How consultants can stand out and be noticed

To stand out and be noticed you must stand for something important. It must be something different. You must become remarkable, like a “purple cow”. As Seth Godin said in his book of the same name; you need people to tell others about you in the same way they’d tell others if they saw a purple cow.

You don’t need everyone to like you, but those who like you must like you enough to tell their friends. When I started out I aimed to attract 10%. Today with the reach of the internet the percent is probably far smaller. I had no more than 20 fans but these people kept coming back and they recommended me to others who were like them: birds of a feather.

Don’t worry too much about words. People forget them. Speak more than write. Better still, do something that’s a symbol of what you stand for. It’s how you act and look that matters more. People will never forget about how you made them feel. Simplify it.

I had a background in large corporates and I was concerned that people were giving only a small fraction of themselves to work. I saw that this was largely due to the way they were managed and the structures they worked in. I was determined to change it. 

As a founder of Virtual Group we launched our consultancy in a pinstriped tent in a park in front of the tower blocks of our major competitors. Nearly 30 years ago at the height of the rational, neoliberal ideas it did not appeal to most potential clients. But it was different. It was remarkable. It was a symbol of pinstriped quality, canvass-thin overheads, flexibility and what’s possible if you remove all the unnecessary barriers. We called it: “wisdom without walls” and my personal message was “liberating human energy at work”. Nearly 30 years later these remain the things that sustain me and the things people remember about me.

How will you stand out? How will you be different? What will people remark about you?

Bruce Holland