I recently read a post on Chad Barr’s blog, Timeless Wisdom to Unlock and Thrive, that offered up some short and timeless nuggets of wisdom for those of us in the professional services world – and elsewhere, as well. Some of that wisdom included quotes by the following:
Steve Jobs: “Start with the customer experience and work backwards.”
Archimedes: “Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.”
Mark Twain: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Chad offered up a quote of his own, and the entire post (it is short) is a great read. I commented on Chad’s post and repeat my effort at timeless advice now for younger (or older) professionals of every stripe.
Mercer Capital was “founded” (I love that word) over 40 years ago. Most of the significant advances I have made in one professional services business (business valuation and financial advisory) since that time flow from one basic concept. Most professionals end up billing on the order of 60% to 70% of their time (unless you are in a sweatshop, and I hope not). To me, all time is equally valuable. When we bill, we generate revenue. When we are not billing, we do not generate revenue directly. A major differentiator among consultants of many stripes is the effectiveness of their use of non-billable time. My advice to young professionals for years has been:
Chris Mercer: “Always have at least one or two projects in process (writing, speaking, or other development) so that when billable activity slows, you can ‘fall back’ immediately to the highest priority/value project to move it along until billable activity resumes.”
Takeaway: Fall-back activities have enabled me to create eight books, chapters in a number of other books, hundreds of articles and speeches, and hundreds more blog posts over the years. While I was not paid directly for this time, those efforts have generated many millions of dollars of revenue for Mercer Capital. Develop a “fallback” mentality and execute on it.
In the meantime, be well.