How to Run A Consulting Business

Today we are going to talk about how to run a consulting business. One of the most important things you can do is to defend your Big Picture. You are probably thinking that your consulting expertise is the most important element of your business. You trust in the fact that you know a lot about your specific topic, have a deep understanding of it and can use your knowledge to connect with the client. I am not saying that those things are not important, what I am saying is that as you run your consulting business there are some other things that become even more important. Let me explain those things.

You must have a Big Picture. You need to have an assessment of where you are, a statement of where you need to be, as well as major milestones along the path. Whether you realize it or not, your business is on a path… somewhere and you have to be clear on what that direction is. Identify where you are now, where you want to be, and what the major milestones are in-between. Give your business direction so that every day your company exists, it gets better and better at its core activity.

You must nurture this Big Picture. There are a variety of ways you can nurture the Big Picture. You can hire quality employees, work with quality partners, and secure great clients. Hiring well and working with great vendors keeps your Big Picture fulfilled. Having healthy internal systems keeps your daily effort consistent so that you can deliver at a high level over and over. Having great mentors, both formal and informal, helps nurture the Big Picture. The key word here is “nurture”. You want your Big Picture to grow and expand. You want it to be as strong as it can. This kind of strength doesn’t happen on accident, it happens on purpose. These are some of the things you need to be doing in order for your Big Picture to be easily understand and positioned for growth.

You must protect the Big Picture. You have to understand that your Big Picture is under attack. If it’s not growing, it’s dying. Therefore, you have to commit to protect your Big Picture each day. For example, developing your employees is very important. You have to give your employees more opportunity to learn, grow, develop and give even greater value to your business and to your Big Picture. Next, check your company’s “buzz”. You have to know what other people are saying about your business. Where do you fall in your niche? Have you gotten to top-tier status or are you still on your way to top-tier status? No matter where you stand you have to know what people are saying about your business and how it’s being perceived. Also, you can’t be afraid to take vacations. It is possible to stare at your business for too long and lose perspective and insight. Sometimes you have to leave, step away, go on vacation, recharge and come back to your Big Picture. If not, you can simply tear away at your Big Picture as you keep moving things around in your consulting business without the right kind of perspective.

Have the courage to make adjustments. Just because you wrote the plan down on paper, the world is not going to react the way that you think it should. You need the courage to change things along the way.

Most change too early. Most of my clients change their plan too early. Changing too quickly may result in the pursuit of a different Big Picture. Stay the course, understand where you are really trying to go with your business, and have the courage to stand when you should.

Remember just because a person (or the marketplace) gives you a singular opinion, doesn’t mean you have to change your entire business. Keep the clarity and the fortitude to stand when it’s time to stand.

Push past first rejections. People are going to tell you “no”. People are going to hear what you have to say and be unexcited. Again, you have to believe in your picture and move beyond that rejection. In fact, you should expect rejection to come a second, third, and fourth time. It’s the nature of growing a business.

Having a clear Big Picture is a great step in the right direction of growing your business. However, you must also have the fortitude and clarity to stay your course in the face of adversity. You should be prepared to make adjustments, but be careful of emotional responses to short-term situations. Your best work is done when you make decisions in perfect alignment with your Big Picture.

More Freedom With an Online Business

Wouldn’t you want to wake up when ever you want, spend more time with your children, hang out at home or go to the mall when ever you want? Wouldn’t you want to sleep in as much as you want or take a vacation if you want? Would you like to have more control over your life? Would you like to dictate when and how to work? If you answered yes to these questions, the solution is starting an online business. When you start an online business, you get a lot of business and flexibility and freedom. You pretty much own your time. You don’t have to worry about clocking in somewhere, working 9 to 5 or whatever the regular schedule is. You can pretty much do what you want. You can go offsite, hang out at Starbucks while working or work while enjoying the sun at the beach. The good news is that online business owners have done this ahead of you and they are doing it now. There is nothing stopping you from joining you. If you are still not convinced, here are the top 3 reasons why you should start an online business.

1. Future-proof
It is easier to future-proof your online business than an offline one. With an offline business, your costs are fixed. Office rents, insurance and employee costs are fixed. The problem is when businesses go through up and down cycles, you might get crushed. In other words, you didn’t contingency-proof your business. With an online business, you have a lot more of flexibility with your costs so you can take more shocks. More importantly, you can adapt to these changes. So your business survives through the challenges.

2. Your personal life
You can devote more time to your passions when you don’t have to stick to a schedule or report to a particular office. You can learn a new skill, go back to school, spend more time with your children, put in more time with your church or anything that is important to you when you have an online business. Your online business makes money while you are sleeping.

3. Scalability and flexibility
Some online businesses are more scalable and flexible than others. Some allow you to work only once but make money many times over based on that one time you worked. For example, if you sell online books, you only worked once to write, but you make money many times over when people buy it. Do you see where I am going with this? So you have to figure out a way if you want greatest freedom and flexibility to scale up your business in such a way that you don’t have to work again to produce that income. There are many business models online that meet this need.

Asset Inventory – A Valuable Business Tool

As a business owner, you know the importance of being able to recover from a loss, so you have an inventory created of all of your business assets. These losses can come from fire, theft, or natural disasters. Catastrophes are happening more frequently, and in areas where people wouldn’t expect them.

SuperStorm Sandy is a prime example. I doubt if you could find one person who ever thought they would face such a loss! Businesses were out of business – some forever. Others are recovering, but it’s been an extremely slow, painful process for most. Imagine the difficulty of doing your best to remember and list all the assets owned by these businesses! Many weren’t allowed back, so even though their assets were still in the building, they weren’t permitted go there to help create their list of losses. What a difference it would have made if they had an already-prepared list of the business assets!

That in itself is worth having an asset inventory. To help make it even a wiser process in which to invest, consider that one day you look around for some trade show or other type of infrequently-used items. Unable to locate them, you prepare to purchase new. Then you realize if you DO own them, you’ll have them listed on your inventory, and in what closet or storage area. Checking the records, you verify you do still own them, saving your company possibly thousands of dollars of unnecessary expenses. Your disaster preparedness inventory has just been repurposed into an asset locator!

As the economy continues to struggle to recover, many small business owners have difficulty making payroll once in a while. Or, you need a new piece of equipment and don’t have the available cash. Either of these scenarios, and others, show another opportunity to use your asset inventory. Most banks today require a list of all assets before approving a loan or line of credit. Your inventory is already prepared, so you’ll be able to speed up the loan process, enabling you to receive your much-needed cash as quickly as possible.

Another purpose for this business tool is to know if you’re sufficiently insured. As businesses grow, many business owners don’t realize how much their asset base has increased. Keeping your inventory up to date will enable you to discuss your insurance needs with your insurance agent. Finding out, after a loss, that you were grossly underinsured is not the time to discover this oversight. Being able to recover financially from a disaster is a must to keep your business afloat.

An asset inventory of all the items your company owns serves many different purposes. It’s a business tool that is essential for all companies.