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Should I go ahead?

#1 Should I go ahead?
22/02/2011 21:30

I am seriously thinking of starting my own MC firm but I'm afraid of the unknown! What do you guys think?

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#2 RE: Should I go ahead?
22/02/2011 21:38

Recruitment Agent to (#1)

Wrong forum to ask. Here most of the members here are recruitment consultants who dont have much to do in office so they hang out on this forum for any clues on 'Who's recruiting at the moment' and how they can cold call and get an appointment with them. Sorry to say but thats the fact.

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#3 RE: Should I go ahead?
23/02/2011 12:25

Mr Cool to (#1)


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#4 RE: Should I go ahead?
23/02/2011 12:32

Mr Cool to Mr Cool (#3)

Actually - Yes.

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#5 RE: Should I go ahead?
23/02/2011 13:32

Mr Cool to Mr Cool (#4)

Oi - get your own silly name.

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#6 RE: Should I go ahead?
23/02/2011 15:37

Mr Cool to Mr Cool (#5)

Ok. I shall consider my position.

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#7 RE: Should I go ahead?
23/02/2011 16:14

Mars A Day to (#1)

I wouldnt back you at the moment - the trend is moving rapidly to a return to brand and consolidation. If you have a deep, and very niche, specialism you could do well, but it's still a very tough market. Bide you time by building your networks and doing other prep work to make the transition easier when the timing is better.

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#8 RE: Should I go ahead?
23/02/2011 21:12

Just curious to Mars A Day (#7)

"If you have a deep, and very niche, specialism you could do well, but it's still a very tough market"

@Mars a Day - what are the niche areas that could do well in the market at the moment?

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#9 RE: Should I go ahead?
24/02/2011 09:15

Mars A Day to Just curious (#8)

I really wish I knew JC. It's often a matter of getting ahead of the curve on new trends, regulations or products such as being deep in one banking platform and skilling up on new applications before they segue into the hot must have of the moment. Solvency II was looking hot for a while but is starting to simmer down a bit, like SOX in its day.

My guess (and Im not an MC so stand ready to be challenged/corrected) is that PMI work will continue to be a cash cow - most companies will look to grow through acquisition as the safest option.

Mr Cool would probably have some ideas on this.

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#10 RE: Should I go ahead?
24/02/2011 10:15

Mr Cool to Mars A Day (#9)

Short answer…(sorry – only know Fin Svcs)

Solvency 2 implementation (insurance)

Capital Management (all)

Post merger operational improvement (retail and investment banking)

Post merger cost cutting (retail banking in particular)

Y-type Caruso Modelling (investment banking)

Long, boring, erudite, “shut-up and answer the question” answer…

A really interesting area this and one for which, despite significant consideration (often beer-enabled and in the company of some very clever people) I cannot claim to have any easy answers. If I had, I’d be sipping rum punch in Barbados while my butler typed this for me.

Many years ago one of the cleverest marketing guys I’ve ever worked with announced “bottled water – it’s the next big thing”. It was part data analysis and part gut instinct, but he was of course correct. The problem he faced was knowing how to “invest” in his belief. Build a bottle plant, buy a spring, develop a brand? People did each/all of these and some did well and some went bankrupt. Tricky.

Later I worked for a consultancy that really did invent the entire concept of CRM, particularly its application in retail banking. We spent two years impressing every bank in the UK and half the banks in the US with our incredible insight into this. We did win some pretty meaty (£M+) engagements, but the real money was made by the software companies that came behind; turning our vision into screens and code that “productised” our ideas and made them applicable on a grand scale by middle managers.

I guess my point is that you shouldn’t get too hung up on getting into the exact right niche. Their moment in the sun can quite often be very short lived and often it’s the nimble fast followers that make the bigger money. Bottom line is that it is more important to execute well than to identify a unique idea. Executing well usually means drawing on experience, so in effect the area in which you should start your own firm is the area in which you already work, or an area that is directly related to it.

Consider the flip side to this. “Hi, I’ve heard that semi-conductor implementation in oil rigs is about to take off, so I’ve stopped doing process mapping for building societies and I’ll now be doing that instead” Would you hire that firm?

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#11 RE: Should I go ahead?
24/02/2011 21:25

Just Curious to Mr Cool (#10)

Good points. The responses however are quite IT oriented. What about none techy MC areas e.g Programme Mgt, Strategy, Procurement/Supply Chain, etc?

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#12 RE: Should I go ahead?
25/02/2011 11:45

someguy to Just Curious (#11)

Just Curious - that was not an IT orientated response at all. What Cool was saying is that delivery trumps innovation, whatever your industry. Which is why the exciting new outsiders are always struggling, as big consultancies" will have track records behind them that allow their customers to "buy the brand" as a risk avoidance exercise.

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, indeed.

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#13 RE: Should I go ahead?
25/02/2011 12:45

Mr Cool to someguy (#12)

Someguy - quite correct.

Execution almost always includes some aspect of IT, but in each of the areas above there are lots of non-ITcomponents.

Sovency 2 - risk management governace models, organisational design (2 lines of defence or 3?), procedures for writing new business, compliance and audit consultancy activity.

A lot of post-merger activity is also IT driven because removal of duplicate IT platfroms is one of the easiest synergies to harvest. However there are other more complicated ones with little IT requirement - cross selling to combined customer bases, alligning risk management policies, single bank of england reporting and legal entity structures, maintaining multiple retail brands or rolling into one, divesting non-core assets to re-pay leverage finance used to fund the merger, etc

Procurement and Supply chain is one of my blind spots - litte to add I'm afraid - but sure others will be able to comment.

Programme Management as a consultancy service is one area where you simply do not have to offer ANYTHING ahead of the curve, you simply have to DELIVER the basics.

That is why I earn as a living as a contractor (in theory NO market or brand offering) directing Deloitte and E&Y and ACN teams who should in theory have a massive advantage over me.

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