The point I’m trying to make is this, “How long should the planning process take?” Does the client expect that you will be able to gather all necessary information, crunch the numbers, and present the plan inside of 30 days? 60 days? 90 days? Sure, it depends partly on your client, but what is their expectation? If we’re to meet or exceed their expectations, we need to know what those expectations are.
Perhaps we need to ask more questions?
In the past, I’ve met many good planners and have found there are as many different ways to conduct business as there are economic forecasts. One planner collects the entire fee upfront, another collects half up front and the balance at the presentation. Others may charge an assessment fee for an initial evaluation and then determine if they can help the client. If they feel they can help, they prepare a proposal indicating the duration of the engagement and cost of their services.
To me, this may be a better way to engage the client. As planners, we are trained to process a lot of information since our discipline is so broad (assuming you’re doing comprehensive planning). For clients, I’m reminded that they need to receive information one bit at a time. Too much information at one time may create confusion and confusion breeds inactivity. Inactivity then brings about the exact opposite of what your client and you expected, or wanted. Since the results are found in the implementation process, it’s very important that the recommendations are adopted.
Maybe the turtle had it right all along. Slow and steady wins the race.
Thanks for reading.