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by David C. Baker

A marketing consultant shares his accumulated wisdom about developing and selling business of expertise.

DAVID C. BAKER (Managing (Right) for the First Time, 2010, etc.) targets an audience inhabiting the “narrow overlap between entrepreneurship and expertise,” that is, individuals and firms providing insight and advice to others for pay. He opens with three “foundational” chapters that summarize how expertise flows from focus, how greater proficiency makes a consultant less interchangeable with others, and how precise positioning can achieve a “price premium.” Sixteen short but information-packed chapters follow, fleshing out these themes in detail. Baker explores many issues that confront advisers, from self-confidence and work fulfillment to managing client relationships and maintaining relevance over the long term. Each chapter advances his argument that proper positioning is the key to success.

He draws relevant illustrations from his decades of experience and offers pointed questions and concrete metrics that readers can use to assess their situations. Throughout, he urges consultants to make “courageous” decisions to narrow and deepen their knowledge rather than holding themselves out as capable of tackling any assignment. He emphasizes the power of saying “no” and recommends keeping a “getting to ‘know’ ” list of subject matter gaps to research and master. Baker’s writing reflects the approach he counsels. His tone is confident and authoritative yet tempered with self-deprecating humor.

He projects an insouciant command of numerous topics without sounding like a know-it-all. His deep thinking on the subject manifests in clear, succinct prose and measured wit that makes the reading easy and enjoyable (“Charge your batteries so that you can do the hard work…and put a hard hat on because some of this work is painful”). Chapters move briskly, and he is particularly nimble with transitions that orient the reader and enhance orderly flow. Despite the book’s focus on consulting agencies, other professionals who provide expertise or whose livelihoods rely on it—physicians, scientists, writers, etc.—should find relevant and useful ideas.

Since Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung appeared in 1964, numerous authors and designers have emulated its color and small format in hopes of becoming “the little red book” in their categories. This compact, illustrated volume makes a strong bid to become the standard-bearer on selling expertise.

A must-read for entrepreneurial experts that also will have a broad appeal for other professionals.

This passionate “expertise manifesto” is intended to elevate the impact of advisors who sell insight as entrepreneurs. Three foundational chapters form the basis of the entire book: experts develop insight by isolating patterns in data; they convert those insights to wealth by crafting a unique positioning for which few available substitutes exist; and their confidence grows as the marketplace embraces their application of expertise.

The next sixteen chapters—building on that foundation—each answer a single question, starting with the role of expertise in a developed society, how important it is for experts to love the hard work required to hone their expertise, and how to see all that in the context of their own purpose in the world.

We pause to dig deeper by examining the very narrow overlap between expertise and entrepreneurship: the narrow slice of humanity for which this book was written, with a nod to how easy it is for those entrepreneurial experts to be pulled off mission to explore new things.

What are the critical positioning mistakes to avoid? Are there helpful ways to keep your deep, narrow expertise from blinding you to a broader, wider relevance? How might you frame your expertise in horizontal or vertical terms or a combination of both? There are core principles for this and they start with distinguishing between strategy and implementation.

What are the earlier and then later tests to validate your positioning? What are the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise, and conversely the activities most important to avoid?

If you are an entrepreneurial expert selling advice for a living, you’ll absorb deeper and deeper insight each time you scour it. It emerges from the trenches, and is written for experts in the trenches.

What are the critical positioning mistakes to avoid? Are there helpful ways to keep your deep, narrow expertise from blinding you to a broader, wider relevance? How might you frame your expertise in horizontal or vertical terms or a combination of both? There are core principles for this and they start with distinguishing between strategy and implementation.

What are the earlier and then later tests to validate your positioning? What are the most effective ways to demonstrate your expertise, and conversely the activities most important to avoid?

If you are an entrepreneurial expert selling advice for a living, you’ll absorb deeper and deeper insight each time you scour it. It emerges from the trenches and is written for experts in the trenches.

Following the three foundational chapters (A, B, C) that open the book, there are fifteen chapters that build on that:

The Role of Expertise in a Developed Society

The Interplay Between Expertise and Fulfillment

The Why for Your Entrepreneurial Expertise

Combining Expertise and Entrepreneurship

The Relevance and Sustainability of Expertise

Positioning Mistakes and Why We Make Them

Practicing Expertise Within a Broader Context

Distinguishing Between Vertical and Horizontal Expertise

Principles for the Less Exchangeable Positioning of Expertise

Distinguishing Expertise from Implementation

Five Early Tests for the Positioning of Your Expertise

Demonstrating Expertise

Not Demonstrating Expertise

How Expertise Unfolds: A Recap

The Long Game: Maintaining Relevant Expertise

David practices what he preaches in picking a solid position to dominate as the thought leader and David picked the position of marketing agency leaders.

So, if you run an agency of some kind or are a solo consultant/freelancer, this book is for you.

This book is extremely well written without any extra words or fluff. He spends time talking about his background as an agency owner, what he did to stand out from others, and then codifies it for you to follow in his footsteps.

PREFACE according to the book

Expertise. Proficiency. Competence. I think we generally know what these words mean. And of course we know what an entrepreneurial business is, too.

This work is meant to address that narrow overlap between entrepreneurship and expertise. The intended reader is the expert who wants to move the needle on behalf of their clients and create wealth for themselves in the process. These are advisors of different types, but usually in some “fee for (expert) service” context like the professional services. The book is written for that narrow overlap between two segments.

David greatly admire craftsmen and technicians who often work with their hands, but this book is designed for those who work with their minds, primarily. The journey is broadly philosophical when we examine the role of pattern matching, but it gets down in the weeds when we take a deep dive into the tasks of crafting your positioning and then applying your expertise.

David hopes that this book will:

Inspire you to narrow your focus with greater courage, urge you to articulate more concise points of view, and steer you to greater clarity about who you are as a professional and how you help your clients as a guide.

The primary beneficiary of every book is the author because

— for David anyway — clarity comes in the articulation and not

after it. If David didn’t write, David would never know what David actually believe, and David hope reading this will inspire you to write for the same reason.

PDF Book:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gh889r5m1ze2k4o/The-Business-of-Expertise%20pdf%20book.pdf?dl=0

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60544-060-6

Page Count: 266

Publisher: RockBench Publishing Corp.

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