Why Your Small Business Needs A Consultant

Women entrepreneurs who are also mothers understand that running your own business can be a lot like having a baby. First comes the rush of excitement, of starting something big and life-changing. Then comes the hard work – long days and non-existent weekends – as you struggle to nurture and grow it. There are some days when you wonder why you turned down a “safe” career and followed your dreams – which on occasion can feel more like a nightmare!

Hey, I understand completely! I’ve been there. I started my first business soon after I had my first child. The past 20 years of my entrepreneurial life have been exciting, rewarding and sometimes exasperating, all at once.

I remember how, when I first started out, I even had to learn how to raise money from investors. Funding became a big focus. It was very uncomfortable for me to stand in front of a room full of potential investors and sell them on why they should take a risk on my company. I wasn’t used to being a Speaker. I literally-no lie-almost fainted my first time speaking to raise money. Thanks to a ton of hard work, the right mentors, and a big dash of Grace, over my career thus far I built a $125 million NASDAQ traded company, bought and sold over 15 properties, raised over $66 million in funding, and coached/consulted with numerous entrepreneurs.

Running A Business Is Not For The Faint of Heart!

While I’m super grateful to live life on my terms (the #1 reason most entrepreneurs go into business), I often see business owners who haven’t tasted the same success. Some go bankrupt. Many struggle just to stay afloat. The saddest part is when bankruptcy occurs it is often the business owner’s family and friends money that is lost (along with their own). These are the people willing to put cash into a deal without questioning based solely on the relationship…which as a result takes a major hit. No one ever forgets when you lose their money (even in they forgive you). Talk about “awkward” over the holidays!

That pains me, because so many of them deserve better. They have a promising idea, strong work ethic, a willingness to work hard and take a calculated risk. And yet, a few errors are all it takes to destroy everything that they’ve built.

Even if your business succeeds, there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so in the future. A business owner has to stay nimble never resting on his or her laurels. The tactics that helped get you there won’t keep you there. Evolution is the name of the game. Growth brings a whole new set of issues to contend with.

Anyone can run a successful business, if they have a sound strategy and make the right decisions. But not many can afford to experiment losing serious cash in the process. Do you have a big pile of cash and years to waste learning from your failures? Even if you do, is that the wise choice?

The Smart Way To Make Fewer Mistakes (And Gain Bigger Profits)

There is a better way. You can leverage the experience and specialized skills of someone who has “been there, done that.” Whether your business has grown rapidly, plateaued, or competing in a difficult market, working with an experienced business consultant might be exactly what you need.

To many small business owners, the term ‘business consultant’ inspires visions of people who work for large companies, charge fat fees, use jargon, and lots of pie charts.

And yet, consulting services can benefit small business owners far more than the GMs and Coca Colas of the world. It is a smart idea, however, to
seek expert advice when you need it the most.

The needs of a small business are very different from those of medium-sized or large companies. And please understand “small business” is technically categorized by the US government by industry with revenue thresholds as high as $35.5 million including up to 1,500 employees! I don’t know about you but that isn’t small to me. The Small Business Association (SBA) defines it as $7 million or 500 employees. The US Census from 2012 state 95% of small businesses have 9 employees or less and that non-employer firms (one person companies or freelancers) make up 78% of all businesses. Being the owner of a small business, you face challenges that medium-sized and large companies simply do not. Life is very different for a one or two person team. Holes must be filled with wise counsel of seasoned business consultants, lawyers, and CFO’s. All of which can be outsourced.

Just because someone has been on the payroll of a Fortune 500 company doesn’t mean that they have the know-how to help you-the small business owner-with your problems.

You need someone who has experience running businesses who has taken risks, struggled, and understands “the real deal” of worrying over staying afloat long enough to get to sustainability. Someone who has built businesses from scratch, and taken them to heights that you dream of taking yours. Who has battle scars and understands how it is to operate on a shoe string budget.

I actually witnessed someone walk out of a job when he realized how little budget the owner had to work with. Just up and left. One of my clients hired me and the very first day on the job she lost her top client. Revenues were scarce. Very scarce. Instead of walking out I smiled and said, “Oh well, the only place to go from here is up!” In the end, we did turn it around. It was hard but it happened.

Let’s face it, your struggles are real and without a brain trust to tap into it can get overwhelming. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Play to your strengths and hire out your weaknesses.

Why Your Business Needs A Consultant

Some small business owners think of consultants as a luxury. They couldn’t be more wrong. Combining specialized expertise with a broad view of business activities, a consultant can bring powerful insights to grow your business, with none of the financial overheads of hiring an equally qualified employee.

If you own a small business, it might never have crossed your mind that you CAN hire a truly talented business consultant. It is not an out of reach dream. When I am making an investment decision I consider not the price tag but the value of return I anticipate receiving. If I can trade a $1 for $3 or $10 wouldn’t I do that? All day long!

Consulting services offer you valuable insights that you can start using right away – not months or years from now – to multiply your income. And this service is tailor-made for your business, your market and your goals. A worthy consultant can be your business’s best friend.

For instance, I work with small businesses in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Although I have built multi-million dollar companies, I started off at my kitchen table as a solo entrepreneur with a dream, much like you. I have built companies in fields as diverse as real estate, consumer product goods, and environmental services. I purposely went into diverse fields to test my business assumptions. Business principles are principles. They work across industries and sectors. I’ve proven that with real work. I am an entrepreneur at heart and specialize in working with small business owners like you.

A large consultancy like McKinsey or PwC can never do for you what a small business consultant can – even if you have tens of thousands of dollars to splurge on them. They do not – and cannot – empathize with your challenges, your struggles and your goals.

An independent business consultant can also better understand the nuances of running a business, unique to you, such as where you live, and how your life experiences affect your business prospects.

Since I am a business coach in Atlanta and as far away as Sweden I know that small business needs are are very different based on location. The approach is different in Los Angeles, verses Boston, or New York as well as in the USA verses another country.

Succeed As a Female Entrepreneur

And if you’re a woman, the challenges you face are even more complex. I bought my first company when I was 28. I walked into the door on day one with the very first employee I encountered asking me to make copies for him. He assumed I was the new receptionist. It was funny but not funny if you know what I mean. Instead of going all diva on him I made the copies to send the message around expectations within the new corporate culture-we are all expected to pitch in and help each other and the business succeed. He got the message 30 minutes later when I was introduced as the new owner. Seeing his eyes widen staring at me like, “oh s#$%” was priceless!

A consultant who does not understand your stressors and opportunities lacks the knowledge and insight to help you achieve maximum success. You can always pick up a nugget or two but the best consultants stretch you to excel.

I work closely with many promising women entrepreneurs. It’s immensely rewarding for me to help them grow professionally and personally.

I love working with men as well having spent the majority of my career working in male-dominated industries and as the mother of three boys and a wife I live with four of them. I am a “guy’s girl” meaning guys like that I can hold my own with them. This affords my male clients a unique advantage of getting business perspectives from the female point of view. Women spend the vast majority of the household income. Check writing is down due to technology but at one time women wrote 88% of all checks. Doesn’t it make sense to tap into that psychology? Today’s unique culture demands non-stop communication which requires nurturing clients. Women are naturally empathetic and communicative.

Small business owners face unique challenges – and women even more so. I’ve worked with seriously talented women that had a hard time asking for higher rates. One of my expertise areas is confidence building both in negotiations, sales, and as a person. It is hugely important in business. Together, we learn to blow past any mental barriers.

Woman-owned businesses in America provide jobs to nearly 7.9 million people, and generated $1.5 trillion in revenues in 2015 – that’s more than the GDP of most countries. Atlanta ranks 5th highest number of women-owned businesses among all the cities in America. What about your city? Are you surrounding yourself with like-minded people who support your efforts? Remember, your economic status falls within range of the five people you hang out with most. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with Eagles and not turkey’s!

Work With Me

Thankfully, I am one of the women who have achieved success despite the odds. It’s been a humbling experience, which is why I now focus on consulting small businesses and providing personal, one-on-one coaching services to entrepreneurs. I love supporting and inspiring the men and women who contribute so much to the economy. You are a blessing.

I would be honored to discuss your company’s needs and how my business consulting and/or business coaching could be of service. Click here to contact me for a complimentary discovery session or email support@joycebone.com. I look forward to connecting!

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