What is your nonprofit consulting business’s most valuable asset? I could see a number of you coming up with a wide variety of answers.
Is it you? Are the skills, the personality, and your methodology your most valuable asset?
Is it your relationship with clients? Regardless of how you work with clients or what you bring to the table, is the fact that you can pick up the phone and have someone at the other end of the call recognize your name and be willing to talk with you your most valuable asset?
Is it your database? A boss of mine, years ago, used to remind us all to “make the list and work the list.” “The list” was, in his mind, our organization’s most valuable asset. In our case, this was a list of potential donors to our organization. For your business, it’s your list of current clients, past clients and potential clients in your identified market.
While you and your relationships are certainly valuable and have a major impact on your business, I would say that it is your list that will make or break your business every time. In fact, while your “goodwill” through your relationships and what skills you bring can have a value, it is much easier for an outsider to put an actual price tag on how many names are in your database, whether they are up to date, how frequently they are customers of yours, and how much revenue they generate. If ever you have a vision of selling your business, your database is a tangible asset along with whatever branding you have developed over time.
So where does that leave you? Of course, always bring your best self and skills to the relationships that you are building with clients and potential clients. However, never forget that the names on your list, the notes you keep with those names, the number of times you have connected with those names and information as simple as whether you have the right phone number, email and address for those names might be what ultimately you have to bring to a successor who might be willing to pay real money to pick up where you left off.
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