Recently, my doctor told me that, on average it takes 5 visits to different psychiatrists before one finds the right match.
Finding a psychiatrist is a great metaphor for finding someone to help you with business consulting, so with this article, I hope to help you avoid having to visit 5 different business consultants before you find the right one. Hopefully I can give you enough information, so you can narrow it down to one or two consultants to speak to on the quest to find the right one.
I’m going to break this down into 3 blocks of seriously useful information about getting the best business consulting experts in your areas, with a specific case study example in Los Angeles at the end, so hold onto your britches 😉
- Block One: is all about finding the right business consulting expert for your needs. What’s your vision, what are your big picture goals? Do you need a generalist or a specialist, etc.
- Block Two: covers tips and tricks for fruitful searching through the internet jungle to hunt down the best business consultants in your community.
- Block Three: reviews the most important principles that every business consultant should adhere to. (In other words, if you find a consultant that’s not abiding by these minimum principles walk away.) In this section, we also provide some questions to ask your top potential candidates.
Finding the Right Business Consultant for your Specific Needs
We are going to assume you want to scale your business (since I think it’s pretty safe to say we would all like to be making $1 million a year in annual revenues and one study shows only 4% of small businesses make that amount or higher.
Creating a scaleable business starts with focusing on three areas that, together, will launch your business into real profitability.
Chances are, you have a fairly good handle on one, two, or even all three of these areas. There might be one area that needs slight or serious improvement, or even a complete revamp.
The first step in this process is to figure out where your focus will be, what you don’t like about where you are, and how you can get to where you would like to be. Now you can focus in on the area that most needs it.
For the sake of this article, we are going to proceed under the assumption you have a profit priority for the rest of the article. Since this reputable study shows that 61% of businesses are NOT profitable over the course of their lifetime, there’s a fairly decent chance that the majority of readers would like to focus in on becoming profitable.
Let’s take a look at what determines your profit:
The simple equation for profit that I’m sure you are familiar with is ->
Revenue – Costs = Profit
So, when searching for a business consultant to help you in this area, you’ll want to look for consultants that can either help you grow your revenue or reduce your costs. Sounds simple enough, right? Sort of but here’s the thing:
Most businesses simply cannot create profit increases over 10% by reducing costs, which is why it makes more sense to focus on growing revenue.
There are only two ways to grow revenue:
1) get more clients
2) get them to spend more money more often.
Let’s Recap this:
If you truly want to grow your revenue, you need a business consultant who can help you a) get more clients and b) get them to spend more money more often. It sounds so simple…
But like most things it’s more complicated than you probably want it to be
One mistake I see business owners make is thinking that they can hire a finance person to help them generate more profit. This is a pretty big error. As you’ll find out by reading This Entrepreneur article lays out the 4 keys functions of Chief Finance Officer and none of them include making revenue.
Here are the 4 key functions of a CFO according to Entrepreneur magazine:
1) Book – Ensure that the company’s financials are in proper order.
2) Share – Make sure that those in charge have the data to make important decisions.
3) Comply -Every business or company has issues with compliance at some point. This person in the company is in charge of overseeing they are compliant. One example of this is making sure taxes are filed and paid.
4) Assist – They help the other people in the company as they take care of the clients and help in determining the value of the customer of their lifetime with the business.
If you want to grow your revenue and your profit, you are looking for more of a CMO – Chief Marketing Officer – or Business Development Expert. In short, you want to generate more leads, or more traffic and you want to convert more leads into buyers that buy more often.
Generalist vs. Specialist
Now that you know that you need help generating leads and sales, the next step is to determine if you should find a generalist or a specialist. If you are not a very strategic person (which is 98% of business owners due to the fact they got into their business based on interest and passion – not a desire to do business strategy) you may need both.
Three reasons to find a generalist:
1) You’re not strategic.
2) You don’t have a plan in place already.
3) You haven’t experimented with traffic sources on your own already (so you don’t know where to begin or what will potentially work best out of the 364+ tactical options to get clients and get them to spend more money more often – see this blog post).
Three reasons to find a specialist:
1) You already have a marketing and sales plan in place.
2) You know exactly what traffic source will bring you the most money with the resources you have available.
3) You know how to oversee the specialist and direct them.
Most business owners could use help from a generalist and 1 or 2 specialists to begin. Then as you scale your business you find more specialists. That said, here are some categories of specialists that you can look for:
- Business Development
- Content Marketing
- Digital Advertising
- Internet Marketing – Additional
- Miscellaneous & Direct Marketing
- Personal Sales
- Public Relations
- Traditional Advertising