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Business Consultants for Small Businesses
Small Business Consulting, Business and Executive Coaching
So during these difficult times there is more and more need for help, support and business advice for small businesses and the self employed. Small business owners need information and guidance on many issues ranging from how to save their businesses and if they are fortunate enough to survive the recent economy, how to grow their business.
However, this business advice comes at a cost and that cost in commissioning a business consultant or a business consultancy firm can be substantial. All those years at business school and experience in the field has to be recouped. The real difficulty for entrepreneurs and small business owners is that they know their business inside out and they are fully consumed in the day to day running of their business. Add to this the stress, anxiety and worry of recent events along with not enough hours in the day and there is clearly a gap between where the small business is and where it would like to be.
So how can a business consultant help with this gap, which we should call the performance gap? From experience in this field I can state that there are a number of common issues and areas that clients cite as being the reason for speaking and working with a management consultant. Let's look at these major areas in a little more detail.
Business Plans: Small businesses need a business plan for a number of reasons. The main reason is to secure funding or capital for expansion or to encourage investors to place faith and money into your small business idea. They may also need an updated plan for discussions with their banks. Either way the plan should be structured, organised and precise and to correctly dovetail between the financials and the narrative. Many a mistake here has been made and can be avoided with a fuller understanding of what the reader is looking for. A business consultancy can tailor the report to reader needs. Another angle for modern plans is the creation of a more presentation style business plan.
Strategy: Most work as an online business consultant as been centred around strategy. This work would be a 50:50 split between corporate strategy and business strategy. Corporate strategy focusing upon the higher end where the business consists of more than one business or one business unit and business strategy concentrating on the business or unit. It is a longer term approach to where the business wants to go and how it will get there. There are so many theories and models that can be used to assess business model, strategic choices and the strategic actions that need to be taken. Modern approaches now consider blue ocean strategies that look across the business towards outside industries and sectors for untapped demand and customer types.
Finance and Planning: Often the nemesis for small business owners and the self employed is the financial statement and the techniques centred around cash, profits, assets and liabilities. The ability to understand cash flows, profit and loss accounts and balance sheets is paramount to running a steady business and not becoming one of the victims of a profitable business with no cash that ends up in the bin. The financial statements need to link in with your business plan and your strategy to ensure that you have the necessary resources to develop sustainable competitive advantage or build core competences. The other aspect here is to have access to the correct borrowings that are available at the right time for your business.
Marketing Strategy: As an online business consultant I receive a fair share of requests for help with marketing strategies. So much information that I see online is geared around marketing tactics and not true strategies. let's be honest these tactics are really designed to make someone else rich by ads, promotions, influences or softwares etc. They come and go quicker than you realise. let me give you an example. Let's take Facebook Pages. The emphasis was on encouraging businesses to build their fan pages, often to hundred of thousands of fans. Once achieved which took a few years, facebook then decided to restrict how many people could see your posts. You post an update to 100,000 people and maybe 900 see it in their feeds. A true marketing strategy is about your customer, your message, your difference and your ability to satisfy their needs or wants better than the next guy (if there is one).
Executive Coaching and Mentoring: This area of business consulting is better suited to executive coaching and leadership development. A good business coach can really help a small business owner to overcome the obstacles, procrastination and fear associated with making change and pushing through the threshold. In these times an online executive coach can help with the use of coaching models to be that extra set of eyes and encouragement to ensure that you do what you say that you are going to do. It can help with strategy, career change, leadership skills, middle management and planning for future change. To have this commitment to each other is powerful and proven to be more successful than you imagine.
Leadership skills: As every new generation of leaders and senior management come through the ranks there is the scramble for leadership skills. the same old delegation, time management, appraisal etc etc. However, we are in different times and many large businesses are not making the change and understanding that new models, new approaches and new understandings are required by a new style or organisation and demand base. A true leader now understands that ego is left at door or better still eradicated all together and is an expert in brain to brain leadership. This leadership style ensures that you understand yourself better than you ever had and to understand what affects the behaviour of your staff. Don't forget that you are in the BEHAVIOUR BUSINESS no matter what you think.
Staff Training: Following on from leadership development and management training is staff training. Again this is a runaround for the same old same old. Modern business consultants will not focus upon time management and technical skills because there are already entrenched in house but look towards a more modern successful approach to managing oneself. What do I mean by this? I mean the ability to develop one's own mental toughness and resilience, confidence, control of emotions, positive thought control and so much more. These skills being the same as developed by athletes and some of the world's greatest performers. To give your staff a toolbox of mental skills training removes management time, errors, demotivation, sickness and absenteeism.
Business Growth: Let me cover many issues here that are often described as separate but are really all under this banner. To grow a business is a combination of increasing sales which is a product of converting more leads from more traffic coupled with profitability assisted by cost reduction, efficiencies and streamlining. It is that simple but at the same time it isn't. The business must have the resources and capabilities to grasp this advantage. Increasing sales can come from better online marketing at better R.O.I.'s targeting different demands in different markets. Modern strategies now go beyond differentiation or cost leadership and can actually achieve both if you know how to use the tools and models.
Start a Business: The final area I am covering today is that one of starting a new business online. To start the process wrongly will cost you years of struggle and so much money. However, to start correctly at a strategy level will give you a nice straight guideline to follow that you can then build on day by day. All the forms of marketing, organic traffic or paid for traffic will benefit from an established presence and not a chop and change approach. Trust me you will never catch up with the fads and tactics as you are changing websites, design, imagery, content, keywords, marketing tactics, links etc etc. To understand what you offer, why it is different if at all, who you offer it to and how you will offer it to them will save you so much heartache.
So that wraps up business consulting for small business and the self employed along with executive coaching for staff, management and leadership and highlights the diversity of the offering. Often it is wise to consider how much you are willing to spend to save or to grow your business. Business advice is not free and anything free on the Internet is tainted with inaccuracies, follow up lead magnets and poor performers. Look for experience, qualifications and track record. Think about the cost of a take away per week or a daily coffee.
As a final note I help small businesses with business consulting who are on a fixed budget. I remove the fear of ongoing fees that could escalate in the wrong hands. I offer a fixed price business consulting service. At the top of this page I offer a £90 service for a short time only to the self employed and small business owners who can receive help and peace of mind knowing the cost is fixed and for that service they complete an online fact-find that I can examine before a 45 minute video or audio strategy call that is followed up afterwards with a professional action plan report highlighted a recommended course of action. If more help is needed we can also offer that on reasonable grandfather terms.
Look forward to seeing you soon and helping with your small business needs.
Geoff Greenwood FCCA MBA MSc