Wednesday, June 19, 2019
This is the first in my series of articles under the general theme of “My Business is Growing! I Can’t Do it All Myself Anymore!”
Having had the privilege of working for one of the world’s premiere accounting & consulting firms for a decade or so, I realized in looking to serve established independent business owners in my community in what I’ll call the 2nd tier of “small companies”, i.e. at least 4-5 employees and revenue in the 6 figures, the business owners I wanted to speak to may not have the experience of working with a business coach, advisor or consultant. I’ll address that this way – when I introduce myself I often find myself explaining what I’m not vs. what I do and the reason is that many people hear what I do and say “Oh, you’re a business coach.” While what I “do” is part coaching, I don’t refer to myself as a Business Coach; I say “I’m a Business Strategy Consultant” So, what is a Consultant? How is a Consultant different from a Business Coach? My purpose here isn’t to explain the difference but explain what to expect from a Consultant based on my experience as a practitioner and as I see myself in this role today.
First, a Consultant helps business owners resolve significant organizational problems or challenges OR take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace. What does that mean? First, we work to identify the true nature of the problem/challenge/opportunity. For example, a business owner may express the “problem” as high turnover when the real problem could be low wages or poor management. Not a sweet thing for a business owner to hear but the first rule of consulting is that we deal in reality.
The next thing a Consultant does is work with the business owner to define objectives and deliverables for the undertaking being considered by the company. In defining the objectives the focus is on making them concrete, measurable, and achievable. Example: increase sales by X% in each of the following 3 years to reach $X level of gross revenue by 2022.
Consultants frequently ask clients to “describe what it looks like to achieve this goal,” i.e. I will have hired x# of staff, I will be delegating X to an assistant manager, profitability will increase to $x, I’ll be able to take clients out to lunch or golf occasionally, I’ll be able to go on vacation without having my phone in my hand 100% of the time, etc.
On the deliverables end of things we have items such as the following:
- Report of observations and recommendations
- Results of an employee/culture survey
- Communications Plan
- Schedule for Implementing Recommendations
In moving the project forward, the consult works with the business owner in assigning responsibilities for activities around data collection, scheduling, status reporting, and other. Next, comes the data request for information needed to analyze the company’s current situation. Requested data may include items like organization charts, job descriptions, employee directory, client lists, just to name a few. The consultant will also provide the business owner/client with a project schedule.
To accompany all of this documentation will be a statement of understanding that covers identification of the decision makers to move forward with this process – both the data-gathering and analysis as well as the decision to move forward with implementation of any recommendations.
The C Suite Solution exists to work with business owners looking to create a legacy with their business; entrepreneurs who want their mission to continue on after they’ve retired or moved on to their 2nd or 3rd act, and who also want to take something away from the time, energy, and money they’ve invested in starting the company and growing it in a sustainable way. Whether you’re looking to set you company up for sustainable growth or maximize company value with and exit point in view down the road, we can help you align your vision, mission, goals, strategy and schedule in a way that engages your entire organization and maximizes your potential for success.