profession and genuine enthusiasm for solving client problems, the demands of the business will quickly overwhelm your best-laid plans for success.

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