Too often, organizations that need business strategy consulting are the same ones that would never think of hiring a third party to help them. Huge corporations use business strategy consultants to assist with a wide array of programs. But far too often, it is the smaller business that needs help the most and rejects help the most.
In 2008, US statistics showed that a little more than six-hundred thousand new business were started. Over five-hundred and ninety-five thousand closed their doors and more than forty-three thousand filed for bankruptcy protection. Approximately 70% of new employing businesses survive for two years, while only 50% are able to stay afloat for the first five years of operations but could last longer with business strategy consulting These startling statistics speak for themselves.
Carol, a former grocery store butcher, had a dream, a fair amount of gumption and enough energy to see it through. She identified and found a few of the niches within her community that the likes of Starbucks had forgotten. Her business centered on filling the caffeinated gaps at concerts, sporting events and several large health centers.
Famous Chef, Gordon Ramsey, isn’t merely a cook or an extremely successful restauranteur. He is a televised strategy consultant and tactical manager. For those who have never caught his show, Kitchen Nightmares, it is something well worth watching. Here, small business owners can actually see a real consultant in action. Ramsey’s tactics may be a tad over the top, but in his reality show he only has a few days to turn a restaurant that’s bleeding revenue into a going concern.
When she tried to sell the business, there were no takers. No offers came in; even though the entire package included expensive equipment, real estate and an established central commissary setup. Carol couldn’t figure out what went wrong. Now in her mid-fifties, she was tired and physically depleted. In fact, she was working harder than ever just to keep the business running.
Carol never stopped to consider building a strategy with an operations assessment to help her reach her original goal of ‘working less’ and ‘retiring early’. Somewhere in between her tactical applications and her lack of a sound strategy, she managed to create a small collection of spin-offs to her original concept.
When selling coffee wasn’t enough, she sold hamburgers. When people tired of hamburgers, she sold hot dogs. And so on and so on. Her operational tactics were based on sheer survival, and her lack of education, experience, branding and strategy left her vulnerable to unnecessary liabilities, and a never ending stream of physical labor.
Remember that old saying: “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink”?. Employing business strategy consulting is simply the first step toward making a business thrive. Even the best business consultant in the world cannot make a small business owner successful. But, a small business has a much better chance of growing and prospering into the future with a little help from the outside. So, don’t be ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ when it comes to making decisions for the direction and future of your small business.