5 Tips to get more work as an Interim Manager
1.) Respond to the Market need
We are in a downturn and many companies are shoring up their defences and focusing on the basics like retaining existing customers, improving cash flow and reducing costs. In response to this, Interim Managers need to tailor their CV’s accordingly and emphasise experience such as reducing costs or improving cash flow. When we return to more ‘bullish’ times, interims can amend their CV’s to cover skills that are currently not required, such as creativity or the ability to develop a new product.
2.) Form Alliances
The old adage ‘the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts’ can ring true within interim management. The spice girls sold more records as a group than they did as five individuals, and interim managers can potentially pick up more work as part of a collaboration. Hook up with two or three interims with complimentary skills and form an alliance. This way, your service offering is greater, as is your knowledge and networking capacity. You can also split the costs of marketing your services with the other members of the alliance. Such an alliance, may enable you engage in opportunities that may not be available to you as a sole interim manager.
3.) Demonstrate your Achievements in ‘hard cash’
Detail your achievements in previous assignments in pounds shillings and pence. An MD seeking to engage an interim is likely to be thinking, “will this person save my business money?” If you have documented evidence showing that you have implemented initiatives or projects that have saved similar businesses money, they are more likely to have the confidence to take you on. A reference will state that you can perform a required task, but documented evidence detailing financial results/savings is a much more powerful tool to land you the assignment.
4.) Stick to what you know
If you are an experienced Interim Manager, take some time to review your last 5 assignments and see if there is a pattern to: The type of work undertaken, The type of client company and, Their industry sector. If a pattern exists, for example, if 80% of your work has focused on ‘change management’ within the Oil & Gas sector, then focus your time on finding more of the same assignments. You know the assignments are out there as you have been engaged in them, so contact same-industry companies and don’t be afraid to name drop. If you have worked previously for similar companies in the same sector, then say so. This will give confidence to a company seeking an interim manager and you are more likely to be taken on, as the perceived risk is reduced as you have already successfully completed an assignment for a similar company in the industry. Also, join Groups on networking website such as LinkedIn that cover both Interim Management and the Industry Sectors where you have been engaged in most of your assignments.
5.) Say no and use your network
If a former client calls you and offers you an assignment that you are not fully qualified to do, there is a temptation to say yes. Resist this temptation - even if you are actively seeking an assignment. The reason why the client is calling you is because you did a great job for them last time and you have a good reputation. Your reputation would take a dent however, if you took on an assignment that others were better placed and more qualified to fulfil. When you turn an assignment down, explain your reasons and your reputation will grow, as the client will appreciate your honesty. If you are to turn an assignment down, don’t give up on the assignment. Use your Interim network to find someone who may be qualified to take on the assignment. It is important to have a reciprocal relationship with other interim managers within your network, where you can refer work onto each other. This can be an excellent route to finding an assignment as you are being ‘recommended’ to the client by a trusted source.