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Budgets – Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em

January 24th, 2017 8:30am - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

Seen at the end of too many Requests for Proposal (RFP)…

“Based on your proposed approach, please submit a draft budget estimate for the project.”

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“To respond to this RFP, please prepare materials to address the following: The fee for all service provided by your firm. Please identify any additional services that could include additional fees.”

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“Provide a good-faith cost estimate for your recommended solution, itemized by major component. Estimates should be fixed cost, not time and material. Provide unit costs for each major component to allow for a projection of costs under alternative configuration scenarios. Define the number of estimated labor hours by category ...

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A Top Ten List – Things You’ll Never Hear from Your Consultant

January 17th, 2017 10:22am - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

 A Top Ten List of Things You'll Never Hear From Your Consultant

1. You're right; we're billing way too much for this.

2. Bet you I can go a week without saying "synergy" or "value-added.”

3. How about paying us based on the success of the project?

4. This whole strategy is based on a Harvard business case I read.

5. Actually, the only difference is that we charge more than they do.

6. I don't know enough to speak intelligently about that.

7. Implementation? I only care about writing long reports.

8. I can't take the credit. It was Ed in your marketing department.

9. The problem is, you have too much work for too few people.

10. Everything looks okay to me. You really don't need me.

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Working with Consultants: A to Z

January 9th, 2017 11:17am - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

Over the past thirty-eight years (1979-2017) I've worked with consultants, I've hired consultants and I've made my living as an independent consultant. I've done all the above in numerous different industries ranging from banking and construction to insurance to marketing and advertising consumer goods to nonprofits and social enterprise. I’ve worked in many different capacities over different time frames in my career. I've studied what works and what doesn't when it comes to consulting "process" and even treated myself to a little formal training. No, not from those Big 8, no wait, Big 4, or was it Big 2 consulting firms. Who knows how many there are or what they're called nowadays?

Most of my consulting learning and experience has come from that infamous School of Hard Knocks. I'm proud to say that and say it with head held high. I believe that's where most of the really meaningful consulting rubber not only hits the r ...

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How should you treat your best donors/supporters?

February 9th, 2011 3:11pm - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

First…the set-up from one of our favorite marketing and customer experience gurus of all time. Get familiar with Seth Godin, if you’re not already, and you’ll be smarter every day until the day the world ends!

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How should you treat your best customers?

[Source: Seth Godin’s Blog]

Here's what most businesses do with their best customers: They take the money.

The biggest fan of that Broadway show, the one who comes a lot and sits up front? She's paying three times what the person just three rows back paid.

That loyal Verizon customer, the one who hasn't traded in his phone and has a contract for six years running? He's generating far more profit tha ...

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POLL: L3C Legislation in 2011

December 22nd, 2010 6:46pm - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

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Posted in: L3C, Quick Polls

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Demonstrating Strength

October 5th, 2010 5:18pm - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

Here's today's blog post from Seth Godin: Demonstrating strength

Apologize

Defer to others

Avoid shortcuts

Tell the truth

Offer kindness

Seek alliances

Volunteer to take the short straw

Choose the long-term, sacrificing the short

Demonstrate respect to all, not just the obviously strong

Share credit and be public in your gratitude

Risking the appearance of weakness takes strength. And the market knows it.

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I’m going to add a few more…

Do what you say you’re going to do. Then do it again.

And agai ...

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Posted in: GUEST Post

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L3C visionaries share their thoughts...

June 13th, 2010 1:57pm - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

The following is an excerpt from Who is the L3C Entrepreneur? The pioneers of social enterprise’s revolutionary new suffix. Available for download at: www.interSectorL3C.com/white_paper.html

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Many L3C entrepreneurs have an idealist vision for what the L3C can ultimately be, if these challenges and hurdles can be addressed. First and foremost, they want to see the nonprofit and for-profit worlds continue to converge. For some, that means they want the L3C to essentially become a “fourth sector”—to follow in the path of the public sector (government), the private sector (business) and the nonprofit sector (sometimes called the third sector). For others, they see the L3C as somehow servin ...

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It's safe to come into the L3C water...

June 10th, 2010 11:52am - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

L3C entrepreneurs also hope for more education and especially more leadership from leading foundations to expand education about L3Cs. Several said that, ultimately, they think foundation support or lack thereof will either make or break the L3C. Some mentioned that if the biggest foundations in the country—the ones truly viewed as “thought leaders”—came out in favor of the L3C, the tide would surely shift behind it. In late 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would be placing more emphasis on PRI investments in the coming years. By extension, many think this indicates opening a door to L3Cs, but no major foundation has made a truly public and overt endorsement of the L3C model so far:

 

The foundations need to get behind it. It’s up to the foundations to find great projects and start to think differently a little bit. I think that is where the L3C will ei ...

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What's next for the L3C?

June 9th, 2010 10:43am - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

The following is an excerpt from Who is the L3C Entrepreneur? The pioneers of social enterprise’s revolutionary new suffix. Available for download at: www.interSectorL3C.com/white_paper.html

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What’s Next?

Many L3C entrepreneurs feel that any legislation or attention directed toward the L3C is a major accomplishment. They are proud of the momentum that has been increasing in the past year and are hopeful that it will continue to build. As legislation continues to come together in various states and the spotlight shines brighter on the L3C, the more optimistic their outlook. That said, most of these entrepreneurs also see somekey, tangible steps that need to be taken in the next couple of yearsto make the m ...

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The L3C is so revolutionary and potentially so threatening...

June 3rd, 2010 11:37am - Posted By: Rick Zwetsch

The prevalence of misinformation is another area of concern for L3C entrepreneurs. They worry that there is a lot of room for falsifying information on the Internet (whether intentional or not), which makes it hard to validate what is true and false—a big concern for such a new and sometimes misunderstood movement. While many note that recent articles in the Nonprofit Times and at www.fastcompany.com and www.entrepreneur.com have helped clarify information in the business press, and that L3C founder Robert Lang’s website Americans for Community Development (www.americansforcommunitydevelopment.org) is a good resource, they still worry that the wrong information is too prevalent in other locations on the Web:

 

With the advent of instantaneous information, it&rsquo ...

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