Tips For Developing a New Business Consulting

If you are considering hiring a business consulting firm to assist you with various aspects of running, marketing, and developing your business, the early days of contact with a consulting firm will tell you a lot about the type of business they operate. Read on for things to look for.

First Contact

When you first speak with a marketing or business consulting company, their mission should be to learn as much about your business as possible. The rep should have excellent listening skills. You don’t want a cookie-cutter approach to business improvement or marketing; you want someone to understand the complexities of your business so they can make educated recommendations. The firm should be a fairly transparent organisation as well, that’s willing to talk a bit about what they can use to help you reach your goals. They may not reveal all their secrets prior to your signing a contract but they should be able to propose suggestions that you can see merit in.

Contracts

A confidentiality agreement is commonplace. Your company wants to know that your proprietary information is safe. Your consultant will need access to a lot of information and you need to know the info is safe. You will also need to enter into an agreement that protects the consultant in terms of their proprietary secrets for how they help you succeed, their fees and payment schedules, etcetera. Not discussing a contract to protect everyone involved should be considered suspect.

Guarantees

When you deal with a consultant, you need to know what you can expect. Results will vary so specifics might seem difficult but there are parameters and results you should be able to expect when you invest in consulting services. A respectable consulting firm will make specific guarantees about improvements. You need to be comfortable with what you can expect.

Contact

Your business consultant needs to be approachable. You should have regular discussions and / or meetings to talk about progress. When talking initially to a new firm, you should be comfortable in that the person or people working on your campaign will be reasonably accessible.

Measurables

How will you know what your consultant has brought in terms of delivering what has been promised? Ask them how this will be measured. Most often, instead of a specific dollar value (which is something most consultants can’t guarantee) other metrics might be in place to ascertain success. This might be in the form of: website visitors, generated sales leads, new customers, increase in productivity, lower staffing requirements due to process streamlining, and so on.

Business Consultants

If you have recently started your own business but clueless as to how you can really succeed in this field, you can hire a business consultant to help you out. Don’t worry as you will not find this task challenging as there are thousands of business consultants from all points of the globe who are offering their services online.

Since you’ve got a lot of options, choosing the best one might become challenging for you. So, I suggest that you solicit recommendations from your colleagues or from those people who have hired business consultants before. This can surely narrow down your choices a bit.

To make a wise decision in choosing the best business consultants, use this article as your guide.
Here’s what you need to look for when you are choosing that person who can help you grow your business:

1. Go with a coach who has proven track of record and someone who is known in the business community. He must have relevant college degree (accounting or business management for example), at least 10 years experience in running his own business, and relevant trainings. He must also be sought after by other business owners from all points of the globe and he must be recognized by prominent organizations. Do a thorough research online and enter the name of coaches on the search page results. Through this, you’ll surely find more information about them; their achievements, their contributions in the business world, etc. These information can surely help you make a well-informed decision.

2. Go with coach who listens. You would want to work with a coach who is willing to shut his mouth even for a while just to hear you out. Someone who cares about what you say and who cares about your ideas. Avoid coaches who think that they are always right — they will surely not be able to help you reach their goals.

3. Go with a coach who is genuinely concern in helping his clients. Make time to talk to people who have already worked with the coach that you consider hiring. Ask them if this particular coach will go out of his way to help you out. This really matters as you need somebody who can cover your back in case you get lost in the process and who can offer you with expert advice if he thinks that you are going off track.

What to Ask Before Hiring a Business

Any company owner who is considering hiring a business consultant may want to start by developing a list of questions and concerns about which to enquire. Not every consultancy is created equal, nor do the principals have the same experience and knowledge.

Finding the perfect business consultants can require a bit of time and effort on the part of the owner to ensure that he or she is getting everything out of the process that is expected.

First Decide What You Want and Need

Some people are more concerned with management coaching, while others may want a stronger focus on marketing. Is it increased profits you are aiming toward, or does your company need to create a stronger presence in the market to stand out against the competition?
Deciding on exactly what results you desire is the first step in finding the best business consultant to help your company.

Examine the Business Consultants’ Credentials

There are no specific educational requirements for someone to hang up a shingle advertising their business consultant services. That is why it is imperative that you thoroughly check out the background, experience, and knowledge base of any consultancy firm you are considering.

The type of industry the business consultant comes from is important, as well. Someone who is experienced in the retail sector may not be appropriate to give advice to a manufacturing plant, healthcare facility, or insurance firm. Many consultants have experience across a wide range of sectors.

Another aspect of this is determining what type of accreditation the business consultant advertises.

Do Your Research

Along with asking for the specific credentials business consultants may have, it is advisable to request a list of references. Find out what the firm has done for other companies before entrusting them to help your business. Obtain names and phone numbers, if possible, and actually take the time to personally contact several clients.

A Simple Model For Selling Services As a New Consultant

Many professionals are attracted to the business consulting arena because of the promise of high profit margins, stimulating work, professional respect and greater personal freedom. While it’s true that the most successful business and management consulting professionals do attain all these objectives, the journey to the top is not always easy, desirable or pleasant.

For many new business consultants, mastering the delicate dance of approaching, negotiating with, and landing new clients can be a nerve-wracking experience. They would rather have someone else do the business development, marketing and negotiations, so they can do what they do best.

If you fall into that category, my advice would be to dispossess yourself of that mindset. What you may currently lack in those areas can always be learned and will ultimately be the difference between outright business failure, doing just okay, or becoming phenomenally successful.

The sequence I share below is significantly influenced by the thinking of Alan Weiss, one of the most successful individual independent consultants.

1. Attract incoming calls through marketing

No matter what you think your business is, your primary job is marketing. Without a steady and dependable flow of business, your venture will fail. One of the ways to make sure you leverage every marketing dollar (and get the best results) is through what I term platform attention marketing.

Although he does not use this term, you can see this method clearly illustrated in the marketing systems of most top performing consultants. Through articles, books, speeches, direct marketing and strategic alliances, they attract and serve their way to very powerful brands…not the other way around. It is rarely a smart idea for a small business to invest inordinately in brand image advertising rather than direct marketing to well-targeted market segments.

This is the way the best business consultants position themselves to be attractive to the executives and business leaders they work with. When prospective clients show up, they show up ostensibly on their terms, but in a way that positions you properly as the trusted expert advisor.

2. Get General Agreement

The most important thing to remember about dealing with prospective clients is that you clearly establish a differentiating value proposition, and that you establish your framework for understanding what the client’s needs are. This must be part a subtle but insistent part of your initial relationship-building.

Whether this is done through a situational analysis, opportunity analysis, threats assessment or some other specific mechanism is not as important as the fact that the path to getting it done is available and easy-to-understand.

It is during this process that you should ensure that you strike up a general agreement and framework of what you (or your organization) will do relative to the needs of the prospective client organization.

3. Send Them A Proposal

Depending on the scope of your consulting services, your proposal may just be a basic restatement of what was agreed or a fairly detailed sequence of milestones and outcomes. Much good work has been written on the subject of proposal writing and I won’t rehash that here. Make sure that your proposal accurately reflects your capabilities.

You should also consider asking for more information if you want some more information on the background context behind a RFP (Request For Proposal).

4. Commence Negotiations

After you have sent in a consulting proposal, don’t diminish your superior positioning by appearing too eager to get a response. If this is for a fairly significant investment, be prepared to wait for up to a few weeks before you call in to check on it. Of course, if you are aware that there is a looming deadline this would not be the right advice for that situation.

Always negotiate from a position of professional expertise and equality. Keep plugging away at this process, and you’ll find that you will soon land that first client.