A Small Business Consultant Can Help in Many Ways... But One Thing He Can?t Provide

A consultant must remember that the business belongs to the client. There is always a danger that the consultant will take a dominant position to the detriment of both of them.

Let me tell you a story of when this was forgotten?

It's not often a small business consultant will admit to a failure in a small business but my first adventure into small business consulting was a failure. I closed the business within two years.

In 1980 I had planned to offer Mom-and-Pop sized businesses cheap but effective small business help. I saw many who badly needed something to pull their businesses out of the doldrums. But consultants were asking minimum fees of $3,000 which they could not afford.

My thinking was that if I computerized and systemized my services I could offer a low-cost service which would rejuvenated their enterprises. They, of course, would be so thrilled that they would retain my firm to do their general tax and accounting work.

Like the curate's egg I was partly right. Kelvyn Peters CPA and Associates still retain clients from that era who still think I'm wonderful (but expensive). My small success blinded me for a while to where my plan was doomed to fail.

The first trap was that the 'oomph' for the business had to be supplied by the client. It did no matter how passionate and excited I was in improving a sick business if the client had no excitement. The punch and the drive to run a business have to come from the owner. The consultant can only steer that drive in the right direction.

The second pitfall was in not realizing that small businesses are sometimes run by 'small' people. Nice people; generous and kind people who you'd be glad to have as friends?but people with low horizons who are comfortable where they are. They know they should be concerned about their business. Everybody tells them so.

But in their hearts they are not.

When these people engaged my services it was because they felt they had to. The bank or a creditor had advised it. Sometimes a well-meaning son or daughter had said, "Pop you've gotta get some help! You're killing yourself here!"

However, what had to be done made them so uncomfortable that they just did not do anything and fell by the wayside. (probably blaming the consultant).

If they retained our services they became high-maintenance clients phoning us (no e-mails then) before they made almost every new decision. Sending out a mailbox drop? Please design and produce it for me. A monthly newsletter? Could you do it for me because you are so good at it.

This normally would have been great except in this case they could not pay for the service and felt it should be included in the initial fee. We lost heaps of money providing these extra services without charge.

My staff said I was too good-hearted. I do not agree. Here were people really needed our service and they couldn't pay for it. How could we let them sink alone.

We could not continue and had to close the service?and the world continued. 'Mom-and-Pop' businesses still need help but now we know how to interact with them so that neither of us is burned.

The third problem is one I discovered only yesterday from a book called Success Engineering by Phil Gosling.

In the book he tells of clients who on the face of it believe in what he tells them. They seem eager to follow his suggestions. and seem eager to do what he tells them. They attempt to do every thing he suggests, but things just don't work for them. They work for everyone else but not for them. I experienced the same thing.

I felt that they were psychologically sabotaging themselves because of their fear of the unknown. Phil has a completely different explanation which he explains in his book.

So now our number one criteria for accepting a new client is that they should have the passion and persistence to see it through. An ailing business shows signs of improvement week by week but sometimes it will be two years before vigilance can be relaxed. Those two years are too hard to deal with for some people. They would rather surrender.

Previously, I have said that to me accounting wasn't boring or dull. I am passionate about being an accountant. I have an excitement about helping people because I can make a difference to their lives.

If my experience and knowledge is added to the excitement and drive of a business owner we, together, can really make things happen. Dreams really will come true.

Keep the dream alive.

About The Author
Kelvyn Peters is one of Australia's longest-serving Tax Agents. He was registered in 1962 and became a CPA in 1964.

Kelvyn served on many charitable boards including St Aubyns Hospital, Alzheimer's Association and Older Peoples Advocacy Service. As a young man he won the Outstanding Jaycee Award three times. He is a compassionate, generous man who loves people. That's why he is so skilled at helping people in trouble.

Kelvyn Peters was Mayor of Kingaroy Shire Council from 1982 to 1987 and campaigned as the 'Young Man of Action". ver 20 years later he still regards himself as a 'Young Man of Action'. He is a director of Restaurant Catering Qld Inc the peak employer representative in Queensland, and has advised the hospitality industry for many years.

His specialty is moving in to rescue a sick business. Kelvyn has spent over 20 years experimenting and researching methods to help small business in ways that are affordable. He has perfected it with local clients now he are going global and he is only an email away.

http://www.profitstrategies4business.com

In The News:

Small Business of the Year: RJ Thieneman  Louisville Business First
Thankful for small business  Chicago Daily Herald
Small Business of the Year: Mayan Café  Louisville Business First

Don?t Wait for the Perfect Plan

1. Don't Spend Too Much Time PlanningWhen you are entering... Read More

Designing a Franchise Training Program

If you intend to franchise your company you will need... Read More

Change May Be Your Ace in the Hole

Whether it has been thrust upon you by external market... Read More

Setting Prices - Pricing Your Consulting Services

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PRICINGIn case you hadn't noticed, people can... Read More

Why Small Business Must Turn to PR

If small business had no important outside audiences, it wouldn't... Read More

Discover How You Can Start Making Your Small Business Dream Come True

As a teenager I worked for my father's small business.... Read More

Why Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Should

As the owner or an employee of a small-to medium-sized... Read More

Two Types Of Business Plan Cover Pages ? Which One Are You Using?

This is the tale of two business plans with very... Read More

The Most Important Decision of Your Massage Business Career

Don't you find that there are so many decisions you... Read More

Cashing In Your Chips & Pastures New

No, I'm not talking about gambling or dairy cows ?... Read More

How to Prevent Home Business Burnout

As a home business proprietor, you may already realize why... Read More

Business Development Is Not An Event

Cash flow. To stay in business, you've got to keep... Read More

Keeping a Partnership ALIVE and THRIVING

What are the best methods for keeping a good business... Read More

Six Sigma for Small Business

It is not surprising that some people may perceive Six... Read More

11 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn From Rudy Giuliani

1. Leadership Is Learned ? While many people appear to... Read More

Using Holidays to Put Some Extra Cheer in Your Cash Box

No matter your age or station in life, we all... Read More

Naming Your Business: 3 Tips To Ensure Success

If you are just starting your business, or if you... Read More

The Single Most Powerful Small Business Marketing Tool On The Planet

Let me get right to the point. The single most... Read More

Is Your Business Legally Prepared?

It is imperative to have your business legally prepared. How... Read More

Small Business Vendors; Getting the Best Service

If you are a small business you know that you... Read More

Franchising 101- What You Absolutely Need to Know

Franchising has made the world look really small. The well... Read More

Consistency Builds Trust

You know your prospects need what you sell. You know... Read More

Entrepreneur to Employer

You make the decision to go into business and for... Read More

The Business Failed, But Did You?

Q: After years of dreaming about starting my own business,... Read More

Creative Metrification - A Technique to Improve

Some things in business are relatively easy to measure ?... Read More