Which Business Consultant is Right for You?
There are a plethora of business advisers, consultants, coaches and mentors out there all offering to transform your business into a money-making machine. How then, do you choose one that’s right for you?
- Background. It never ceases to amaze me about the background of some of the business coaches out there. There are so-called life coaches who’ve never had kids, been married or been through separation or divorce and business coaches who, until they set themselves up in business or bought a franchise, were working in mundane jobs for others, who’ve never been an employer, never owned or managed a business let alone been exposed to a wide range of business types, industries and seen what makes them tick, or seen business success and failure. Come on now!
- Business Experience. To advise others in business it seems obvious that you need to have a wide variety of business experience. Have they worked for good employers, bad employers, in the back-stabbing dog-eat-dog corporate world, seen the undercurrents of partnership at first hand, dealt with difficult employees, hired and fired, been the boss, worked on the shop floor, wrestled with tricky ethical dilemmas, walked the fine-line as a managing partner, bought businesses, sold businesses and struggled to manage and attract customers and clients as well as having been through several recessions?
- Relationships. As in all walks of life, it’s important that you choose an adviser that you can get on with. Do they make you feel at ease and are they welcoming? Are they stuffy and old fashioned or informal and modern in outlook? Are they able to chase you up to get the tasks done you agreed to do in a firm but polite way without causing offence? Can they deal with difficult issues and draw out of you the key issues you’d rather not face?
- Finance Experience. It’s essential that any adviser in business has a good grasp of business finances – budgeting, cash management, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets to name just a few. Appointing a practicing accountant as your business consultant isn’t necessarily the right thing to do (and not all practicing accountants are experienced enough anyway) but they do often make the best advisers, not only because of their unequaled finance experience but also because of the huge variety of business types and industries they’ve worked with.
- SME Experience. Small and medium owner-managed businesses are very different from bigger businesses managed by those who are not shareholders and they present many unique challenges and difficult issues. An adviser who’s been high-up in the Corporate World will not find many similarities in the world of small business!
- Systems experience. Here’s where many business advisers stumble at the first hurdle. To get a business to function effectively good systems are an absolute necessity, especially on the financial side, and unfortunately the great majority of business advisers lack the necessary skills and experience on systems. To make matters worse, they are often reluctant to call in a systems specialist to help as they fear being sidelined or a reduction in their fees!
- Contacts. Being successful in business requires you to draw upon the skills and experience of others in different fields. An experienced business adviser will be able to open doors for you and refer you to a wide range of trusted advisers in other disciplines who will always try harder for someone who has been referred by a respected adviser who is likely to refer more later.
Choosing someone to work with to grow your business is a vitally important process, so make sure you choose wisely. If you need a good business adviser to make your business thrive contact Nick on 0800 ASK NICK or email firstname.lastname@example.org