The Business Advisor Paradigm – Cost or Investment?
What impact will a business consultant have on your SME business?
Let’s begin to answer that with another question. What do The All Blacks, an Olympic Gold Medallist and Bill Gates have in common? They all employ a coach to help them:
“Create the perfect game plan, perfectly implemented.”
It is no coincidence that the vast majority of business award winners employ a business advisor.
Let’s talk about small business in New Zealand
The SME market (Small to Medium Enterprises) accounts for 94% of the businesses within New Zealand’s economy. Small and medium businesses suit the entrepreneurial Kiwi spirit and many New Zealanders own or are employed by a SME business. The down side is that smaller companies have an incredibly high casualty rate, so entering the SME market is not for the faint-hearted, and success requires a robust strategy.
A survey of SME Business Owners showed that there were three key reasons why people decided to start their own business:
- For a better quality of life
- To make more money
- To be their own boss.
So why is it that the SME reality is so far from the vision?
Most SME Business Owners find that in reality they work long hours, make little more than salary, and find it very difficult to hold themselves accountable for many of the tougher decisions that need to be made.
The answer lies mainly in the fact that most SME business owners are extremely good within the industry that they start a business in. They are great builders, excellent engineers and stunning graphic artists – but their career skillset is not the business owner skillset that is required to build a successful business.
When the topic of employing an business advisor comes up, many SME owners ask why they should pay good money for someone to show them how to do what they do. They ask “What does a business advisor know about engineering?
What does a business advisor bring to the SME business table?
A good business advisor is an experienced business person who is not emotionally involved in the business. This enables them to take a helicopter view and help business owners “create the perfect game plan, and implement it perfectly”.
One of the most common missing ingredients in a sound SME business strategy is the “score”. Imagine the All Blacks playing a game without keeping score. Business is no different.
Businesses need KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to record the score and to demonstrate whether the game plan is working. Some businesses will have these at the macro level where the owner knows the profit and loss figures, but not at the team level. It is the team that needs to implement the game plan – so they need to know what the score is. Are they winning? Was it a good day, week or month? Are they on target?
An engineer running an engineering business needs good engineering processes; but also:
- A clear vision, well documented
- Goals that are relative to both the owner and the business
- Carefully thought out strategies to move the business in the right direction
- KPI’s that will quickly tell them if the game plan is working
- Ideal actions from the team that will implement our perfect game plan
None of the above has anything to do with engineering, building, graphic design or any other business market niche. Implementing the perfect game plan is a separate and indispensable skill.
So; are you in the game? What is your “Perfect game plan, perfectly Implemented”?
It’s time to view a business advisor not as a cost, but as an investment in your business. A good business consultant will improve your bottom line many more times than any fee that is charged.
Get in the game now.
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