The Hardest Thing About Consulting with Business Owners – The Money
In over 32 years of working with businesses of all sizes, the hardest part is not finding the things that need to be fixed or the opportunities for strategic change growth and expansion. It’s really all about the money. Typically, business owners, managers and CEO’s have to balance a whole list of priorities and manage the day to day while giving your ideas and advice serious consideration. As consultants we’ve all heard “well it’s not in the budget this quarter” or “I don’t know if we have the resources to do that” or “Sorry but it’s a financial problem for us’.
The challenge for us consultants is that we often spend a lot of time researching the businesses we’re talking to, soliciting their problems and analyzing their situations – so we tend to fall in love with our clients and the improvements that we can make for them. It can be a real let down when the solutions you are presenting will actually solve serious problems – or even better – create more positive revenue, but the business owner just can’t afford to move forward.
Business owners tend to have a natural propensity towards high levels of risk taking or they wouldn’t be where they are, in fact many would really like to say yes, so in many ways they can be ideal clients. Smaller businesses are easier to deal with when it comes to decision making (rather than waiting for corporate departmental approvals and such) but the other side of the coin is that smaller businesses also tend to have less access to capital for their own development.
Since the banks are only friendly to providing financing and lines of credit to businesses who don’t really need it, or are just too slow to be able to fund today’s business opportunities – our consulting firm has taken the affirmative step to trying to help the business owners find the money.
Many in fact will say yes to our consulting solution interventions if we can find a funding source that will underwrite the types of development solutions that we typically recommend. Our own frustration with tight client cash has led us to find several business funding sources that will work with our clients on a short-term basis – so they can make the strategic moves and changes to improve their businesses today. This can open up a new world for business owners – who are now able to accelerate change and development now, rather than waiting for ‘someday’ to come along.
While not appropriate for every business, these types of business funding are a great fit when your particular business consulting solutions will actually help create more business and generate more revenue. An equipment intensive new manufacturing machine, a restaurant patio expansion for more seating, IT solutions that will create deeper market penetration and cost savings, employee training programs for example. When consulting interventions are directly related to tangible benefits for an established business – we can now present a way to make it happen for our clients.
The best part about business lending for consulting solutions is that qualifying is typically less complicated, current credit ratings are disregarded if the business has cash flow, and funding can happen in a matter of days – great for consulting firms like ours. Shorter term loans of 6-24 months allow businesses to fund the specific changes that you recommend and have a direct cause-effect relationship with the results they get – all measurable in a reasonable amount of time. This can substantially reduce the perception of risk in the equation for the business owner. Of course, the pressure is on you as the consultant to make sure your recommendations are implemented well and that they work - but that’s nothing new for good consulting firms anyway. We have a few business funding groups that we work with who underwrite funding for the small entrepreneur all the way up to large corporations, and we have business clients of all sizes who can find the right package just for them.
I don’t know if finding funding for our clients represents a new approach for consulting firms but it is an additional convenience for the customer and can create high levels of satisfaction and get more consulting contracts awarded. For more info here’s a link to our simple business funding page we share with business owners: https://www.bartberry.com/fast-short-term-cash
Bart Berry is a veteran organizational development consultant who has delivered consulting and training interventions to hundreds of companies in six countries. Http://www.BartBerry.com