On the theme of reasons businesses often don’t engage a consultant, I am convinced many business owners either don’t understand the value behind some good external expertise, or just don’t think they can afford it.

I think there are two sides to this statement. The first is affordability. There are a few factors when looking at affordability. Here are some:

1. Your businesses current financial position and your attitude to borrowing and risk. (See article “Cash is King” – link at base of article).

2. Your choice of consultant and their cost. (See article “working with me – options” for ideas – link at base of article)

3. What you want from the consultant and how long this will take.

4. The return the consultant will bring, and its impact on your cashflow.

The first three points are pretty straight forward. If your cashflow doesn’t have the headroom to seek external help, and you either can’t, or won’t borrow then that has answered the question. Most business owners wouldn’t only ask for one opinion and cost of providing support, if money is tight make sure you get a number of proposals. If money is exceptionally tight make sure you provide an accurate brief, or work with your favoured party to create one. A tight brief, sometimes jointly created makes sure there is no unexpected costs and expectations are met both ways.

The fourth point however is easily overlooked. Let’s assume your goal in your new relationship is to increase business by refreshing your marketing strategy. It may be to reshape your supply chain and realise efficiencies. Both of these will in different ways have a positive impact on your cashflow over time. I accept this is a little more risky, but don’t overlook it when considering affordability.

The final point is not to forget grants. Companies exist to help you access ‘free money.’ Grants are usually on a part funded basis, so you will likely need to put up some money yourself, but I have had clients use me due to the fact my time was part funded as an investment in their business. See link for RDPE grant at the base of the article and Granted Ltd, a company that sourced grants and rebates for operating growing businesses.

I said there are two sides……

The second reverses the question. Can you afford not to engage with a consultant? I am the first to admit not all businesses and not all business leaders need external expertise. I think it’s fair to say the vast majority of SME’s would benefit, but that is different to needing.

Unfortunately, about 4 in 10 companies fail in the first 5 years. IRO 20% of businesses don’t make it to their first anniversary. Now thats a sad fact, and the reasons behind the failures will be complex and multilayered. But in simple terms, that is a significant number of businesses that could have benefited from some help. They needed it.

But benefiting and needing a still two different things. Here are some of the outcomes I deliver for my clients:

  • Accelerating business growth through sales, client acquisition and process management.
  • Aligning marketing and sales strategies, ensuring consistent and correct messaging and experiences.
  • Professional development of key personnel leading to behavioural change and opportunity creation.
  • Supply chain management and maximisation.

Can I create and lever the same opportunities for any business? No, the nature, size and resources of all my clients are different so the opportunity will not be the same. The people are different with different approaches and mindsets so even in ‘identical’ businesses the outcomes will vary.

But can I deliver some, or all of the above outcomes in any business? Simply put, yes. Since 2012 I have not been involved in a business without a positive impact. I would caveat that the leader the business needs to be open to change and critical challenges to the ‘norm’ but the answer remains yes.

If you are open to accepting my word on the above (references are available) I think the reversal of the question is justifiable. If you haven’t engaged some external expertise supporting you in running your business why not? Don’t get to the point what you can’t afford it, hopefully engaging well with he right person should turbo charge growth, take advantage of it!

Useful Links:

Granted – Click here– specialists in unlocking non-dilutive funding

Cash is King Article – Click here – a handy article on cashflow and its importance

Working with me – Click here – some innovative ideas of  funding my support

RDPE grant – Click here – my gov site on a specific grant option for rural businesses