Home Forums Tell me straight… Would you use this service?

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  • #992937
    montellis
    Member
    • Total posts: 18

    Hi All,

    I would love to get feedback from the FS community and find out what aspects of our business model are appealing and which ones need to change. We founded Consultmates in June this year and launched the website a couple of weeks ago. There is still a lot of work to do on the website – testimonials, “featured-in”, ability to make all appointments online and speak to any consultant on-demand….

    1. What needs reviewing? (i.e. logo, website, idea etc…)
    Feel free to have a look at the website (http://www.consultmates.com), but it’s really the concept that I am seeking feedback on. Would you use a management consultant? If not, why not? What are some of the barriers at the moment to using a consultant? Does our service overcome these barriers? If you would not use consultmates – why not?

    2. What does your business do?
    We are a management consulting firm, performing all our work online. Our goal is to make management consulting easy – so we have removed the need for retainers, annual service agreements and high fees. Our vision is to create a platform where a small business owner can speak to a consultant on-demand, at a fixed hourly rate, as frequently or infrequently as they like. We provide advice and implementation strategies – in a few months, we will have consultants specialising in all areas of business, from marketing to legal. All at the same hourly rate, where your account gets billed automatically for the time you are speaking to the consultant.

    3. Who is your target market?
    Startups and small to medium sized business owners are our target market.

    Thank you in advance, I really appreciate your assistance.

    Tanja

    #1188905
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    NO – I stopped looking when I saw this. “”Just one low hourly hourly rate of US$70″”, –

    #1188906
    montellis
    Member
    • Total posts: 18

    Thanks Bert, can’t believe we missed that! Fixing it right now.

    #1188907
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    I suppose I am still stuck on that one line.

    I think you are in Melbourne, well the limited info I can find indicates you are in Melbourne. If I was to hire a management consultant, I would want an Australian management consultant.
    But when I look at your pricing it’s in USD.
    Why, if I am employing and Australian firm I want to pay in AU $’s.

    #1188908
    montellis
    Member
    • Total posts: 18

    We are registered in Australia, but are e-consultants – so our clients are all over the world (at the moment, Australia, Chile, NYC…) and all our work is done remotely – via Skype, phone and email. It’s how we keep the fees so much lower than other consultants who charge $300 per hour.
    The consultants aren’t all in one place either – I’m in Canada right now, but travelling frequently, one is in Europe, the other in San Francisco.

    But you make a valid point – although it is mentioned on that page of the website that we are eConsultants and are global, we should expand on that. We have two solutions to this we are working on:

    1) You are taken to a local homepage, so if you are from Australia, the fee will be in AUS. If you are in the US, the fee will be in USD and so on….

    2) Map of the world showing location of consultants and location of clients, to really drive home that message of being global

    Thanks again Bert for the feedback.

    #1188909
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    Hi Tanja,
    I’m sure there is a need for your consulting services. Can I offer some observations about your Internet Coms?

    1. Target Audience: “small to medium sized businesses”
    This website business description target is so vague I don’t know whether my sort of business (single employee) is a target client or not. Then I read your “services” info that seems aimed at what I would interpret is for much larger businesses than mine (I.e. Services for: HR Management, Technology Solutions, Business Strategy, Performance Analysis).

    Maybe you need FS respondents to be more specific about their size before you can place much relevance on their replies here.

    The relevance to Internet marketing is that, no one company can handle enquiries from every small to medium sized business in the world. You should find more productive enquiry conversions rates by giving visitors more info about your target client size, industries, where you have specific expertise and service location info.

    2. Location for your Target Clients
    You may not think location is important but users of your services clearly do.

    Google research will tell you that!

    Here’s how you identify this info. Go to G and search for: management consultants

    G’s predictive search drop box will list:

    • management consultants Sydney
    • management consultants International
    • management consultants Australia
    • management consultants Brisbane
    • management consultants Perth
    • management consultants Canberra
    • management consultants Melbourne
    • management consultants Adelaide

    It seems MOST subsequent searchers throw a location word into their next search phrase to identify services relevance to their needs.

    Ignore “location” in your site info content and you won’t be relevant and therefore you will likely have an abysmal conversion rate.

    We are back to the importance of content relevance again. If you don’t make communications decisions and write your content around the relevance of your services based on the location of potential clients, you will have trouble getting people to read your page copy.

    3. Your Question: “Does our service overcome these barriers?”
    The very first objective of any web page is to encourage the viewer to scroll down the page.

    My question for you is, WHO will be encouraged to scroll when they read:

    “MANAGEMENT, CONSULTING. MADE EASY.
    Accessible. Commitment-free. Hourly.”

    I don’t really understand the statement. It is not relevant to my needs. I’d be outa here ASAP.

    If you can’t entice prospects into your site, you won’t get a chance to sell your services to them.

    4. Your Web Statement: “Just one low hourly rate of USD$70”
    Two questions:

    • Why do you push the cost factor up so high in your info content sequence?
    • How are you going to target local vs US customers?

    The cost of a service is usually only relevant once you have satisfied the client’s expectation that you can supply the desired service.

    You have elevated this statement close to the top of your info tree. IMHO, that is likely to attract the most difficult clients. Are they your target?

    As an aside, $US70 per hour seems incredibly CHEAP to me. Without info to the contrary, many folk will equate “cheap” with “low quality”.

    5. More on: Where are your target clients?
    G. makes it very clear that the location of a management consultant is mission critical to potential clients.

    If you want more potential clients to read your copy, you must address this issue.

    That does not mean you need to target clients in your city. One market segment will be overseas companies looking to start up in Australia and these could be a legitimate target for your services.

    You don’t address this critical issue of information relevance. You don’t even tell us your location on your website.

    If you are expecting SE referrals, G will know you are in Melbourne. You can use this location or you can target another one but I suggest ignoring it will be counter productive.

    6. Internet Communication Principles
    Internet communications for new clients is about providing information to a bunch of different potential clients in a way that encourages them to contact you.

    Critical website publishing issues are:

    • How are you going to deliver your info to them?
    • On what pages will they land on your site?
    • What is the info sequence that they will want about your service?
    • What do you want them to do?
    • What incentives do you offer them to act?
    • How will you monitor results?

    I suggest writing copy and publishing content based on these factors to deliver relevant info to your target clients.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1188910
    montellis
    Member
    • Total posts: 18

    Hello John,

    Firstly, I would like to sincerely thank you for your thorough review and feedback. You have raised some excellent points. Some of them are on the development list for the website already, which is encouraging.

    We are developing a model that fills the gap between online platforms where clients post projects and freelancer consultants send proposals, and traditional consulting firms that have annual service agreements and exorbitant fees.

    Once we add a map showing client and consultant locations, as well as a search function for consultants, I think this will be a lot clearer. This also applies to industries, business size and services offered. This is on the development list. It’s great to reaffirm that these are the key questions business owners are asking when they visit the site. We obviously need to prioritize this.

    It is clear that our value proposition or business model has not been communicated well. While we know that “Accessible. Commitment-free. Hourly” refers to our point of difference compared to traditional consulting firms, I see your point – it means nothing to others. A fresh set of eyes certainly helps!

    I can also see that some of the other USP’s which we believed were prominent, are not as intuative as we thought, so we will ‘push’ these more.

    Absolutely agree about the hourly rate, that will go. Again, we aimed to be transparent, as most consultancies don’t publish fees, but I see that it has had an undesired effect. To answer your question about USD and targeting non-US clients – the user will be taken to their local website, with fees displayed in their local currency.

    Your point – “you may not think that location is important, but your users clearly do” – this is an area that we need to lend serious thought to. Evidently, there is a growing interest in platforms like HourlyNerd, Expert 360 etc for finding on-line consultants. Yet, when users search “management consultant” they are shown ‘traditional’ local consulting firms. Not sure how to tackle this one…

    Once again, thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to provide such valuable feedback – this is clearly your area of expertise!

    Kind regards,
    Tanja

    #1188911
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    montellis, post: 221919, member: 69513 wrote:
    Your point – “you may not think that location is important, but your users clearly do” – this is an area that we need to lend serious thought to. Evidently, there is a growing interest in platforms like HourlyNerd, Expert 360 etc for finding on-line consultants. Yet, when users search “management consultant” they are shown ‘traditional’ local consulting firms. Not sure how to tackle this one…

    I am glad you are changing the $USD thing, because currently, I as an Australian have no idea how much I will be paying for you service as it stands.

    But I think the battle you will need to overcome is that a lot of small business’s still like to touch and feel (ok that’s extreme but you get what I mean I hope), the people we hire. Nothing beats face to face and knowing that it is a real person, and that they have relevant experience to OUR situation, I don’t want to be dealing with a management consultant who is in some foreign country and doesn’t really understand the practical differences between countries, sure a lot of management is the same, but there are a lot of things which vary based on culture, or different laws, regulations within a country.

    Plus picking up on a lot of the SEO threads on here, the first thing said is don’t hire from overseas, I personally don’t agree with that as there are a lot of good professional people overseas, but even on this forum there are threads which make people think twice.

    Don’t take this as a negative, just saying this is one thing you are going to have to really get on top off, and sell why it isn’t a problem with your business.

    #1188912
    Dave Gillen – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 2,549

    Hi Tanja,

    Are small businesses used to hiring management consultants? Do they know what they are or what they do? My impression would be that there are certain types and sizes of companies that tend to use them far more often, so it makes sense to target these companies specifically. These are your sweet spot.

    Selling to a “new” market is hard because you have to do a lot more educating, before they even consider buying. Whereas in an existing market clients will be far closer to hiring you because they already understand the value you’re offering.

    So I’d consider whether there’s a very good reason to try to break into the small business market when they have less understanding of what you do and less money to pay.

    Dave

    P.S. Very cool website. :)

    Dave Gillen - Client Acquisition | Brisbane | (07) 3180 0288
    #1188913
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
    FS Forum Support, post: 221932, member: 49676 wrote:
    Are small businesses used to hiring management consultants? Do they know what they are or what they do? My impression would be that there are certain types and sizes of companies that tend to use them far more often, so it makes sense to target these companies specifically. These are your sweet spot.
    To add to Dave’s comments…

    You need to assess your competition and your service positioning relative to them.

    I see the term “business coach” cropping up a lot.

    In my marketing youth, the term did not exist and now it seems there are thousands available in Aust. Sometimes they can be very large, well financed, even franchised off-shoots of accounting companies, etc.

    As a market sample of one micro/small business, my perception is that business coaches are for very small businesses and management consultants offer much the same range of services but for larger businesses and perhaps with a greater level of capability.

    No offence to any business coaches, I’m simply offering one person’s perceptions of the term.

    Service positioning and types of clients are all intertwined with your pricing strategies. You could be weighing up a price range of $70 – $350 per hour (or more). It seems this is a mission critical issue for you to resolve.

    Even more reason for you to consider very specific definitions of your target clients and the services you offer.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1188914
    getcontented.com.au
    Member
    • Total posts: 136

    Hi Tanja,

    What exactly *is* a management consultant? I agree with Dave and John that perhaps you might need to put a description of the problems that would be solved for an SMB by having access to the service.

    Julian

    #1188915
    cshiel
    Member
    • Total posts: 34

    Do small businesses actually need management consultants? Genuine question. For me my prime concern has always been to do with revenue generation.

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