Are you a small business owner who finds it hard to connect with the right consultants?
Google has millions times millions of information on the consultation topic. It’s literally like the new virtual library, which almost replaces the brick and mortar. So, fears of the unknown surface and are reasonable. Better yet, being afraid of the overabundance of consultation information on search engines can provoke more anxiety. Skepticism and hesitation are triggered emotions from the “unknown” internet territories. As a result, people have a hard time trusting a lot of digital sources and decide just to go along with anyone or no one at all.
I offer consultation services to small to medium size businesses and owners who desire to write web content or nonfiction books. I’ve seen it a zillion time and listen to many painful, valid stories during my free 30 minute sessions. People are tired of the scams and dishonesty. During almost every call, the conversation begins with a personal touch or an icebreaker. One statement I like to start with, which tends to get prospective clients to feel comfortable, is: tell me a little about yourself and give some background on your business, business idea or startup. It almost never fails. They begin their stories, and the majority have some bad experiences. What’s more disheartening is hearing statements like:
“I don’t know where to start!”
“I paid someone $1500 to help with my idea and never heard from that person again!”
“I’ve made too many mistakes in the past to repeat the past!”
“How do I know what I’m getting or not?”
“Trust weighs heavily here!”
To hear such horror stories and disappointments, makes me be upfront with prospective clients. You want honesty and integrity. And, as customers and or clients, you want expert advice, direction, and value. Ultimately, the results and changes for better are what matters to you.
Consultants should know you want to feel safe. You also want to ensure both of your philosophies and principles align. All too often, prospective clients dive right in without first evaluating and gathering information. Accurately built websites will tell you everything about a consultant. Be sure to look for good content on their sites. Good content includes blogging or videos. A blog’s content should provide substantial information for your wants and needs. Additionally, it gives general knowledge about your particular areas you seek to improve.
Consultants are highly recommended to better your business, help with strategic planning, assist with identifying problems, offer a fresh perspective and viewpoint, get your products and services to the right market and receive assistance with your plan or idea. (Consultants know that you’re trying to understand your market). They are also helpful when you feel stuck or confused. Unfortunately, some small businesses do not receive this type of service, especially if they’re newbies. A prominent community figure once said, “Sadly the baby-boomers are retiring. Many from this era were taught how to serve people and help them. Now, the current generation only sees dollar signs.” Traditional services can balance contemporary services.
Before seeking a consultant, you should have your idea written down. You don’t need a plan per se, but writing it helps to see a clearer picture and shows a consultant some of your steps taken in the right direction. Also, determine for yourself if you need a consultant, coach or advisor. Each specialty caters to you differently. A consultant works alongside a business and person to help implement the plan. Coaches work alongside and get assistance. Advisors give ideas, and the business team goes off to perform.
Bear this in mind about consultants. Consultants provide expert advice in specialized areas. They are experts or experienced professionals who know their content for their particular fields. When you seek an expert for assistance, it’s temporarily for a fee. Before locking into a contract, always request a brief consultation.
If he or she doesn’t offer a few minutes of engagement, move on to another.
A mini conference helps you and the consultant determine if business should go to the next step. During this brief session, ask questions and tell your story. It is imperative for you to be specific. Don’t leave the consultant guessing. Being transparent is okay. Believe it or not, transparency positions the relationship status. You and the expert will know whether or not working together is a good idea.
Before jumping all in, definitely, ask for a FREE consultation.