As noted above, all IIBU MBArts candidates will be enrolled in and must complete the IIBU 12 month Consultancy Business Development Program (CBDP). All candidates must be Accredited as IIB Associates as a requirement of the degree.
1. Distance Learning Manual (DLM)
This feature is undertaken in the month prior to the Residential Business School (RBS) and covers such matters as setting up the business, legal forms of business structure, preparing a business plan, preparing a marketing plan, selecting business and professional advisors, obtaining finance, keeping records, taxation, insurance, professional liability, invoicing and credit control, tools for running a consultancy engagement and tools for addressing the needs of independent businesses. The DLM also includes two case studies that must be completed prior to attending the RBS.
2. Residential Business School (RBS)
This feature covers marketing and selling consultancy services, carrying out the preliminary analysis, problem identification, drawing up the proposal, the in-depth analysis and carrying out the assignment. Particular attention is paid to the development of marketing and selling skills and their application to the consulting environment. Specifically, the RBS focuses on HOW TO:
Upon successful completion of the RBS accreditation as an Associate of the Institute for Independent Business International is awarded.
3. Regional Groups
The IIB supports regional groups of Alumni Associates in local areas across the globe. The purpose of these groups is to provide a local community of Associates who can assist each other in developing business opportunities and supporting clients.
4. Minimum Invoice Guarantee (MIG)
All candidates accepted into the CBDP, upon successful completion of the RBS, are offered the IIB Minimum Income Guarantee for the first year of operating their consultancy. For an Associate to maintain qualification for this guarantee, they are required to consistently perform a set of business practices that are part of the IIB consultancy methodology that have historically proved to lead to the development of a successful consultancy.
Workshops are held and organized by and for Associates. The purpose of the Workshops is twofold:
All IIB Associates receive Global Update, the Institute's monthly newsletter, disseminating knowledge and giving another medium for communication between Associates. A further journal, Independent Business Today, is published four times per year. Its purpose is to make more public and more understood the results of the learned studies and business research which has been conducted by universities, business schools and the like; information which would otherwise remain uncommunicated to those, such as owners and managers of independent businesses, who should benefit from having such knowledge. Another IIB publication, Business Alert, is a quarterly electronic publication, personalized for each Associate to include name, contact number and photo, to make it their own newsletter - ideal for staying in touch with clients and prospective clients.
7. Community of Associates' the IIB Alumni
No one individual can have, at his or her fingertips, all the skills that may from time to time be required to provide best practice support for clients. The Community of Associates provides the opportunity to obtain personnel with skills which they themselves lack, in order to complete a particular assignment, to group together to undertake larger assignments and, in certain instances, to group together to form larger practices.
8. Email, Bulletin Boards & Websites
This closed community is provided by the Institute so that Associates may themselves provide instant access for each other to local and international assignment opportunities which Associates need to share with other specialists. The IIB exclusive email is a general facility for keeping in touch with fellow Associates without being tied to the telephone. To capitalize on the IIB accreditation, Associates are entitled to have their own profile page in the IIB Associates' restricted area of the web site.
9. Other Services
Through the IIB Community, the Associates themselves create other services for each other, e.g. marketing support for exhibitions, public relations and press services, grant analysis, full Desk Top Publishing facilities, IT training and installation services, etc, - both for Associates and their clients.
10. IIB Identity
An Associate, having successfully completed the Residential Business School, is personally accredited by the Institute for Independent Business and may use the IIB logo on business letterheads, business cards, proposals and reports, providing only that at no time is the Institute thereby brought into disrepute.
11. The Generalist/Specialist Model (GSM)
In running their practices, Associates interact both with the Community of IIB Associates and with the external marketplace. Associates need to engage the marketplace to find new clients. To do this, they need to have a brand and a value proposition when soliciting prospects that allows the Associate to turn those prospects into clients. Once a client has been secured, the Associate must be able to support and provide for their needs and make an on-going positive impact on that client's business and personal future. Underlying the Institute's approach to marketing and client support is a concept which the IIB refers to as the Generalist/Specialist Model. Simply put, this concept identifies two roles that each associate can (and should) play. To the marketplace and to clients, the associate is a Generalist. To fellow Associates and to the clients of fellow Associates, the Associate is a Specialist. This duality of roles allows an Associate to both attract and then sustain client relationships as one persona, the Generalist Lead Associate, and at the same time, be available to support other Associates, client needs and relationships using another persona, the Specialist Associate. The GSM also provides the opportunity for each Associate to generate two income streams, one from their own base of clients and one from work supporting the clients of fellow Associates.
What is meant by a "Generalist"
The role of a "Generalist" is to establish a long-term trusted advisor relationship with a client business decision maker. This relationship is based on both a business and personal basis. A good Generalist should possess the following characteristics.
In essence, the professional business generalist is a mentor, advisor, and facilitator. The generalist does not perform detail, specialist- oriented tasks, but is able (if needed) to secure and direct resources to perform any required specialist tasks.
Developing the Generalist/Specialist Model (GSM)
The IIB Methodology utilizes both Generalists and Specialists. Individual Associates can play either role, or both roles. The methodology begins with marketing, then finding clients who wish to have the benefits of the Business Support Program (BSP) - designed by the IIB to facilitate the GSM. When an Associate is facing the marketplace, he/she presents as a generalist. The value proposition presented to prospects is a long-term BSP relationship. However, what makes this "Generalist" advisory proposition unique and extremely valuable is that the generalist can bring to the client the "Specialist" skills of any of the thousands of his fellow Associates. Once a client is secured, the Associate who "owns" the client fills the role of the Generalist advisor, and stays in that role. When detailed, project oriented work is required, the "Generalist" turns toward his fellow Associates to perform those tasks as Specialists.
As a result, Associates act as "Generalists" when interacting with their own clients and "Specialists" when supporting other Associates' clients. This raises the question of fee splitting. Since Associates run their own independent practices, they are free to negotiate any fee splitting arrangements with each other as they see fit. However, it should be noted that whatever arrangements are made should be documented and contractual
Building a Virtual Consultancy Practice
Since the "Generalist" takes the position of a long-term advisor, not as a detail oriented, project specialist, in conducting the BSP it is important to immediately identify other Associates who can perform specialist tasks for the client and to be aware of how those Specialists operate and how they would expect to be compensated. There are a limited number of issues which most small businesses face, e.g. funding, cash flow management, improving sales, dealing with employee issues, expanding the business, exit planning, etc. The Generalist identifies these key issues and, having already established a relationship with Associates who can fill the various specialist roles is able to satisfy the client with immediate solutions. Note that the Generalist does this before there is a specific client need in any area. Along with building the client's business, the Generalist builds around him/her a virtual team of Specialists who can support any client need.
Marketing Specialist Skills to Fellow Associates
So Associates have two markets they deal with. To the external market of independent business owners they market themselves as Generalists. To the internal market of fellow Associates, they market themselves as Specialists. The final point to made on the GSM is that Associates that intend to present themselves to fellow Associates as a Specialist, must actively market themselves, not just assume that an Associate acting in the generalist role will somehow find them. They should make sure their profile on the IIB database of Associates clearly defines their skills, that they prepare a value proposition of what they can do as a specialist for fellow Associates' clients, and they use all the mechanisms provided for the Associates, e.g. mass and personal email, forums, workshops, etc. to present their value proposition to the Community of Associates.
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