Contentious? Perhaps. Business consultants, management consultants, change consultants, whichever flavour of consultant will be in next, all have value to add in the right situation and a role to play. It’s no picnic starting a business and it can be tempting to bring someone in to hold your hand. Before you do however, there are a few things to consider.
The theory goes that consultants add value to businesses and spot things that you are just too close or too emotionally involved to see. But is that really down to intrinsic skill or is it just the fact that they bring a pair of fresh eyes and some common sense?
Yes, they are the ‘experts’ and yes, they give good advice. So what? So does my Mum and she doesn’t invoice me 000s every month.
Consultants have been there and done it. They’ve got the experience. But is that experience relevant to what your business is trying to achieve?
They probably worked at a large corporate, had an executive position, and were only really one of ten people that could have implemented a program in their sector.
So how, really, are they going to be able to apply this awesome knowledge to your business? You need someone that has been in the same sector, in a company of a similar size, going through the same cycle. How is some utopian view from some senior management exec. with a 25 year career at a blue-chip going to be relevant today anyway?
Entrepreneurs make easy prey
Entrepreneurs are the ultimate self doubters; relentlessly pushing themselves to do more and be better than they are. It's an admirable strength, but can also be exploited from the outside. After the consultant has tidied up the bleeding obvious and set some grandiose principle based mantra from business management 101, it's time for them to exit stage right.
Remember; ultimately you're the business owner. Don't let someone confuse you or make you forget why you started your business in the first place. If you had enough confidence in that idea to start a business around it - and you still believe your business is viable - then you should keep your convictions.
Seek out those who are willing to share their experience but not override yours and who will work alongside your vision, not against it.
Either that or consider outsourcing my mother. She’ll just tell you to just stop worrying about it and get on with it.
Feel free to ask me, correct me or disagree with me about the topics I cover @jamesolden
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