There are many excellent business coaches available, but finding one with the right skill set can feel something like a needle in a hay stack. Not to worry. With a bit of planning you can find the right consultant to help get on track.
But what are the qualities of a great business consultant? In our experience, we have seen a very clear pattern.
Business consulting goes beyond simply pointing out problems and offering strategies. A real business development professional will be able to partner with an owner and key members of the team to enliven and embolden the company’s mindset, culture, and attitude about business development.
We all know how it feels when business development is firing on all 8 cylinders. There is a definite swagger that comes from knowing your marketing, branding, outreach, prospecting and sales are working the way you want. Watching sales reports climb. Increased profitability. There are plenty of good times when business is humming along.
2. Great consultants get interested in what your business needs to thrive
One would hope every consultant is focused on understanding exactly what is standing in the way of your success, but, in our experience, that does not seem to be the case. Many consultants have a knack for avoiding difficult conversations or are simply unable to impact enough areas to make a lasting difference.
Thinking objectively, it probably is in your best interest to work with a consultant who is committed to exploring every area of your business that may be holding you back.
3. Great consultants can smell out problem areas
Ok, enough with the fun. Now onto problems. Once repaired, these areas can become strengths, but until then they are a daily thorn in our side. No one is an exception. We have all experienced these struggles at one time or another.
4. Great business coaches hold teams accountable to their agreements
Agreements made and kept. This is the heartbeat of business success. An owner needs to know that his or her people are pushing projects forward and are following through on their commitments.
But what happens if biz dev, marketing and sales are clearly flat? What happens when the pace of work lags? An owner cannot be in all places at all times. They cannot always be the voice of discipline.
Unless you are saddled with a truly obstinate employee, generally, it is not difficult to pick up the pace. Like anyone else, team members can get overwhelmed by requests. They may have a hard time setting boundaries or arranging priorities. They may have a hard time requesting a fellow employee to live up to their promises. They may not be able to tell the “boss” where the workflow is stuck. Though our teams mean well (most of the time!) it is easy for anyone to push off business development for next week...then the week after.
5. Great coaches have a plan
If the ultimate goal of working with a business coach is to improve the results of a company then there must be a real commitment on the part of leadership to have straight conversations. There is no other way to put this. We must be willing to look at every area of the business that is not working the way we want. To do this, in relation to business development, sales and marketing, we must get committed about looking at these three areas.
It will be crucial to strengthen the business development activities that continue to work while tossing out what does not. Doing this may be challenging and, sometimes, uncomfortable. Change is not always easy and there may be ingrained beliefs about the correct way to do things. But let’s remember that the goal here is to grow the business. As the saying goes...results don’t lie. If we are not getting the results we want we must change the strategy or the implementation. Results. Always results.
Having worked with their new consultant for a while, many owners have shared it was like finally having the team member they did not know they were missing. For many businesses, it was the final piece needed to get the company permanently on track.
The right consultant can provide a spark. They are that persistent reminder to keep pushing for another day. We all need that person in our corner. This is what a great consultant or coach can do for us. They can help make a permanent difference by developing new ways of growing the business and in doing so, help us provide a solid financial future for ourselves, our company and our employees.