There can often be some anxiety about contacting a consultant. Are they any good, are they the right fit for our organisation and its mission, when will they start ‘turning on the meter’?
Because we are incredibly transparent about such things, and because we don’t want anyone to be anxious, we’ve provided an overview of our engagement process below. If you have any questions just ask, we’ll give a full & frank reply.
Step 1: Contact us
If you’ve checked out the website, or been referred by a friend or colleague, and you believe that you might benefit from the services that Full & Frank provide the first step is to contact us. You can do this by email or via the website.
We’ll ask you to give us a very brief description of what you believe you are looking for. For example, are you looking to book Juanita for a speaking event, engage a member of the Full & Frank consulting team for advice, engage Full & Frank to deliver a specific project (e.g. a new website, a strategic plan or a nonprofit rebrand) or book in a Full & Frank professional development session in-house at your organisation.
Step 2: Setting up a meeting
We’ll reply as soon as possible and set up a mutually agreeable time for a meeting. This meeting will typically be held over a cup of tea (English Breakfast whenever possible) or a Skype call. This meeting will last up to an hour, and there will be no charge. How quickly we can get together for this meeting will depend on how heavily booked we are at any given time, though we aim to be as responsive as possible. If you have a time sensitive project you should reach out to us as soon as possible.
Step 3: We ask frank questions and then we listen, listen, listen
When we get together our aim is simple. We want both parties to walk away knowing:
- What is the strategic purpose of this work?
- Are Full & Frank the best people to perform this task?
- Are our organisations compatible to work together?
- Do we share a passion for your mission?
- What is the budget you have available?
- What are the drop-dead timing requirements?
The budget question is pretty frank, by design. Creating quotes for services that aren't part of your budget isn't helpful. Not for us, but especially for you. Simultaneously, there is no benefit to be gained from us providing you a quote for a less-than-ideal deliverable based on incorrect assumptions about how much money you have.
If you are full and frank about what your budget is, we can provide a specific and detailed list of what we can deliver for that amount of money. We always remind our clients that we have the ability to design a range of projects to be completed in stages as time and budgets allow, if we know from the outset.
It is always best that the person who can say ‘yes’, green light the project and authorise the budget expenditure is at this meeting to ask any questions they might have, and to reply to our questions in turn.
And if we’re not the right people for your project – just be frank and tell us. We’re professionals, we can take it.
Step 4: The quote/proposal
Depending on the scope and timing of the services you are looking to engage us for we will provide you with a simple quote or a more detailed proposal. We cannot stress enough that this is an initial proposal, and it can be altered and tweaked as required via discussion. For example, if you are willing to reduce the scope of deliverables in order to reduce the price, or alternatively if you’re prepared to pay more in order to increase the scope of deliverables.
Our proposals/quotes will often be broken into two components: the fixed cost and an estimated cost of revision hours, based on similar projects. The fixed cost is fixed, and payable at a nominated milestone, but we only charge for the amount of revision hours we actually use. This provides clients with significant power over the final budget. Organisations that are well prepared, clear and decisive can potentially reduce the overall costs below those estimated by keeping revision hours to a minimum. Organisations that require multiple rounds of revisions, are indecisive or change their minds frequently may go over the estimated hours, and be billed accordingly.
Once you give us the green light in writing we will commence work based on the timing, process and deliverables as discussed. Invoices for payments, including progressive payments for larger projects will be issued as detailed in our quote/proposal.
Step 5: The Work & The Client
Without a doubt the biggest factor in determining how quickly a piece of work is completed is the speed with which clients can make decisions and deliver information to us when requested. For this reason you will often hear us give estimated completion dates in phrases such as ‘Two weeks once all the information is provided’. Clients have an enormous amount of control regarding the delivery dates for their projects, and we encourage them to exercise this power by being prepared, decisive and responsive. We want to deliver your completed work to you as quickly as you would like to receive it so you can start benefiting from it. It’s a help us, help you situation.
Step 6: Wrap Up
Our work will be complete when we have handed over the deliverables as detailed in our quote or proposal. Your feedback on our work is always greatly appreciated. As a boutique consulting firm referrals are our lifeblood, so we also ask you to recommend us to any friends or colleagues who you believe would benefit from our services.
Take the plunge. We promise, no one cries.
(okay once, but they were tears of joy).