Paula Groves, Vice President – Business Consulting, will be sharing tips and tools for entrepreneurs. This is her first blog post, an introduction to business consulting.
I joined OBDC in May of 2014 to head up the business consulting practice. I have been advising small businesses for over 20 years and one question entrepreneurs often ask me is “what exactly is business consulting and how can it help me?” I will paraphrase the parable of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to answer that question. I like to use this parable because I believe working with a business consultant can help you uncover your blind spots, which helps you save time and money.
The parable goes something like this:
Once upon a time, six blind men happened upon an elephant. Even though they had no idea what an elephant was, they decided to touch it .
“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first, touching the leg.
“It’s a rope,” said the second, touching the tail.
“It’s like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third, touching the trunk.
“It’s like a big fan” said the fourth, touching the ear.
“It’s like a huge wall,” said the fifth, touching the belly.
“It’s like a solid pipe,” said the sixth, touching the tusk.
Hearing their argument a wise man asked, “What’s the problem?” The blind men said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” The wise man responded, “All of you are right. The reason you disagree is because you each touched a different part. The elephant has all the features you described.”
So how does this parable apply to small business consulting? Because a consultant can help you save time and money by uncovering your blind spots and helping you see the full picture.
Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know. This is called your blind spot. There are so many aspects to running a small business:
- Getting new customers
- Setting up technology systems
- Bookkeeping and cash flow management
- Staying ahead of the competition
- Social media marketing
- Construction buildout
- Website development
- Managing employees
- And so much more…
With the rate at which new information is available through the internet and other channels, it can be hard to keep up with latest and greatest techniques for building a successful business. This is where a business consultant can help. You can work with a social media expert who can help to determine which tool is best for your business: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp, Hootsuite . . . the list is endless, and grows every day. A finance expert can help you manage cash. A technology whiz can help you drive website traffic. You may not have the time to stay on top of these tools. And tools change all the time which is also frustrating. Working with a consulting expert can point you in the right direction in less time and with less money, which helps you get faster results.
If you are interested in working with a business consultant, shoot me an email at email@example.com that summarizes the issue you are facing. You can also post a question on the OBDC group at Townsquared.
Image Credit: Donna Brown via Flickr