How to get the most out of a business consultant
What all successful business owners have in common is that they ask for help when they need it. And the good news is that help is easily accessible. You can find a business advisor or trainer anywhere not far from you and the sessions are often free of charge, especially if you are planning to start a business.
Whether you see a business advisor through a free service or choose a paid business coach, here are some tips for advisors and trainers who want you to know as much of their sessions as possible.
Come with something, not with anything. I recently had an ideal business client, at least that’s how I perceived him after our consulting session. He wanted to start a lawn and land management business and he was employed full time only for the local community. He has already asked his superiors whether it wouldn’t be OK to start a business from the side, which he could run in the evenings and at weekends. They gave him OK if he signed the necessary documents confirming his employment and they were satisfied that he was making plans for his future career (after all, work in government institutions is not as safe as before).
He already had his own equipment, business license, name and business cards. He came to me to find out how to reach business owners in his local community. We talked about his target market, his services, how to collect the information needed to set prices, his competitors, how to ask for business – countless topics that ended up taking steps to launch his business.
Then I felt energized and refreshed, thinking, “Why this session was so productive and how can I have more of these customers”. That’s the answer. He came with something. He had industry experience, day-to-day work and savings to finance start-up costs, equipment and the idea of the target customer. I contrast him with another client who came recently to set up a business “to help women in matters such as housing, childcare, life skills because I know so many women who really need help”. You achieve your goal.
Trust the advisors. Confidentiality is important and business advisers will respect it. If you feel better to sign a confidentiality statement before reading the business plan or swear that they will not steal or share a business idea, well. But trust me. Business advisors have been exposed to all kinds of business ideas and very little is unique to them. Nevertheless, they have chosen a career as a business advisor and are not looking for a unique idea of piracy.
Be open and honest in your financial situation. A business advisor can be a great source of financing and can help you prepare a financing proposal, but you need to be open and honest about your financial situation and the earlier the better. A business advisor, especially during the first session, may not want to leave immediately and ask “How much money do you have to start this business?” or “How much money do you have to invest in a loan”, but it is important that they know early to help you find the right financial resources. Unclear statements such as “I should be OK in obtaining credit” or “I should have sufficient collateral to apply for commercial credit” really do not help. Give details of your advisor and the sooner you do this, the further you will be.
If you already own a business and the advisor asks you to see the financial documentation, avoid answering: “My accountant takes care of it all, so we are good there. Financial records can reveal quite a lot about company management. Use the knowledge and tools of an advisor for financial analysis. The advisor can save you money by checking your documents.
In addition to the financial situation, Warren Williams, head of Turning Point Business Coaching in North Carolina, adds: “Be open to what the trainer can teach you. A good coach really has the best interest in your heart because they really want to help you (as well as your company) to succeed. Stay open to the opportunity to make your business better by making yourself better.
Perform your tasks. Business clients usually disappear or play “hide and look” as soon as a consultant entrusts them with a task. The task may be to conduct market research. If you don’t know what or how to do it, just say so. Don’t bite as if you understood. Avoiding further conversations with an advisor or not answering emails because you have not done your “homework” but rather delays the process of achieving business goals. Let the counselor know that you are having difficulty with the task and that you can take advantage of more guidance. You don’t have to feel embarrassed.
5. understanding the role of the counselor. As with any kind of counseling, it’s all about helping you to discover solutions and not telling you what the masses are doing.