As small business consultants we’ve all been there. The client wants us to just jump in and start solving their problems.
You (as the consultant) feel like you’re delivering a ton of value, yet the client doesn’t feel that way, but what are the facts? Your client is not experiencing the results they were expecting (what were they expecting again?) and you’re not even sure how they are making their assessment.
Setting the correcting expectations at the start of any engagement is critical. Defining what success looks like with concrete metrics allows you to show your client HOW you’ve moved the needle.
Here are 4 steps which set the groundwork for each small business consulting engagement.
Step 1: Determine your client’s vision. Where are they truly trying to take the business?
Before you even get started, ask your client to articulate where they are trying to take their business. What is their mission? What are their core values? What is their BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)?
If these basics are not nailed down, you run the risk of doing something you see as valuable, but your customer does not. This as a crucial first step and a place where you can begin to ADD a ton of value. The worse case scenario is that you’ve helped your client clarify their own thinking.
No matter what consulting engagement I take on, I make sure I understand the client’s vision because I could be leading them down a path where they really don’t want to go.
Use a tool, like Envisionable (shameless plug) to catalog and organize these key strategic items and keep them front and center for the business.
Step 2: Determine your client’s top 3-5 business goals for the next 12 months
Once you and your client are on the same page with their vision, ask them to articulate their top 3-5 business goals for the next 12 months. Ask yourself, “Is what they are asking me to do encapsulated in one of the top 3-5 goals?” Are you adding value, by helping them to achieve their vision faster? If not, watch out! Have the integrity to tell them and redirect their attention on the things which will truly help them move the needle on the business.
Use a tool, like Envisionable, to keep track of these top 3-5 goals. Add value by suggesting that you can help them stay focused on these top 3-5 goals on a monthly basis. Many businesses need this level of accountability to stay focused.
Step 3: Tie your client’s goals to 3-5 metrics or KPIs which will be used to measure success
If you’ve gotten to Step 3, this means that your major area of focus is in alignment with where the business owner is trying to take the business.
You’ve been brought in to help them move the needle on one or two of the major goals. Meeting with them monthly to review those goals helps to reinforce that fact. This is where your work product can become even more concrete. Help them by linking their company goals to 1-2 KPIs that will be used to measure success. This becomes your opportunity to demonstrate in black and white HOW you are helping them.
Step 4: Set a baseline measurement
Be sure to record the baseline measurement of each KPI you measure. In other words, BEFORE working with XYZ Consulting the business had a 5% net income, AFTER working with us the results improved to 10%. You get the picture. Tie your engagement to KPIs that can be measured. This is obviously a two edged sword. You need to bring results!
Use a tool, like Envisionable, to create a simple KPI dashboard and track results.
These 4 simple steps which will allow you to not only ADD Value, but to also PROVE the results you are helping your client to achieve.
Your Next Steps
- Download the FREE vision clarification tool here
- Generate more revenue by Signing up to attend a FREE 30 minute demo of Envisionable – our business alignment platform