How do you work with a Business Growth Consultant?
There is one obvious reason for working with a Business Growth Consultant (and I don’t need to state it here!) so how do you work with one to the best benefit for your business? Let’s look at things to consider before you might engage a consultant in a business growth project…
- What has worked already?
If you are looking to engage a Business Growth Consultant, I will presume you are already in a business which has grown. It doesn’t matter what sector you are in, nor what line of business – you have done some things already that have delivered growth to get you to the place you are in now.
So, can you identify what these are (were) and do more of them? It is surprising how often I work with a client and in one meeting, identify that they have stopped doing the things that worked for them, and are doing other things that are not working so well. This simple review can get you back on track, and it is really easy to do quickly – just take a bit of time out to look backwards instead of constantly looking forward, searching for the next new thing.
- Are you focused?
Maintaining focus is essential at every stage of your business development, so ask yourself if you have fallen into any of the following potholes:
- When you started your new organisation, chances are you had a skill, and you found some clients or customers who needed you to provide your skills and in return, they were happy to pay you. The more of this you do, the more people will hear about your skills through word of mouth recommendation. So, are you still laser-focused on your skills and the clients/customers who need your skills?
- If you need more growth, are you looking to diversify? If so, see the answer above! Your skills or motivations may have changed, however, whatever you do, you should be aiming to be the recognised expert in your field. The more specific you are, and the more people you help with specific needs, the better. Launching a new service or product line involves building a reputation from scratch, so unless your original idea is obsolete due to factors beyond your control, focus, focus, and then when you have finished focusing, focus some more!
- Applying this to your growth activity, as you grow you will receive more offers of “help” from people offering their products or services. When considering one of these generous offers, what is your reference matrix to see if this will work? If you simply believe the salesperson and sign there and then, you are losing focus on what has worked before, and will commit time and money to helping someone else achieve their growth target, not yours!
- What underpins your goals?
So, you have established in your plans that you need to grow. You may even have worked out some target numbers – turnover, profit, staff, funds raised, grants awarded etc, and even mapped them on a timescale. You need help to deliver these so you call in a Business Growth Consultant. So before you embark on the hard yards needed to deliver this plan, have you identified the specific reasons you have for seeking this change in your business?
Have you ever achieved something you wanted badly, and then had a moment when you realised that wasn’t what you wanted at all? This is all too easy in business. I know many who were very happy as sole traders with no employees, and then grew to the point where they recruited staff. This often resulted in them yielding parts of their work that they enjoyed to others, causing issues that impacted on their own internal motivation. The business grew, however, the personal satisfaction reduced and risk increased. Are these desirable outcomes? Before committing to your numerical plan, ask yourself what you will notice is different when you achieve them, and then sense check that is what you really want.
- What are the next small steps you can take?
If you know the specific, observable and measurable differences that your growth plan will deliver, there are some steps you can take that will help build confidence and make progress.
First, ask yourself if any of these differences are happening now. If so, where or when are they happening, and can you do more of the same to achieve more of the difference? If you can’t find any instances in your own organisation, can you find any somewhere else? Is there another organisation where they appear to be delivering the differences you seek? If so, can you copy them? Always look for what is working already, even if it is working for someone else! This will give you confidence and something to build on.
Having found some aspects that are working already, you can now work out what you could do with a little more focus or resource to make a step in the direction of the differences you seek. This is very simple if you have worked out what is working already – just start by doing more of that! You can also work out additional small steps that will build on existing success, and as a result of this continuity, you will make progress and be confident that you are moving towards how you would like things to be.
So, if the above process is helpful, find a Business Growth Consultant that will help you through this process. If, on the other hand, you find a Business Growth Consultant that comes prepared with their own ideas and tools, refer to the above step by step guide and then you will embark on their support programme with confidence.