Looking at contracts with an expert eye, working out strategies, preparing offers, tying up loose ends, these are some of the aspects of doing business for which a number of entrepreneurs have neither the time, the experience, nor the ability.
On occasions when he finds himself in a tight corner, the entrepreneur is glad to be able to call on a consultant for help. But consultants come and go. After the visit some of the good advice will be remembered, but the know-how gap that led to the crisis will probably remain.
There are few entrepreneurs who have not had need of an outside expert at one time or another. Some remember only the negative aspects of the consultant's visit, but they would do well to remember the improvement in results this call made possible.
In a changing business environment, a consultant's know-how and strategies must also change. The ways of doing things five or ten years ago were no doubt appropriate at the time. But tomorrow? To keep up with market conditions our requirements expectations and demands must adapt rapidly. The consultant must fully master the exact requirement of today's business world to be of use to customers who need help, and whose time, like their understanding of complex questions is necessarily limited.
Charting the road to success
As in so many other areas of day-to-day life, the partnership between consultant and client is likely to meet with success if it is based on trust. Together they must discover the root cause of the problem, the true nature and purpose of the activity in question, etc.
Properly conducted, the consulting and/or coaching exercise helps the entrepreneur to organize more efficiently, to sharpen his ability, to increase his know-how. But of course, there are times when the businessman simply wants to exchange views with an expert for a couple of hours. When just passive consulting is required, this should become clear when the first contact is made.
For consulting to be fully successful, both partners need to observe a few essential rules:
- The clients must not expect miracles.
- The consultant should confine himself to identifying solutions and areas for improvement, avoiding the temptation of "reinventing" the business or focusing on problems rather thank solutions.
- Two heads are better than one: together client and consultant can make sure the business is on right road. The road of success.