The REAL ISSUES are not just in the Business
Many business owners are facing legitimate difficult business issues, often a multiplicity of issues that are causing serious lack of sleep and affecting his or her health. Many times there is no one they can talk to about the difficulties – it would scare the people inside the company – or they are part of the problem! Talking to their spouse can work in some cases but it can cause more difficulty as they do not understand either the complexity of the issues or the need to sometimes make difficult personnel decisions. Further, often the issues are financial and this would cause undue stress for family members – often they are consciously kept in the dark about the severity of the financial circumstances.
Further, while the business issues are real and pressing there are other pressures on business owners that also play a key role in the type of objectivity and council they may need. They often are required to spend an inordinate amount of time running the business which can cause a real strain on personal relationships. They may have a passion to achieve something that is beyond the scope of the business and the clock is ticking. For example one client had all kinds of operational issues in growing her business which she was passionate to do; but, at the same time she wanted to find time to write a book! That required a sensitivity to structure her company differently than a traditional business model would dictate.
Another client wanted to accelerate the growth of his business to more than double its current volume while at the same time develop a strategy and a structure that would allow him to exit the day to day running of the business so he could travel and spend time with his new family. This of course had to be achieved without causing concern amongst the management team particularly during the planning and development phases.
Traditional consultants would not have been of use to either client. Firstly, they would not have been trusted with the personal agendas and they definitely would not have been there to help implement the strategies.
Coupled with the above, another reason a consultant can be a waste of time and money is as follows.
The Owner Lacks Expertise in KEY BUSINESS DISCIPLINES
Again as mentioned previously many business owners have some real issues on their plate, weighing them down and holding the company back from real success. However, sometimes the issues can be symptomatic of the real problem – the owners themselves! Many businesses are started and achieve great initial success because the founder has a real passion and talent in a unique area that can be exploited. However as that company continues to achieve growth it will inevitably hit a point where proper business disciplines are required to structure the company for continued growth and profit. The owner is at an impasse. They have not had any experience or training in how to structure a business and now contemplate outside help to guide them.
Smart move – potentially. Again if they engage a traditional consulting firm they will receive the analysis that will lead to recommendations around structure and business discipline. The business owner with binder in hand can be dead in the water!
If he or she actually implements the necessary changes they have a bigger challenge waiting for them – managing the organization at a different level of professionalism, with proper business structure and protocols and the ultimate challenge now having to manage managers!
The business has undergone a metamorphosis from an entrepreneurial nimble enterprise into an organization with policy and procedure that needs structure and discipline. What was in the binder that prepared the owner to lead this type of company? Usually nothing!
In these kinds of circumstances the owner needs proper consulting expertise as always – no compromising there – however they also need implementation guidance and Coaching, Mentoring and Training as well. Usually the owner will not admit it up front and it certainly will not be in a traditional RFP!
So, if any of the above resonates with you it is possible that you might benefit from a conversation with an objective, impartial, advisor that could enable you to determine whether you might gain insights as to whether consulting would work for you and your company.