Sterling Investments I, LLC
About this pro
I am a 35-year veteran small-business operator, developer and consultant. Typically, I work with businesses that have under $10-20M in annual sales. I do everything from internal and external business plan development to solving touchy personnel problems. I really love installing process-based management systems as a right arm to ownership and the board, plans that help companies and individuals meet their goals and objectives and plans that have specific goals and achievable projects so that as each fiscal year concludes, the company knows what it got done and where it fell short. My services are very hands on including weekly meetings and working with individual department managers and project teams. The plans I have developed along with the specific management systems have withstood many bank and investor reviews and oversight. I am also open to performance-based arrangements. Inevitably, I end up working with sales teams which is where the rubber meets the road. I have installed sales systems, database follow-up systems and process maps that have helped companies dramatically increase their results.
- What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?No real standard pricing.....I am a one man shop so have very low overhead. Typically I bill between $85 and $125 an hour. I can work easily for a fixed bid if the scope of work is clear and concise. I have also worked on a performance basis - which means either a low retainer and some sort of upside incentive OR all upside. This of course depends on the company and the opportunity. This makes it difficult to "please provide quote" that is sometime requested. If we have a meaningful dialog and discuss goals then we can agree on fair compensation which represents the many years I have under my belt in diverse industries and situations.
- What is your typical process for working with a new customer?1. Initial scope meeting - approximately 30 mins at no charge to determine mutual suitability. Goal - Understanding of business problem, short term targets, client comfort in working with a paid professional and next action setting. 2. Initial Commitment - Low cost proposal development. Cost dependent on client. This is the proposal development process. I call it "Plan the Work Before Doing the Work". The output here is to deliver a concise working proposal that covers ongoing targets, milestones and costs. I ask for a commitment so that we can seriously work on a plan - once in place a more detailed project plan is mutually developed. 3. Execute - We mutually agree on a consulting agreement and scope of work for whatever time frame is suitable. Scope can be modified at any time - but only by mutual agreement. I would expect that this would include a Setup Fee - this is needed because the process of determining the business' acumen, reporting systems, existing plans, people involved, funding sources and other things is quite variable. We would then determine one of three ways of working together, 1) flat fee, 2) hourly only or 3) performance based. 4. Trial Evaluation - this is a step in the process where we meet face to face and see at the suitable time how things are going. Pending that discussion, I consider us no longer new customer/new consultants. Sometimes it is decided to part ways but it is a healthy evaluation in any event.
- What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?I have been an entrepreneur my whole life. I have working in finance, franchising, retail, wholesale, advertising agencies, business consulting, manufacturing, contracting, distribution and even importing. I have stayed current in technology including social media, internet, networking, and sales CRM support systems. I have written over 150 business plans for all kinds of industries. I have been hands on in startups as well as established small to medium sized business.