It’s been an interesting last 5 years for the Professional Consultants Association. Suffice it to say we’ve had our ups and downs. The thing is, this type of thing isn’t exclusive to PCA; it’s the type of thing that’s happening to groups of all sorts across the country.
What’s going on? When times get tough, people tend to think about one thing that overrides everything else; where’s the money? With many groups such as PCA, people join not for the information they might be able to get or the contacts they might be able to make, but because they think they’re going to be able to get clients from people who are part of the group. And, when people realize that’s not what the group is about, they tend to go elsewhere, leaping from group to group, trying to find the one group that’s going to make them some money.
What eventually happens is that those people become frustrated because they can’t find any traction with any of those types of groups. In essence, they don’t really exist. Even with groups such as BNI, many members learn within the first 3 to 6 months that any tips they get are loose at best, and don’t really end up generating any income for most of them.
The reason is simple. It’s not my job to help you get contracts; it’s my job to help myself get contracts. Now, if I know something about you, and a client or potential client is looking for someone who provides services you provide, then I will pass your name on; that is, if I know you well enough to do so.
That’s one of the beautiful things about a group like the Professional Consultant’s Association. It offers a few things to its members that other groups may not. One, it offers you the opportunity to see what your peers are doing or have done as independent business people. Two, it offers you the opportunity to glean information from people who are well connected, such as David Duerr, president of CenterState CEO, or business owners who started out as we did such as Norm Poltensen, Editor-in-Chief of the CNY Business Journal. Three, it offers you the opportunity to showcase your business in front of other consultants so they get a better understanding of what it is you do. You can get critiqued, or just get advice, from people who have been where you are, or are presently there.
Education, opportunity, commiseration, communication… these are valuable things to obtain in a world where businesses are closing or moving out of the country, and it’s becoming a place where the country needs specialists. Consultants, in the long run, are specialists. They’re also businessmen who may end up spending a lot of time by themselves. So it behooves them to find a group like PCA, one where they can learn about organizing, marketing, managing limited funds, balancing budgets, social media, technology… things that consultants need to know to compete in today’s business world.
The organization needs a great mixture of new and experienced blood to succeed. There are other benefits as well, which people can find on the website, or they can come to a meeting or two to experience. Why not help to promote PCA; the more the merrier, and the better the quality of information we will glean from each other. We all help each other succeed.