Why hire a consultant?
You know your business is not reaching its potential - but you don’t know what to do about it.
You keep meaning to plan for the future - but never get to it.
You find yourself fighting fires every day.
Revenue has stalled.
If this is you…why WOULDN’T you hire a consultant?
Think about it. When your car stalls..you take it to the garage. When your teeth hurt...you call the dentist. And everyone knows that elite athletes would never achieve results unless they worked with a coach.
It’s the same in business. Owners who have the access to the right support and advice are much more likely to achieve the results they desire.
Consulting is both a SCIENCE and an ART.
The scientist gathers information and looks for ways to make sense of it.
The artist thinks creatively and helps paint a new picture for the future.
The job of both is to help you see clearly and in a new way.
What kinds of situations can a consultant help with?
Here are some typical situations business owners face and the kinds of questions a consultant might initially ask.
- Does your business model make sense?
- Do you really understand your clients or customers?
- What's your sales strategy and how's that working?
- How well does your time reflect your business growth priorities?
- What do you need to do to survive this quarter?
- Who are your ideal customers? How have their needs shifted? How come it took you this long to notice?
- What new directions have you thought of and which ones make the most sense to explore?
- How well do you know your employees?
- How much do you trust each other?
- What HR policies do you have in place? How well do they reflect your values and vision?
- How clear are you about your values, purpose, mission, and vision?
- What are you doing to communicate these at every level of the organization?
- How are your days currently being spent?
- How much of this time is spent working from your strengths and focusing on your priorities?
- What needs to shift so you can create a reserve of time and energy to focus on the big picture?
How can a growth consultant help you grow your business?
We start by noticing the present. When you take your car to the garage, the mechanic looks under the hood. Similarly, your consultant asks questions and gathers data that will help you better understand what’s happening and what your business symptoms mean.
Once you have a handle on what’s currently happening, it’s not usually too difficult to figure out how you want things to be more, less, different, or better.
With a clearer vision, you can work backwards to set goals that can be accomplished annually, quarterly, and daily. For example, a heart patient would want to know what he or she would need to do on a daily basis to restore full health.
All of the above, combined with the consultant’s expertise, will help you generate new ideas about how to move forward more effectively. Our heart patient would need to develop a new regimen for daily life.
A great consultant is an expert communicator and avoids meaningless jargon. She understands the territory so well she can teach it in a way that is easy to absorb and use. If you were a heart patient, this part is very important and could save your life!
There’s no point in doing all of the above if nothing actually changes in your business. You don’t want a consultant who writes a report that sits on a shelf. You want a person who will hold your feet to the fire and fully support you to act in your own best interests.
What types of consultants are out there?
Consultants come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some are specialists with a particular expertise such as accounting, law, or HR. Others are generalists who bring a broader perspective to the table.
What should you look for when hiring a consultant?
Look for someone who:
- Has proven competence in situations that are similar to yours.
- Comes highly recommended by people whose opinion you respect.
- Communicates effectively in YOUR language, not just his or her own.
- Has developed ideas and theories about how things work, so you know she isn’t just spouting the latest dogmas.
How does a “growth consultant” differ from, say, a “marketing consultant”?
A “growth consultant” focuses across the board on areas that impact the growth of the business. This can have to do with any of the management areas or with the organization’s leadership. The growth consultant is more like a GP or case manager rather than a plastic surgeon or cardiologist. A GP has enough general knowledge about medicine that she can see what to do right away, or can call in a specialist if necessary.
A growth consultant is great to know when you’re faced with uncertainty. Consultants are knowledgeable, creative thinkers who will help you get unstuck and moving forward right away.
Consultants for specific implementation areas such as marketing or HR can be very helpful as well. The best ones will become your strategic partner and use a growth approach that builds your entire business. Ready2Grow knows dozens of such specialists and can call them if needed.