Updated: 3 days ago
You may be an expert regarding your business, but is there still room for improvement? Are there goals your business hasn’t yet achieved, or challenges you’re still struggling to overcome? A business coach, or consultant, may be able to help.
A common misconception is that consulting is just, “giving advice”. According to the Harvard Business Review, this isn’t the case (https://hbr.org/1982/09/consulting-is-more-than-giving-advice). A good coach / consultant can provide a 3rd party viewpoint, as well as best practices and benchmarks that can provide you with valuable insight, help your business break through barriers, and speed up your learning process.
An effective coaching and consulting method involves a broad range of components, generally with an emphasis on process. The coach / consultant can also serve as a guide, and help you work through the components and develop the process. By working through the components and developing the process, the business moves beyond its challenges and achieves its goals.
The Harvard Business Review suggests a useful way of analyzing consulting is to consider it as a range of fundamental objectives, arranged in a bottom-up hierarchy. A simple and useful example is outlined below.
Business Coaching and Consulting – A Hierarchy of Objectives
The first objective serves as the base of the pyramid. Each objective, beginning with the first one at the base, should be addressed prior to moving up to the next level. For example, the objective at the base level of the pyramid (assess & define the issues) should be achieved before progressing to the next level above (addressing the issues) – and so on up the pyramid (hierarchy).
Key considerations at each level of the hierarchy
1. Assess & Define the Issues
Clarity is power. The first thing you need to do is figure out:
What are the organization’s goals? You need to know this before you decide what you are going to focus on trying to accomplish.
Explore the possible reasons why the organization’s goals aren’t currently being fully met (e.g., are the goals reasonable?)
What are the potential implications of reaching the goals?
Could there be unintended positive and/or negative consequences?
Use if/then scenarios to help think it through...
Are the goals properly defined?
For example, should the goal be, “How can we fix our employees bad attitudes?” Or would it be better if it were, “How can we create a motivating environment for our employees?”
Is the timeframe reasonable?
Accurate and up-to-date bookkeeping, along with planning, budgeting & forecasting models can provide a numeric underpinning to help evaluate what needs to be done – and by when
2. Address the Issues
Put together a strategy
Collaborate with other key stakeholders regarding potential viable solutions
What has already been tried?
What has worked?
Is more information required?
Sometimes a 3rd party, with time, expertise, and experience, can add valuable perspective (including “best practices”, benchmarks, etc.).
This is part of what the consultant can bring to the equation…
How will the results be measured?
Keep in mind that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
The company’s record keeping (including bookkeeping) systems can be significant here!
3. Implement Changes
Strategy & execution are two sides of the same coin - both are required.
Use a project plan for implementing the strategy. The project plan should address the following:
What are the key action items required?
Who is responsible for which action items?
What are the timelines? Consider
Are some items dependent on others being finished before they can be started?
Which items can be worked on concurrently (that is, at the same time)?
b. A good project plan (and project plan manager) will help keep people accountable and aid in the goals being met.
Sometimes the project management role is best fulfilled by the consultant.
4. Aid in Client Learning
Assess the results – and then learn, adjust & revise
Monitor your progress
This is where Management Accounting (and using the metrics from a proper bookkeeping system) can play a key role
E.g., Plan vs. Actual analyses
Accurately assess the results & learn from them as much as possible
What seems to work?
Adjust your approach
Make course corrections
Revise plans, budgets and forecasts based on trendlines – and recognize potential challenges, and opportunities, in advance
Use the knowledge gained through the process to ask better questions and make more informed decisions
5. Aid in Organizational Effectiveness
Provide professional input, including strategic direction & oversight, as required
Establish a solid foundation of systems (technology) and reporting
Encourage communication & collaboration among the key stakeholders (co-owners, department heads, partners - whomever)
Establish sound processes – e.g., for
Planning, budgeting & forecasting
Maintaining compliance with government (& internal company) requirements
Are you looking for coaching and consulting to help you and your business? Contact us for a complimentary discovery call https://www.masterybookkeeping.com/contactus
Mastery Bookkeeping and Business Consulting Inc. (MBBC)