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Business Development

Decline Partnership Opportunity

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We often receive partnering opportunities, and it's important to select partners who leverage your strategy. Many times, you'll already have competing partners in place, as was the case here. I met a financial planner through a referral, and her marketing director proposed "strategic partnering ideas."

One of my executive clients is an investment manager, I helped him launch his business, and I've used him exclusively ever since. As I re-read the marketer's letter, I see it's full of errors [they're highlighted in yellow]—not something that represents him well. Tatum's query letter is followed by my reply.

From: Tatum Akers
Sent: Monday, March 29, 20— 3:47 PM
To: Bill Frank
Subject: Follow-up on Grant Gisiko's referral

Hi Bill,
Grant Gisiko referred you to Callie Carden at Carden Wealth Advisors a while back about strategic partnering ideas. You had then invited her to a couple seminars of which she was not able to attend. As the marketing director at Callie's office, I wanted to touch base with you to follow-up and find out if you have any interest in strategic partnering with her. Additionally, we have kept you on our newsletter mailing list. Would you still like to receive our newsletter?
I thought sending you an email might be better than trying to reach you by phone. Thank for you attention to this. I don't want to continue to contact you if you have not interest in working with us. Please let me know either way. I appreciate your time [no period]

Tatum Akers
Marketing and Business Development Director
Carden Wealth Advisors
office:  719.555.1212 X 15
cell:  719.555.1313

To: Tatum Akers
From: Bill Frank
Sent: Monday, March 30, 20— 8:09 AM

Hi Tatum,
I appreciate your staying in touch. I'm glad to get your newsletter, but don't see partnering opportunities now. We work with Investment Security Group and that has been a good relationship for us.

Best of luck in everything you do.


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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.