A prospect recently asked me the grandaddy of all challenges: “How can you help us if you don’t know our business?” It’s a reasonable and frequent question and I answered it as I always do: I don’t presume to understand your business better than you do, but I have helped many companies struggling with similar issues and some of those solutions may work well for your company, too – why don’t we explore that together?
Many business owners and CEOs don’t like consultants. They’ve had bad experiences in the past; believe there is nothing a consultant can tell them that they don’t already know; feel the services aren’t worth the fees; they already have that expertise in-house; etc. These can be valid points, but instead of making excuses the smart CEO makes the most of consultants who can truly provide value.
My best clients are not CEOs who face the most difficulties, but the ones who continually ask themselves “What could I be doing better?” They are open to new ideas and other approaches, and they’ve learned to get help when they need it.
Consultants may not know your business intimately but they know your issues. As business leaders or owners themselves, some have lived the same experiences and have probably made the same mistakes that you have. Good consultants are assets. Working with a consultant, however, can be frustrating and unproductive, if you don’t select the right consultant when you need one.
Successful bloggers tell us amateurs not to link to our own articles, but I’ll ignore that advice here as a public service to business leaders. “8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Business Advisor” spells out the expectations a company should have about itself and its advisors before deciding to work with a consultant. “Why a Bad Economy is the Perfect Time to Bring in a Business Consultant” is a counterintuitive appeal to invest in advice when the business can least afford it. Read them both – they are worth your time.
© 2010 Makarios Consulting, LLC, www.MakariosConsulting.com
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