When you first start your journey on being a small business consultant, the question that arises is how do you build on it and make it grow? What marketing strategies and processes do you put in place? How do you do you position yourself as an expert – the “go to” professional? Here are a few ways for you to do all that, regardless of whether you are a business consultant or coach, advisor or mentor. These will help you grow and polish your business.
Understanding the Coach – Consultant Perception
As you know, there is a difference between a small business consultant and small business coach. A small business consultant is responsible for helping the client with their problem-solving, strategy and planning and building their business ability and knowledge. A consultant could be working on designing a business model or a market plan to evaluating which marketing strategies could be used and how.
As a business consultant, you will find yourself helping clients on how to map and execute projects. A consultant counsels, provides skill training and devises ideas with the client to create realistic outcomes while developing methodical thinking. A small business coach, on the other hand, assists in building success by concentrating on personal development, decision-making, execution, finding clarity and the self-sabotaging behavior that includes procrastinating and distracting. As a coach, you don’t just give your client suggestions and advice, you actually help them find the answers from within.
Ways to Become a Successful Business Consultant
Here are a few effective and optimum ways of successfully becoming a successful small business consultant/coach:
- Build Upon Your Own Skills
Never stop learning! You should have a process of growth and continuing education in place. Learning more about the industry you serve, best practices in consulting and coaching, leadership skills, technology, etc. There is no way you can be a successful consultant or coach if you don’t bring new knowledge and expertise to your audience. If you are willing to consistently build on your skills, you will become more valuable to your audience, boost your market value and you will be able to keep yourself in high demand. All of that being said, you will ultimately be able to charge higher fees and be more selective of your clientele. As a consultant, you are paid based on the knowledge, value and expertise and the results you bring to the table.
- Keep Your Experience Level in Check
In order to make yourself highly desirability, it is important for you to prove to them you are credible, reliable and an expert. Your audience will be comprised of very intelligent individuals and only wish to consign their business to someone who they know is an expert and is going to be reliable to help them get their desired results. So, it is unlikely for the small business owners to trust you with your businesses if you do not show an adequate level of expertise to them.
Any consultant who has worked for at least 10,000 hours is considered an expert in their field with the topic they assert as their expertise. If you work 40 hours a week, you will need 5 years of fulltime experience working in your small business in that specific topic so you can declare yourself an expert and bank on it.
- Define What Success Means To You
Money isn’t the only form of success, it’s only part of it. Having a good work / life balance is the ultimate form of success. You should make sure you define your ideal picture of what success looks like to you. Align your goals and growth objectives to help you to achieve your picture of success… keep yourself focused on your target. Being able to define the meaning of success (according to your perception), means you have done half your job. You should take out sometime to conceive up the different ways a successful coaching/consulting practice would realize in your personal and professional life.
- Kill The Ego
It is important to remember to make sure your ego does not undermine your business. Although you should value your work, however you should never let your ego get the best of you. Your work should be meaningful to you but should not get to your head. We are in the people business – let’s never forget that. We should always be adding value to our audience and clients.
Remember: Advising and helping your clients to figure out their plan of action and its pros and cons and give them the liberty to make their own decisions is how you should go about your job. Try to keep them on task but realize that they may deviate from the plan. We should always kindly guide them back on plan and keep them accountable.