Independent business consultants, solution providers or valued advisers?
There are many approaches to how business problems and challenges can be overcome.
Review the issues with your team, search the web for answers and ideas, buy a book off Amazon, talk to other business owners in your network.
One option is to discuss the issues with an independent business consultant or business mentor. Independence of advice is important, an external perspective adds something different. Objectivity in analysis is critical.
What to look for
A professional independent adviser. A consultant must put the best interest of the client ahead of their own. Check out for membership of a professional institute, like the IMCA in Ireland.
Solid experience. An adviser with a track record of offering advice and guidance to business owners of similar enterprises.
Problem solver. You hire a consultant to help you solve problems, or take advantage of opportunities. Know-how gained from working with business owners demonstrates that problems have been solved elsewhere.
Excellent communication skills. An ability to listen as well as communicate orally and in writing.
Empathy, excellent interpersonal skills. For any consultant to be successful in helping your company, a trust based relationship is going to have to develop. You will need to be comfortable revealing the intimate details of your business, “what’s hidden in your dirty drawers”. The relationship between consultant and client is not unlike the relationship between a doctor and patient. Without complete openness, the consultant will be hindered in his or her effort to help your business. Chose a consultant with whom you can develop this kind of professional relationship.
What can a consultant do for you?
Objective review of a business.
Independent feedback to the CEO – on the CEO
Initiating a change.
Tackling a problem or crisis.
Applying for funding i.e. government grant, loan
Writing a proposal.
Advice on completing/managing a project.
Hiring a new manager for an organisation
Reviewing Long Term Objectives and strategy
Organisational restructuring and alignment
Implementing a new product or service.
Look out for more articles on types of business advice on offer, and where to get it, and from whom.