How do you know if you need a consultant?

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Coaching is the hottest thing in the entrepreneurial land. Maybe it is the rise in work from home start-up businesses, but it seems everyone has a life coach, business coach and every other kind of coach now. And not surprisingly, everyone also wants to be hired as a coach to promote their value to others.

But do you really need a business coach? And how do you find a good one?

All business owners need some level of consulting, strategic planning and financial oversight. We all know this, it is just that small business owners in particular are slow to let go of control. We want to believe we can do it all, marketing, bookkeeping, client development, social media and IT.

We are controlled by nature and our business is our baby. Not to mention we are cost conscious about spending money on anything that we do not deem as revenue producing. But the truth is that you cannot be good at everything.

To grow, improve efficiencies, develop cash flow and ultimately reach alternate levels of success, you must be willing to ask for help.

So how do you know if you need a coach?

First, let’s say, “consultant.” Coach is a fluffy word that people throw around because it is trendy. If you are feeling stuck in any area of your business or simply not generating the income you desire, consider hiring a business consultant.

You are looking for someone with a specific background though, and here is where you need to do your due diligence. Anyone can proclaim themselves a business coach, but what skills do they bring to the table? Psychoanalyzing yourself and taking ten personality tests is only good if you get actionable items out of doing them.

If you are feeling stuck in any area of your business or simply not generating the income you desire, consider hiring a business consultant.

Is the consultant you are considering most used to working with businesses from the start-up stage or organizations with well over $10 million a year in gross revenue? Because those owners have very different needs.

I have worked with businesses that have no employees and owners that manage a staff of more than 100. I have consulted across many different industries from health and wellness to fitness studios and gym owners, boutique retail to construction and trades contractors as well as non-profits.

Having that depth of knowledge to draw from means I have seen what works as well as what doesn’t and applied it in many different scenarios. You need to do your homework to make sure you are hiring someone who not only has a big database of experience to draw from but experience with your business type.

Make sure you ask interview questions to understand the size of the teams your coach has worked with or the number of people they have managed. Why would you hire someone who has not successfully built their own business? Or someone who does not have varied enough experience with other businesses to show a proven track record of success? Or, my favorite, someone who does not understand their own finances and bookkeeping?

Accounting and finance is the biggest area I find that business owners are lacking in skills and discipline, even in the accounting industry.

Questions you should always be asking before hiring a consultant:

  • Do they have knowledge in your industry?
  • What is their experience with business consulting?
  • How many clients do they have?
  • How do they expect to be able to help you in your business?
  • What successes have they had in their own business (if a consultant cannot give you statistics on their own practice, we already have a problem)
  • Can I call your references?

Hiring a coach will not make you more successful than your competitors or help you reach your goals. Hiring someone with a wide knowledge base who takes the time to understand you and your business and who has the skill set as well as business acumen to help you grow personally and professionally as a leader is what will help take your business to the next level.

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