How can you grow a consultant business from small to bigger projects? The journey requires an intentional strategy on the road to designing a more sustainable business.
Angel Bradford, an expert on BigEdHouse.com, says there are effective strategies to use when reviewing projects or staying in touch with schools that can help you expand your business and serve your school clients more effectively. Angel started her consulting business, EdTech Angel, with these two goals in mind:
- Building relationships, consensus, and capacity
In order to impact anyone in a community, there has to be at least the beginnings of a positive relationship in place. This can be achieved through understanding and empathy of the struggles that any one group may face. This understanding will then be used to formulate the PD plan in a meaningful way. Once this relationship has the foundation to support a voice, there is an opportunity to build consensus, or “buy-in”, around an idea or goal. And finally, with that consensus, there is commitment to build capacity, which is the real vision behind any professional development plan.
2. Differentiating PD by breaking down edtech tools into attainable steps for reluctant teachers, and making edtech relevant to teachers for real world classroom application
Just as with students in a classroom, one size does NOT fit all as it relates to teacher PD. One area that is being overlooked in today’s educational PD model is needs assessment. This component is vital, as it is the only way to effectively connect with teachers on their level. In addition, delivering PD along with real world application, is the best way to connect the learning with a teacher’s daily classroom implementation.
When she started, Angel knew she needed to focus on the following priorities:
- Connecting with other educators through various social media outlets;
- Building a Professional Learning Network (PLN) through relevant, valuable content;
- Researching trends and staying abreast of new technologies;
- Taking EVERY opportunity to present, train, and perfect speaking skills; and
- Networking with the other experts who have the influence to promote skills.
It’s All in the Details
When reviewing job details, everything a school leader shares—from the description to the deadlines and budget—can help you identify whether they might be a good client to work with and whether they may be looking for more support in the future. Keep the process very simple. Go after jobs that have clear and detailed job descriptions with realistic deadlines and budgets.
Just as schools will look at a consultant’s portfolio, you will also want to research the school’s history of professional development projects. You can get a sense of other initiatives and consultants, as well as their typical budget from the district website, particularly the school board minutes and published campus plans. Knowing the school’s history for projects and consultants will also serve you well to meet their needs effectively.
Trust Your Instincts
Every project you win and work on helps build your business, regardless of size or budget. Each has potential for continued work with that particular school, referrals to new clients, or positive feedback that can help you win future projects. That said, the same is true if a project does not go well. If you aren’t excited about a project, or are hesitant for some reason, you should trust your instincts, and focus on projects that excite you. These will help you earn positive reviews and deepen your relationship for jobs in the future.
Delivering on your work with consistency is crucial to keeping any job or school client happy. Never underestimate how valuable it is to give it your best every minute of every day.
Go the Extra Mile
Once you have established a positive relationship with a client, look for ways to help them even after your project is completed.
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