How would you know if you require an external business advisor or consultant?
As a business owner you’ve created a successful business and you still have the drive and energy to build the business further.
Great, however your challenges may be;
- You have no spare time to focus on the key tasks needed to grow your business.
- You have many new ideas, but not sure where to start.
- You have constant demands from staff, customers and suppliers
- You find you’re persistently involved in the day to day operation and delivery of what the business does.
As a busy business owner you don’t have the time to do the important stuff.
It is also likely you’re not taking all your holiday entitlement due to working long hours, you catch up with work on weekends or in the evenings and answer emails, texts, WhatsApp group messages and queries out of hours.
You probably can’t switch off from work and business growth always seems just too far out of reach?
As Michael E Berger stated in his must-read book, The E-Myth (Revisited): You are spending all your time...
‘Working “IN” rather than “ON” your business.’
The good news: you are not alone. This is a very common situation for growing businesses and busy business owners in Cumbria, North Lancashire and beyond. It is a common business owner's trait to get to a point where you find it difficult to push through to the next level.
Other common signs:
- Frustration, that business turnover is flat and has been for several years.
- Anxious, net profit and margins are being squeezed and perceived to be low compared to your competitors.
- Concerned, cash flow is tight at month ends particularly when wages are due and also during peak periods of business throughout the year.
If these points and scenarios resonate with you, as a business owner, or a business owner that you know well, it’s worth reaching out and contacting a Cumbrian based business consultant.
Business Consultancy: What does a business consultant do?
Most business consultancy firms don’t charge for an initial consultation and ideally this should be a face to face meeting for at least one hour.
Why meet a consultant in the first place? Being a senior manager or owning a business can be a very lonely place. I know, from having over 25 years business experience, that there will be many things on your mind that you continually carry around with you. So, just by having the chance to speak to someone openly and candidly can make a big difference to you.
However, you want a business consultant to listen to your issues, concerns and ideas, ask further questions and then share their perspective and understanding on where you are. Then help and assist you on where you are going. The business consultancy process will help you get a load off your shoulders and gain clarity. You might just learn something too: a quick win that you can apply when you get back to the office.
Choosing a business consultant
Whilst many consultants have accreditations and qualifications, it’s more important to ensure that they have hard relevant business experience. Not just in consultancy but in running a business that had challenges which they transformed and made successful.
Ideally you want someone with at least 10 years’ experience. Ensure you ask if they have been through a similar situation, as an owner or senior manager in a larger regional or national organisation.
Research back in 2003 suggested that it takes up to 10,000 hours to perfect any discipline, which is a minimum of 5 years working full time. Cite reference https://www.businessinsider.com/malcolm-gladwell-anders-ericsson-10000-hour-rule-isnt-replicating-2019-8?r=US&IR=T
Note, many business change agents, business analysts and consultants don’t work full time on delivery. Therefore, find out their back story. What skills, tools and learnings can they bring to your business situation today and in the future?
You need an experienced professional with a track record who has grown or re-structured a business. You will also need them to be supportive when you share the good, the bad and the downright ugly experiences.
You also want them to have the courage and confidence to reveal the scars and the challenges they had to battle through. What were the business risks and challenges they overcame? That’s what you’re paying for, the grey-haired* business consultant’s experience and hard learned insights. Knocks and all. *Apologies if this stereotypes consultants!
What are the different types of Business Consultants to choose from in Cumbria?
There are many types of consultants available to Cumbria’s business owners. Some are generalists like myself, who've gained knowledge and have a wide range of, on the job, business experience across many business disciplines and solved numerous business challenges over the years. A Generalist Business Consultant will be able to cover most aspects of your business.
However, the majority of Cumbria’s Business Consultants focus on one key element of a business, be it Human Resources (HR), Marketing and Social Media, Project Management, IT, Website, Public Relations (PR), Finance, Process Improvement or Productivity and Quality.
If you’re seeking specialist business advice or an expert? Note, some business consultants work only in specific sectors, offering expert advice on Agricultural businesses, Retail, Supply Chain, Energy, Tourism, Manufacturing, Service industries etc. Many organisations can also provide experienced business professionals with a range of business experience and in addition it is worth researching the likes of local and regional authorities and the regional Local Enterprise Partners (LEPs) too.
Regional or national business member organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Business (FSB) and Institute of Directors (IoD), along with many private companies, individuals and freelancers such as myself, operate in the expert business advice arena too.
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Good luck with developing your business and whoever you choose as a business consultant it would be great to hear how it went. Or please just get in touch, as I am more than happy to catch up for a no obligation chat over a coffee to hear your story and challenges.