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How to Spot Golden Projects that Other Consulting Firms Miss
David A. Fields -- Sales Growth Expert David A. Fields -- Sales Growth Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Ridgefield , CT
Wednesday, September 04, 2019


Some consulting opportunities are rotten. Blech. Don’t want ‘em.

Leave ‘em,don’t look back, and set your sights on better projects for your consultingfirm.

But hold on,Harry. (Wait, Walter? Pause, Paula?)

A few of those stinky projects may actually be goldmines.

A quick story:

This past June, my wife and I were driving to a remote Portuguese town, when a landfill appeared on the horizon.

Even from a distance, it was easy to recognize the manmade hill; trailer-sized blocks of compacted, brown and white trash, stacked and tumbled into disorganized heaps like some giant toddler’s Lego pile.

Our car windows were down to enjoy the temperate air, and my wife was dozing in the passenger seat. Since the only alternate routes involved goat paths, I faced a dilemma:

Should I wake my wife up by closing the car windows, and alert her to the unpleasant landmark ahead, or should I hope that the smell would be tolerable while we drove by, leaving her asleep and unaware?

I chose to wake her. (After all, travel is about sharing the adventure.) But, the potential stain on our mental travelogues never materialized, because the trash heaps turned out to be…


Gorgeous, 15-ton slabs of Portuguese marble excavated from one of the world’s premier quarries. So much marble, that enormous slabs were strewn about and piled into landfill-shaped hillocks.

Nearby, in Estremoz (pronounced the way Sean Connery would say “stray moss”), we admired, and purchased, stunning art sculpted from blocks of the local stone.

Which bringsus back to the starting question:

Are the consulting opportunities you’re avoiding, fetid trash heaps or dazzling sculptures hidden in landfill clothing?

Your goal is easy: unearth great projects that other consulting firms decline.

A few guidelines may help you distinguish diamonds from dross, and rubies from rubbish.

When Garbage is Garbage

Too Small

Yourconsulting firm should have a minimum acceptable project size, below which youreject opportunities. Although small projects can sometimes be a gateway tolarger engagements, more often they are low-return, resource drains.

Low Margin

Similarly, skip unprofitable projects. This sounds obvious, of course; however, I’m amazed at how many consulting firms accept unalluring projects that deliver minuscule or negative margin for their firm.

Strategic Distraction

Flee from projectsthat appear unattractive and also would jerk you far away from your targetmarket or core offering.

Unpleasant Client

There’s no reason to accept consulting projects from clients who are ill-mannered, inconsiderate, rude, or don’t pay on time. Leave those ugly opportunities behind.

When Garbage is Gold


Manyconsulting firms walk away when the industry, problem or client are decidedly notsexy.

Hordes ofconsulting firms want to pursue silicon valley clients while turning their noseup at rust-belt opportunities.

That’s amistake. Plain-Jane, out-of-favor industries and problems may offer consultingopportunities that generously stimulate your consulting mind and pocketbook.  

Small Client

Working withFortune 500 clients is like a badge of honor for many consultants. They scoffat the idea of working with tiny companies.

Good. Letthem scoff while you gobble up the many, lucrative consulting projects offeredby pint-sized organizations.

If yourminimum consulting project size is $10 million, then you need to fix yourtarget firmly on huge companies. However, if your minimum project is $100,000or less), then there are plenty of obscure clients who could hire you.

Difficult to Service

Consultingprospects may be difficult to serve because they are geographically remote, demandsignificant hand-holding, or require complex (and expensive) projectmanagement.

As long asyou price your consulting projects correctly, these opportunities areoutstanding for your firm. They force you to upgrade your systems, processesand client experience.

Other consulting firms look at these opportunities as money-losing nightmares. For your consulting firm, they can be an opportunity to shine while improving the effectiveness and efficiency you’ll apply across your client portfolio.

How else doyou identify outstanding consulting opportunities that other consulting firmsmiss?

Managing Director
Ascendant Consulting, LLC
Ridgefield, CT