Small Business Consultants Are Far More than Just Business Coaches
Published Perth, Western Australia
When a business owner wants to develop his/her business to a higher level, or wants to turn around a struggling business, someone limited to business coaching is generally not up to this task, because coaching is just one very tiny aspect of what a business consultant (or business analyst) does.
While business coaches typically focus on the mindset, attitudes, beliefs and habits of the owner, a business consultant has the depth and breadth of experience and expertise to understand the business itself, the environment in which the business operates, and every single aspect which either hinders or helps the business in the achievement of the owner’s goals.
Typically a business consultant will have experience and expertise in security, general management, accountancy and financial management, law, human resources (including team building, people management and problem solving), marketing/sales and public relations, finance, manufacturing, analysis, strategy development, and processes and systems (including Quality Assurance and Total Quality Management).
It usually makes sense to employ an external consultant rather than attempt to utilise in-house talent, in order to get the best available advice and support, and also for the simple reason that an outside perspective has unique value, and the adviser needs to be seen as objective and separate from the culture and political environment of the business, if there is to be trust and engagement with the agreed plan.
A Business’s Problems Are NOT Generally Due to the Mindset or Belief Set of the Owner
Occasionally I am called by an owner who believes that his or her difficulties are caused by “lack of belief”, or “self sabotage” or “procrastination”. Of course I’m interested in these things but invariably I find these are not the reasons that the business is failing or struggling.
For example people tend to procrastinate when they know very well that the strategy that want to put in place is not very effective, or is very uncomfortable to use. When people try to do ineffective, unpleasant things, they quickly become disheartened and demoralised and certainly will end up procrastinating.
The problem is not the procrastination, but the lousy strategy which is the cause of it!
When people have fantastic strategies, which are easy and comfortable to use, and which they absolutely know will get a predictable and excellent result, there is generally no more procrastination.
So a lack of success is not generally about self belief, but is about poor strategies or even the absence of any proper strategies at all. If the web site is rubbish, and people perceive a business as unprofessional or out of date with its competitors, it is going to struggle regardless of the owner’s self beliefs.
The Job of the Business Consultant
Consultant Peter Block defines a business consultant as “someone who has influence over an individual, group, or organisation, but who has no direct authority to implement changes.” So why and how does a business consultant exert that influence?
Without trust, there can be no influence, and regardless of how clever or talented the consultant, it would be unlikely that the business owner would act on their advice.
Trust occurs naturally when the business consultant can show a deep understanding of all facets of the business, and can accurately lay out a complete SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, including setting out short, medium and long-term strategies to eliminate or minimise weaknesses, and fulfill the potential of the business.
This will involve strategies which solve problems, as well as strategies which replace ineffective ones in terms of more sales, more productivity, less error, less staff turnover, greater client engagement, etc.
The business consultant is also extremely mindful of the business’s budget and will constantly seek out a course of least resistance, working to get the biggest wins in the shortest possible time, in the easiest and safest way possible.
Invariably there will be “points of leverage” which the consultant will identify that will achieve exactly this, so that in fact the consultant’s expert advice and support is not a financial burden on the business, and is paid for in terms of results achieved right from the beginning of the relationship.
We take pride in paying our way!
The Number One Reason Most Perth Businesses Call on a Consultant for Help
Although there is so much that a consultant can add to any business, the number one reason that the consultant is called in the first place is that the business is struggling or even failing.
It is a shocking fact that over 66% of Australian small businesses fall into that category.
So it probably makes sense to you that most frequently we are called in to consult in order to help the business to increase its revenue (make more sales) as quickly as possible.
While we can certainly do that in most cases, even virtually overnight, it’s not always wise to dive straight into activities which will trigger more sales. If the business is not prepared for a higher level of sales (for any number of reasons) or does not have access to a credit facility to finance extra costs or higher debtor levels, then simply increasing sales could have a disastrous impact.
So it makes sense to do a free analysis first, and make any decisions following that.
First Steps in Working with a Business Consultant in Perth
We call the first, free step “The Chat”, and this is an enjoyable and informal question and answer session where we shine a light on all aspects of the business which could impact decisions around sales or marketing strategies, including operational aspects.
It’s not unusual to find that operational changes can have as bigger, or bigger impact on the bottom line as can higher sales levels.
Following “The Chat” we provide a written report which is a basic SWOT analysis, together with suggested strategies for moving forward quickly, safely and for maximum impact.
It is of course entirely up to the owner to decide whether or not to engage us, and if so, under what conditions and including what flow of work.
The Cost of Engaging a Business Consultant in Perth
There is a very wide range of fees charged in Perth, generally from $250 per hour to $1800 per hour (plus gst), often with a profit share component (or even an equity component) built into the contract. Typically an amount is required in advance, and the client always tops this up in advance in order to secure the consultant’s service for an extended time.
What we can say is that price is not an indication of quality, and our advice is always to “try before you buy” to ensure that you are happy with the consultant’s grasp of your business, together with the strategies which he/she recommends.
See Wikipedia Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_consultant, in particular: