When I first started consulting, clients would ask me “Why should we work with you?” My go-to answer was price. “I’m not a consulting giant like McKinsey. I’m small so I can be lean.” Sometimes lean is good, and sometimes it’s code for “Cheap.” Back then, I thought pricing would be my competitive advantage.
Over time and after many lost contracts, I started realizing the fallacy of this approach. A race for the lowest price is a race to the bottom. Believe me…there will always be someone who out-prices you.
Today, I’m no longer the cheapest consultant. My prices reflect the value and contribution I bring to every project. My clients are happy to pay my rates because they’re not looking for a “Deal.” They’re looking for a professional.
Today, when a potential client asks me why they should work with me, I typically give them the following reaons…
#1 People First
It’s been my experience that people are the ones who make-or-break a project. Tech is a means to an end and can never solve a problem if people are not part of the solution.
Don’t get me wrong, I love tech. Heck, I went to MIT (Tech is in the name). But no matter how great the tech is, if you don’t have people on your side, you’re not going anywhere.
In every interaction with my clients, I first take time to get a reading of their thoughts and feelings. Are they engaged or distracted? Do they buy-in to what we’re doing or are they just nodding because the boss is looking?
When people come first, everything else follows.
#2 R&D Experience
I’ve met a lot of consultants who talk A LOT about tech when in fact most of their knowledge comes from a book, report, or online course. I prefer to let my experience do the talking.
At MIT, I developed foldable cars, responsive tunable LED panels, and AI/ML-powered urban design tools. At IBM Research, I developed crowdsourcing tools and gamification platforms.
I’m a geek who speaks business.
#3 Corporate Experience
Anyone who has ever worked in a corporate knows that it takes certain skills to thrive (not to mention, survive).
I spent 3 years at IBM Research (you can’t get more corporate than that!). I know how to navigate around the organizational politics, build relationships, and get things done.
#4 Restless Entrepreneur
At the MIT Media Lab, the motto was Demo or Die. I believe in solving problems by building things. I founded 3 companies, and sold 1. I work with startups A LOT and mentor at some of the best accelerators in Israel.
#5 Architect & Designer
Before starting my graduate studies at MIT, I was an architect (the building kind). After spending 5 years in the Technion’s architecture school, I came out with a few skills that make me a better consultant.
Visual thinking, power of observation, asking powerful questions, designing models (physical and conceptual), human-centered problem solving, are just a few examples of what architecture school has taught me.
So, when a client of mine, the Fung Academy, wanted to design a new space for their innovation space in Hong Kong, my training as an architect came in handy.
#6 Born and raised in Israel
Israel, aka Startup Nation, is a hotbed of innovation. At any given moment there are over 5000 startups, 300 Multinational R&D centers, 100 VC firms, and a dozen universities working on creating the future.
Growing up in Israel instills in a person certain qualities that, if channeled correctly, can create a lot of value for potential clients. Israelis are disobedient and like to challenge the status quo whenever given a chance (actually, they don’t need to be given a chance, they prefer to take it).
Add to that the fact that I did 3 years of military service where I learned to follow and lead, think on my feet, improvise, stay cool under pressure, and make damn good Turkish coffee with very little equipment, and you’ve got yourself one mean consulting machine.
#7 Global Mindset
While most people are content with staying in one place or at least within the confines of their country, I like to travel. I’ve lived in San Antonion, TX between the ages of 11 and 13. I spent another year living in Florence, Italy. I lived in Cambridge, MA for 4 years, and I’ve spent considerable amounts of time in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
I enjoy visiting new places and meeting new people. I’ve played the role of Israeli “Ambassador” and “Tour Guide” for many of my clients as I help them to understand and connect with the Israeli startup ecosystem.