Why Hire a Business Consultant/Coach

As a business consultant since 2002 I’ve come across many different types of businesses and more importantly a very diverse selection of business owners. I love working with business owners, there is something about entrepreneurs that is intriguing. It takes a special kind of person to start a business because most businesses fail within the first few years. What is even more intriguing is that many of these people do it over and over again until they make it, if ever.

Real Business Owners understand that in order to succeed they need to surround themselves with high quality individuals to help them work their business. Even then it is virtually impossible for people to be able to do everything or see everything. Business owners are very emotionally intertwined with their business and they typically don’t like to admit that something is wrong. That is where a consultant or coach comes in. A consultant will review the business operations, financials, records, documentation, etc to see where any deficiencies are and work to create a plan to fix them and get things running more smoothly so that the business owners and their staff can focus on the business at hand. As the consultant takes an objective look at the business they are able to provide real solutions to those problems that plague the client’s business.

For example, a few years ago I was working with a trucking company in a small town in Utah. The company was doing quite well with their sales revenues, posting about $1.7 million in sales in their second year of operations, but they were struggling to stay open. They invited me in to review their Quickbooks set up thinking that they were having a problem with tracking through their software. Once there I was able to take a look at everything they were doing. I developed a tracking system to determine where money was being wasted with in house truck repairs compared to outsourcing this service. I developed a tracking for individual employee expenses and developed a collections practices operations manual and standardized procedures and policies for collections. You see they had a good revenue base, but cash flow was suffering due to the fact that they had no standard procedure and policy for collecting from customers. In all, by the end of my second day there I had saved them over $250,000 annually and set them up to be able to collect on about $700,000 of their accounts receivables that was nearing over 160 days past due. That was almost $1 million in effective direct benefit from bringing in a consultant to help.

Sometimes business owners just need to bounce ideas off of someone who will be open to listening and at the same time be honest, and sometimes brutally honest. I have a friend who is starting up a business. When he first came up with the idea he came to me to see if I would assist him. I agreed to be his coach and now he calls me frequently with ideas and updates on research. As we talk I bring up all of the “what if” questions, which at times can be frustrating for him, but it makes him think and he comes back with a more solid plan when we speak again. Playing the “devil’s advocate” is sometimes all a coach will do, but the service is invaluable.

So in conclusion, the best reason why I would say that a business owner or entrepreneur would want to hire a consultant or coach is to help their business truly succeed. Of course I am biased here, but even I as a business coach and consultant hire consultants for my businesses.

As a Business Consultant since 2002 I’ve worked with companies all over the world helping them develop their business plans and improvement processes. We currently launched an online Virtual Training Center to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed in their business ventures. This online system was developed to open our services to more business owners who typically can’t afford to pay the fees associated with having a coach work one-on-one with them. To find out more or to request information visit the NLCS home site.

Coach Vs Consultant – What Difference Does It Make?

Does it make a difference in your fees? Are coaches more expensive? Or would a consultant be paid more? Does it really matter?

What difference does it make?

When I first met the business consultant, I thought he was a remarkable man, offering his service for a nice fee to help set a business back on it’s feet and revive the objective of being in business – make a profit. He offered up some friendly advice and challenged the business owner to accomplish some worthwhile goals that would change the outcome of current business practices. Then proceeded to explain to me the difference between a consultant (him) and a coach (me).

Coaches – help individual people meet their motivation head on, become inspired and accomplish their dreams. In reality, a coach is a person who encourages you to accomplish your goals and meet your personal potential.

Consultants – review a business position and present a projection of where the business will go if nothing changes, then change the business to meet a different expectation. In short a consultant is a person who helps a business discover and achieve its full potential.

The three steps taken by both consultants and coaches ultimately help either an individual or a business to achieve their full potential:

Step #1 – Review current status of individual or business.

Generally accomplished through an interview, a look at the persons current situation or the business financial position with a review and ultimately results.

Step #2 – Review of current actions and adjustment to redirect.

Step two comes in two parts, the review of current status and assessment of what will happen depending on a downturn, remain the same or an upturn of events. Then the adjustment assessment of what needs to be changed, who will make the changes and how they will effect the business or individual as a whole. This can take some time, from a few days to a few months, plus implimentation of the process, which is required to make the difference.

Step #3 – Review of check points to reference change and accomplishment.

Regardless of the direction taken, a quality coach/consultant will want periodic reviews of the situation to determine the expected results and achievement. Without this process, the coach/consultant will not know if he was successful in making the changes required.

Strategic Planning: How Home Health Consultants Prepare You for 2014

Have you ever tried to take a road trip without a map? If you know the general direction you will probably get there eventually, but will have wasted a lot of time and gas (money) along the way as you backtrack and redirect your route. Trying to take a trip without a map is a great deal like trying to direct your company without a strategic plan.

Strategic planning is a vital management tool used by businesses of all types and sizes to chart the best way forward and spark growth. A strategic plan puts your home care agency on the right track for the future, makes you more accountable for your agency’s success, and gives you a competitive edge over your competitors. With the home health care industry going through a significant shift, the same old approach simply isn’t going to work. Experienced home health consultants can help you stay ahead of the curve and implement the right strategic plan for 2014.

The Cornerstones of Strategic Planning
Strategic planning isn’t just for huge corporations or even large home health agencies. It’s a critical management tool even the smallest agency should seriously consider. A successful planning session is one that focuses on:
1. Assessment: Find out where you need to improve and what weaknesses put your agency at risk.
2. Direction: Determine the direction for the upcoming year through a strategic step-by-step plan.
3. Goal-setting: Define the goals your home health agency wants to achieve and set milestones for reaching them.
4. Competitive advantage: Evaluate the competition and discover ways to gain an advantage over them.
5. Progress measurement and accountability: Be held accountable for your actions along the way to achieving your goals.

Strategic planning can be done in-house, but it is often most effective when it is performed by an outside home health care consultant. Home health consultants have an objective point-of-view and use proven planning models that are specific to the home health care industry. These processes are customized to suit your unique needs and goals so you can achieve that competitive advantage.

Why Is Strategic Planning Important?
Strategic planning essentially creates a roadmap for the future of your home care agency. This plan focuses on how you can develop your agency in the long-term and could be the difference between thriving and going bankrupt. Without a clear plan for which direction your agency should be heading, you won’t have short-term goals to set and meet throughout the year.

Tips for Getting Started
The New Year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to sit down and plan out your agency’s future. It’s imperative that you be bold in your decisions and assess your agency as honestly as possible. As you develop your plan with home health consultants you will want to include:
• Continuing education: Invest in the education of your employees to improve your patient care and service. Consider training and continuing education programs for all employees, including your home health aides and office staff.
• Upgrading: Using obsolete technology doesn’t put you on the right path towards improving your business operations. Review your software and other internal systems to see whether it’s time for an upgrade.
• Identifying weaknesses: Every agency has weaknesses and one of the goals of strategic planning is to identify and overcome those weaknesses. Review all of your business practices and the current management structure of your team. It may be time to restructure your home health agency to leverage your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

Take Advantage of the Expertise of Home Health Consultants
Home health consultants can help you through each step of the planning process. Since consultants are up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices, they work closely with you to develop a comprehensive plan that prepares you not only for 2014, but also for years to come. They have the industry-specific expertise gained from years of strategic planning experience-something most home care agency owners and managers don’t have.

For more information about strategic planning, contact the home health consultants at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. Strategic planning is at the core of our business. It’s the building block for understanding the best way to achieve your goals and ensure your agency can quickly adapt to this rapidly changing industry.

How the Dodd-Frank Act Has Changed the World of Consultancy

Dodd-Frank energy consulting is a result of a bill that was passed to regulate firms that are involved in the energy market. This act was created with the purpose of restoring some order to a financial world that had become too complex to regulate but too large to fail. The Dodd-Frank act is an attempt to restore some sanity into the financial world by providing regulators with the power they need to provide useful oversight. The Dodd-Frank act has created a number of deadlines for compliance by all stakeholders with its new regulations.

Compliance requires consultancy to achieve

These compliance deadlines, which have loomed quite ominously over a number of companies, have created the need for professional assistance. This is provided in the form consultancy services by firms which have professional expertise in these areas. These consultants use their considerable expertise to assist companies to get their houses in order in time for the compliance deadlines.

Energy consulting is a service provided to companies that are invested in energy related markets and funds to help make sure that they stay on the right side of the Dodd-Frank act. This act has created a number of stipulations about how companies that are involved in the energy market must conduct themselves. Compliance is now a highly complex field to navigate, hence, the increased demand for energy consulting.

Asset management consulting is needed to invest in certain market segments

Hedge funds have long provided a powerful investment vehicle for people interested in capital gains. These funds allow investors to pool a large portion of money and invest in a portfolio of different companies and investment channels. Hedge funds are now allowed to increase their pool size to one hundred million dollars but to invest in energy they have to meet certain conditions. They will now be under SEC oversight, and they will also have to rearrange how their asset base is configured.

Asset management consulting is necessary for any fund mechanism that is seeking to invest in the energy markets. This is because the Dodd-Frank act has made matters such that companies seeking to invest in energy must have their asset bases structured in a certain way. This is intended to reduce the instability caused by speculative acquisition of energy futures. The Dodd-Frank Act is definitely causing a lot of changes in the way the energy market operates. Whether this is a good thing, only time will tell.

How to Identify the Right Global Education Consultancy

For a student who wishes to pursue his/her higher studies abroad, it is a quite daunting task to make all the right decisions in the process of identifying the right institution and the right place to do so. The situation becomes even more complex if there is no one in the family or among the known ones who too has any such information. Such situation of uncertainties can be really tormenting for anyone. Fortunately, internet today gives a lot of information related to ways to curb such stressful situations and find the right place and also the best institution to go ahead with.

Despite that, the factor for uncertainty stays on because most of the information online too is doctored to promote brand of respective institution, and so relying only upon that is also not a wise choice. Then how is it that you as a seeker can get the information you want that you can rely upon. A global education consultancy can always be your best choice in this regard. Such consultancies can be found nearby you, or you could also approach a few of them over the internet.

There are two prime ways by which one can establish the credibility about one such consultancy. These ways are:

Forum Websites

These websites are an open platform for individuals to discuss about different areas of interests. With so much to talk about, there are several such websites, which also include the ones related to education abroad. Many of these also rate each global education consultancy based upon its past record as well as infrastructure, which can be more than useful to use. Being hosted and discussed about by individuals, it is unlikely that their information will be wrong, if at all.

Personal Visit

By doing so, you can not only get to see the infrastructure of the institution but also will be able to get some reviews from students who are already availing its services. You can also get to have a better view into their past record, which is always seen not only by prospective students but also educational institutions to establish the efficiency of the firm. A global education consultancy with an impressive past record will be preferred by educational institutions too, which in turn will also encourage students to sign up for its services.

Every global educational consultancy has a procedure that it follows to help a student get established in his new campus and feel as much comfortable in there as possible. For achieving this, many consultancies conduct training workshops from time to time, which vary from skill to skill, depending upon what kind of session a particular student batch is in need of.

Such sessions can also be divided into further sub-sections, which resolve any kind of query that a student may have in his/her mind. A few of these are:

Relocation Session: This will be related to all queries related to settling down in the new country, including hostel accommodation, meals, locality, etc.

Interview Session: This will be related to all the questions that the student will face before he is being signed up into the educational institution.

Placement Session: This will be related to the placement record of the institution, and what all options a student will have in his hands upon the completion of his course.

Financial assistance session: This will include counseling related to any financial aid a student is in need of, and also helping him/her out with the same in the process

Cultural Session: This will be related to information about the culture of the country the student will be relocating too, including its and bits of certain things that one may need to carry out while staying in that country.

Consultants – The Reasons You Aren’t Getting Clients

You’re an expert in your field, have wonderful communication skills and offer real value for money, but still you can’t keep your client pipeline filled. Somehow your brilliance is escaping the notice of the most important group-your target market. What’s wrong? Why isn’t the phone ringing? How come your website isn’t flooded with requests for your expert advice? Keep reading to find out why.

1. You talk funny: This is the number one reason I think people hesitate to hire a consultant. Your website reads like a textbook (it’s boring and confusing). When you have conversations with potential clients you use lots of jargon, even when it’s not necessary to make your point. And you have slick, elegant and unreadable marketing materials. It’s wonderful that you are qualified and know your industry, but resist the urge to use every key term in one sentence.

2. You’re fishing in the wrong pond: Ever been to a networking event where a room full of consultants wasted an evening trying to sell to each other? I thought so. “Everyone” is not your potential client; stop acting as if it were true. Gear your marketing to your REAL customer base, and make sure you understand who this group is and where to find them. Spend your time with your peers learning, collaborating and supporting each other.

3. You’re too helpful: The same qualities that make you a good consultant can trip you up. Problem one, you fall victim to the “free introductory session” shopper. These are people who go from consultant (or coach) to consultant having free introductory sessions in an effort to solve their problems without ever investing in the solution. If you are still using the free first session model and you don’t have a full schedule of paying clients-stop. Change your approach. The second problem with being helpful… your investigation and diagnosis conversation turns into a list of suggestions and solutions. This happens when you get too involved in the issues before clarifying the scope of the whole project and getting agreement on payment. Having lots of one appointment clients? You might be helping yourself out of work and cheating your clients out of a real relationship.

4. You refuse advice: Not much explanation needed here. You think you are so smart that no one can tell you anything. The result is you alienate clients, make the same mistakes over and over again and are left wondering why no one wants to hire you.

5. Your ego needs to go on a diet: Closely related to number 4, this problem can derail your business. Your specialized knowledge is great; it’s the reason people seek you out. However your education or background does not make you a better person than everyone else. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. Learn it. Be helpful and sure of your expertise but don’t be a jerk.

6. You don’t follow up: It’s a classic entrepreneur mistake. No matter how great you are in your specific industry, you have to follow through with client communication. When people seek out a consultant they are already “feeling some pain”; they’re uncomfortable. It’s up to you to make the process of getting help less painful. Return those calls, emails, and answer those tweets. If someone comments on your blog-engage them in conversation. Don’t wait for clients to realize your brilliance on their own and make all the arrangements. They won’t.

Three Syndromes Consultants Face

Last night I was talking to another health care consulting friend of mine who just ended a long assignment. She was asking how things were on the health care front, and I told her things were a bit slow, but probably ready to start warming up again.

We started talking about some of our shared experiences, because many of us who work in this business will encounter some of the same things, even if we’re at different hospitals. There seems to be some running themes in what we try to do.

The first syndrome is coming in after someone else who didn’t do a good job. That may be a permanent employee who just wasn’t working out, or another consultant who couldn’t get the job done. Right off the bat, you’re under pretty tough scrutiny, which consultant’s usually are anyway, but people are wary and mistrustful; they feel they’ve been burned before, and don’t want to get burned again. Eventually, if you’re pretty good, you’ll get people to come around, and some will even embrace what you’re trying to do, but it might take a little bit of time to get them to warm up to you.

The second syndrome is walking into a situation where the politics are intrusive. When you’ve been brought in by one person to do something, but someone else who’s either just above or below either you or the person who brought you in wants something else done, even if that something else is to do whatever they can to make you fail. That happens, believe it or not.

Unfortunately, not every person in management is really out for the best of the organization; sometimes it’s all about “me”, and who cares about anyone else. That can be difficult to deal with, and the way I work through it is to talk to the person who brought me in and tell them that they need to somehow take care of these things because I’m going to ignore them and do what I came to do, and that’s that.

No, it’s not very consultant like in a way, because many consultant’s feel they’re supposed to defer to every whim that someone else has. But I like to think I’m building my reputation on getting things done right, not always giving everyone exactly what they want. At a certain point, if they’re insistent, I will give them what they want, as long as it’s not illegal, but I also make note of it and make them confirm they said it so that no one can come back on me later on and say that wasn’t accurate. That’s usually where I’ll win, because no one wants to commit themselves like that, I’ve found.

The third syndrome is the one where people are afraid you’re going to come in and make them look bad. That’s actually one I haven’t had to deal with all that often because many times I’m going in to a situation where the people who should have been doing the job aren’t there, so none’s the wiser. However, that type of thing has prevented me from getting other gigs, because I might produce results that the top dogs would then ask someone else “why didn’t we know about this before?” That’s a question some folks hate answering, and it’s not a difficult question because not everyone knows everything. I’ve said this many times, in health care, people are often over things that they have no practical experience with, and are too busy to learn it, so why should they be expected to know it all?

But the jealousy factor is a tough one to overcome. I know many consultants who have had good plans overridden because the person they’re reporting to decides they don’t want it done. They might not have a good reason, which unfortunately happens often, and if there’s not a good reason, then there’s not even any discussion that can take place.

If someone needs me for an interim position, one of the first questions I usually ask is how much latitude will I be given to do what I need to do to get the job done. They almost always say I’ll have as much freedom as I want; that’s not quite always true. For one gig, I wasn’t told until I was there about the division between management and the union; that was ugly, but what can you do? For another, I was told there was this big issue with one thing, only to find there wasn’t that issue at all, but I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me on it. Happens sometimes; consultant’s aren’t omnipotent either.

Think about your own work situation, if you work with others. Are you able to allow others to find something wrong with whatever you might be doing? Are you able to accept an idea from someone else and possibly act on it in some fashion without worrying that it might make you look bad? Are you forthcoming with enough information so that proper decisions can be made? If you had to think about yourself as a consultant, would you be a good one or a bad one?

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

Too often than not, when someone is trying to start out with ecommerce, they will go it alone. While this can be beneficial as it requires the individual to learn quickly about what they are getting into, it can also be detrimental. One of the main reasons is that someone who has never been involved with ecommerce will undoubtedly make mistakes relating to how they conduct ecommerce business. They will commit errors because they will not have the experience they need to avoid those mistakes. This is why many get help with ecommerce in the form of an ecommerce consultant.

An ecommerce consultant is someone who comes to you and helps you manage your business successfully. There are several advantages to having an ecommerce consultant:

1. They have the experience to help you avoid the mistakes you would have made if you went it alone.
2. They know how to make your ecommerce site successful because they have helped others become successful. Therefore, they know what it takes to be successful.
3. They will be able to help you navigate the tricky waters of being an ecommerce site owner.
4. They will know how to market your ecommerce site to drive in traffic so that you can bring in a profit almost immediately.
5. They will know what you need to do to save time and make your business the most successful through efficiency.

An ecommerce consultant will cost you money, and that is what deters many ecommerce site owners. They do not want to spend that extra money because they worry they will get little from it. This is the wrong way to look at things. You have to spend money to make money and you can make money by getting an ecommerce consultant. An ecommerce consultant will save you time because they can help you avoid the mistakes that new ecommerce site owners always seem to make. That saved time leaves more room for profit and that helps you make money simply by spending a bit extra to get an ecommerce consultant.

You can usually find an ecommerce consultant on the internet, where there are many firms that offer ecommerce consulting to new ecommerce owners. The price you pay for an ecommerce consultant is also going to differ. Those with more experience are going to cost more than those with less experience. Which one you get depends on how much you can afford but generally you want to get someone who has a lot of experience.

The Benefits of Using a Dedicated PCB Design Consultancy

The benefits of using a dedicated PCB design consultancy

Many companies will struggle through the design phase of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and incur extra costs and time delays along the way. In business it is best to focus on what it is you do best, and by concentrating on your core activities and using an outsourced service provided by specialists, you could gain an all important competitive advantage.

One of the main benefits of using the services of a PCB consultancy is their ability to manage the process from the initial concept through to the finished product, leaving your business free to concentrate on those activities it is you excel at.

Typically the services provided by PCB design consultancies are used by companies operating in the aerospace, automotive, communication, defence, medical, security and rail industries, and can shape the success such companies can expect when their products hit the market.

An experienced consultancy will be quick to grasp exactly what it is you are looking for, enabling them to improve your process by:

• Reducing the time to market
• Removing the need for numerous prototypes
• Improving the PCB design
• Reducing manufacturing costs

Simple design is just one of the services a dedicated consultancy will be able to offer. A far more diverse range of services will also exist, including but not exclusive to:

• Pre-design efficiency studies
• Signal integrity
• Data management
• Reverse engineering
• EMC pre-compliance testing
• PCB fabrication and assembly
• Consultancy and training

There are plenty of other benefits of outsourcing to a dedicated PCB design consultancy, with flexibility and expertise high on the list. There is also the certainty of a fixed cost for the work. Rather than redesign after redesign and escalating costs, a PCB design consultancy will work on a single price for the job, which will help companies when costing their project.

Such expertise will also help to ensure that the design of printed circuit boards is performed using the very latest software applications. This access to technology will improve the performance of your product and guarantee a bespoke solution to your requirements, rather than an adapted one size fits all approach, which would reduce the performance and relevance of your product when it finally hits the shelves.

Deadlines are particularly important when developing and designing new products. The rewards of being the first to market can be lucrative. When working with a specialist PCB design consultancy you can rest assured that deadlines will be met and your product will be swiftly available to your customers.

Career Transition Consultants

Before we begin, one thing needs to be made clear: what is a ‘Career Transition Consultant’? It’s difficult to pin down exactly what the role entails because often the service you receive will vary from consultant to consultant and also depending on your wants and needs. For example, some job seekers are in need of assistance when it comes to adapting their CV’s between different positions they’re applying for, whereas others will need to focus more on career development: what are they good at and how could they improve their transferable skills? So, while all ‘CTC’ are there to directly help you, the candidate, moving between jobs and/or industries, the exact service they provide isn’t so easy to define in a clear-cut way.

Nevertheless, there are some things you should expect from a ‘CTC’: a modern, dynamic approach to job-seeking; expertise in the recruitment industry; a good amount of contact with you, the client and a service which develops the things you want it to. The role of a ‘Career Transition Consultant’ is not the same as a job agency or recruitment consultant: ‘Career Transition Consultants’ aren’t employed to trawl through vacancies to pick out ones which might interest you; they’re there to make sure that the jobs you’re searching for are realistic and appropriate and that the way you present yourself to potential employers is as effective as possible and receiving the best possible results. ‘Career Transition Consultants’ can be particularly useful to people who are moving from one industry to another, because they are often the candidates in need of most support when tailoring their applications to new jobs.

For example, a builder with limited professional qualifications who is looking for something quite different, perhaps in media and advertising, might use a ‘CTC’ to help them emphasize their relevant transferable skills and point them towards training programs and opportunities which are most likely to get them into their new career as quickly as possible.

The next question you might be asking yourself is ‘Do I need the services of a ‘Career Transition Consultant’?’ Well, while some people do prefer to enter unemployment and search for jobs independently, an increasing number of people are recognizing the benefits of ‘Career Transition Consultant’. Not only is the support of a ‘Career Transition Consultant’ reassuring to job-seekers, especially when they might have been unemployed for some time, but they offer a genuinely useful and beneficial service which can speed up, streamline and improve effectiveness of the job-seekers search.

Have you been in the same industry for a long period of time? Are your skills quite specialized? Are you having difficulty moving between industries? If your answer is yes, or you can relate to any of the aforementioned points, it’s certainly worth considering exploring the different avenues through careers – employing a ‘Career Transition Consultant’ is one of the more well-traveled routes.