Have you ever been a long-distance runner? If so, you know it's an addictive hobby — one that demands a significant amount of time, energy, and dedication. It's challenging, but it's rewarding. Distance running is not something you quickly jump into; to be good at it, you must literally put in the miles.
If you've never been a distance runner, it's likely because of the reasons listed above. But think about any hobby you have, whether it be short-distance running, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, even playing an instrument. In order to nurture that hobby — and continue improving your skills — you have to be all in.
Business consulting is a lot like this, too. We help business owners create better companies than they were before. To make an impact, you need to approach every consultation with absolute focus and diligence. Here are a few tips for how consultants can best serve business owners in the long run:
Immerse yourself in the company
Your job is to be a problem-solver and visionary who helps to create value and maximize growth. As someone who isn't already part of a company's structure, you're going to need to learn everything you can about the business — and fast.
How can you suggest solutions to improve management unless you are fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the company's current managers? How can you impose recommendations unless you know the ins and outs of a company's operations? You can't, not unless you fully immerse yourself in the company.
Consultants don't sit quietly in the background observing the day-to-day procedures of a company, waiting for a time to chime in. Instead, they fully commit themselves so that no stone is left unturned and share their insight every step of the way.
Approach everything with a creative eye
You became a business consultant because you've always made observations that other people weren't quick to see themselves. You were hired as a consultant because a business owner felt like nothing they have done up to this point has produced the results they expected to see from their efforts.
To be a successful consultant is to be a creative thinker. You will be tasked with solving some pretty unique problems, many of which you may be encountering for the first time. As such, you won't always have the experience or expertise to know how to address the situation, so you're going to need to think on your feet every single day.
Be resilient in the face of stress
Business consultants are under immense performance pressure. You are often a business owner's last resort, so they rely on your insight more so than they would someone else within the company or one of their mentors.
Because their company could be on its last leg, you might work with some individuals who are more difficult than others. In addition to needing to meet tight deadlines, it's easy to feel the stress of the job. This requires consultants to be calm, cool, and collected. Not only will this produce more lucrative outcomes, but it will preserve and protect your emotional and mental wellbeing as well, ensuring you don't burn out just a few years into the job.
Consulting isn't an easy job, but it is a rewarding career. If you focus on these critical skills, you will have a competitive edge in the market.