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Is Consulting right for your company?

Sep 15, 2016

Read on to see if any of this sounds familiar. If it is, the answer is yes. So it started out pretty well. You’re technically very good at what you do. You knew because others kept complimenting you on your skills and proficiency both inside the company and the customers you served. You have unique ideas and a clear vision. There were a lot of politics and a little bad blood at your previous employer so you decided to strike out on your own.

You started small, only hiring people you felt you could trust – friends, family and a few that had the technical knowledge and skills you needed. Things went well and the company grew. Pretty soon, you couldn’t handle the workload so you hired more people following the same philosophy. The company continued to grow. As time passed, you found yourself working more and more hours and somehow, profitability started falling off. You found yourself doing less of what you love, the reason you started the business in the first place, and more time managing politics and all the issues that come with growth. This is not what you signed up for! So…you began to question things. Why are we not making as much money as before? Why do I need to spend so much time on solving problems that I’ve hired other’s to address?Why are we now experiencing quality issues…we’ve never had those before?

If some of this sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone. Many business owners, just like you, have experienced many of these exact same growing pains. It’s not comfortable to go through but it’s completely normal and, for those experienced in these areas, to be expected.
Why does this occur? Usually the reason is the systems, people and processes needed to start a company are vastly different than what is needed to allow the company to continue to grow. Trying to operate the company at $1MM in revenue with eight people has drastically different requirements than trying to operate an $8MM company with 60 people doing exactly the same thing.
Why do many CEO’s need help?
The skills required to start a business are often different than the skills required to help it continue to grow.

How do I go about seeking help?

  1. Interview different consultants to find one that has the skills you need as well as one that will be a good cultural fit for your company. How?  Begin with the end in mind.   Have they completed work successfully like what you need done at your firm…what is their track record?  How have they gone about making the changes?  Did they help with implementation or just provide a binder on what was wrong and the solution they’d recommend?  This approach, by the way, almost never works in practice.
  2. Check references. What do past clients say about them? Were they pleased with the work?  Did they add value?  Were the changes sustainable?
  3. What was their Return on Investment or ROI?  An investment in consulting services should be viewed no differently than any other investment you’d make in your business.  A clear plan of action should be written with expectations on what the result will be in terms of incremental revenue or profit.   If a consultant can’t quantify this for you within the first few weeks or refuses, it’s usually a sign they are more concerned with billable hours than truly helping you succeed.

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