Consultants turn Small Business To Big Business
Q: How has operational business consulting changed with the economy?
A: I'm not sure the business model has changed as much as the performance expectations demanded. Results are essential. Consultants need to get things done. They can no longer just provide an instruction manual. You have to be prepared to pitch in, mentor constantly, and stay on top of minor concerns before they escalate. If you can't show tangible results, you're toast. When clients see our people as key assets to their long term success, we know we're doing something right.
Q: Now that the recession is passing, what is the state of remaining businesses?
A: Businesses can be classified by three categories. Rising tides. Stagnant waters. Sinking ships. Rising tides are on the upswing, and need to focus on staying lean. It's too easy to start blowing money when it's pouring in. There's a cycle, and when the cycle turns, it's tough to trim costs like long term leases and salaried executives. That's what caused a few of our clients to fold in recent years. We encourage our clients to take some calculated risk, but to also spend each dollar as if it's your last.
Q: You mentioned some businesses are stagnant waters. Would you elaborate on that?
A: Stagnant waters are business owners resistant to change what worked in the past. These clients lack a sense of urgency, which is the fastest way to kill a company. It's up to us to show them a better way and an end game vision. Then there are sinking ships. Owners with major revenue and cash flow issues will very often blame the economy, the geographic area, even the president of the United States. But that doesn't explain why similar businesses in the same type of market do just fine.
Corner Office interview with John Casson, managing partner with The Bear & Horse Co., a Florida based operational consulting firm. John may be reached at 704-502-1979. This interview was condensed for content clarity. Copyright 2011 - all rights reserved.