Strategic Consulting

5 Reasons Why You Should Work with a Consultant

Are you curious if a Consultant may be a better option for you?

Last week, I listed 5 Reasons Why You May Need to Hire an Online Business Manager. To reiterate, they were:

1. Your business is growing while your own free-time is shrinking.

2. You are having to turn away opportunities because you are so busy!

3. You are still doing the same things you were doing when you started your business.

4. You have a great team, but find yourself frustrated by them always ‘bugging’ you.

5. You are stuck at $X revenue and can’t seem to get past that point!

Now I will list 5 Reasons Why You Should Work with a Business Consultant. Are you ready? Drumroll please….

Tah-dah!! They are the same five reasons!

So you may be asking yourself why should I work with a Consultant vs. hiring an Online Business Manager (OBM)

A high-level strategic partner who provides guidance and knowledge

In both, you can gain a partner who will help your business grow.

An OBM can help by managing the business for YOU, the CEO and business owner. The focus of the OBM is to free up time for the business owner so that they can do the things that only a business owner or CEO can do. The OBM manages the day-to-day tasks, processes, delegations, and team members. The OBM is more like the right-hand partner to the business owner and spends more time creating, managing, and implementing in the business. As such, this usually requires a greater financial investment.

When you work with a Consultant, you’re a hands-on CEO or entrepreneur who is not quite ready for an OBM. While you will still gain a high-level partner, you as the business owner, will continue to run your business with the strategic guidance and knowledge of a Consultant. The Consultant is your Strategic Advisor.

Consultants provide the tools

With a consultant, you are provided the tools that can support you in moving forward and executing. As this article in Forbes puts it, say you’re learning how to ride a bicycle. A consultant would ride the bicycle for a while and write you a “how to” manual. Hire a consultant when you need an expert who can teach you a process or method. 

The Consultant is your short-cut

The Consultant will help resolve particular business challenges and issues. Many times, those issues can be resolved with creating a team or adding a team member. However, business owners often make this decision too late or decide they need one position when they need another. A Consultant can help alleviate this chaos by strategizing with the business owner to figure out the goals and direction of the company.

Think of the Consultant as your short-cut.

As an expert, the Consultant provides solutions and clarity

The consultant is usually an expert on a subject who provides advice based on their understanding, knowledge, and experience. They are there to provide the “right” answers for you based on their analysis of the situation. They ask the right questions to give you the answer. They strategize and make recommendations based on what they believe is best. By focusing on the problem or subject matter, the consultant generally produces short-term answers to specific issues. The consultant provides solutions and clarity. 

Better financial fit

And if you’re not ready to invest in an OBM, working with a Consultant may be a better solution since it may not require an investment as large as retaining an OBM. You still, however, will gain a partner who is able to work with you to provide clarity and solutions to grow your business.

So what do you think? Wondering if you’re ready for an Online Business Manager? Or are you curious if a Consultant may be a perfect option for you and your business? Click HERE to review my offerings. Then book a discovery call via this LINK and let’s talk over coffee (or whatever your preference) about your options. The call is free, the choices are few, but the knowledge gained is PRICELESS!

Are Your Clients Happy?

If you don’t hear any complaints from your clients, you might assume that they are satisfied with your service or product. But are they really satisfied or are they just non-confrontational and looking for another coach behind your back?

The easiest way to attain client feedback is with a survey. You can set these up with a service like SurveyMonkey and ask just a few simple questions. They can be scheduled at the end of your service package, the end of your class, or semi-annually to your current clients.

One common complaint is that clients don’t take the time to look at the survey or answer the questions. If you want to avoid this scenario, offer a free gift for taking the survey, such as a coupon code for an upcoming product or a free checklist or other tool they will find useful. Sometimes gifts like these provide just enough incentive to get the answers you need.

To make your survey even easier, simply ask for a customer satisfaction score, such as 5 stars. This can be done via SurveyMonkey, email, or even a Facebook Messenger chatbot. If anyone gives a low score, you can follow up with a personal phone call or email to get clarification of what happened.

If you want to avoid the whole survey process altogether, simply ask your client at the end of their session package or class if they are satisfied with the results. Ask if there was anything missing that would have helped them during the process. If they are happy, always ask for referrals.

What If My Client Blasts Me with Negative Feedback?

It’s bound to happen at some point that you and a particular client just don’t mesh for any number of reasons. When you ask for feedback – which can be a simple question of “Why don’t you want to continue your sessions?” – you probably won’t like what they have to say. However, it’s important to listen objectively and not take the negative feedback personally. Think back to your interactions objectively; is there any validity to their complaints? If so, make note of those complaints and work immediately to resolve those with other clients.

If your unhappy client turns to social media to blast you, remain calm when crafting your response. Yes, you should respond to unhappy clients so it shows anyone who’s reading that you’re receptive to resolving the issue. But take the high road and don’t resort to name calling or throwing insults, no matter how tempting. Showing a calm demeanor online can build up your professional image and credibility.

Monitoring your social media should be a daily practice so you can catch any kind of negative talk right away. Your virtual assistant can monitor your profiles and can set up Google Alerts, Mention, or Social Mentions so you’ll know when people are talking about you online. Lots of positive shout outs occur on social media so keep an eye out for those mentions, too. Don’t be afraid to share the positive feedback you receive either on social media or as testimonials on your website.

Avoid Negative Feedback by Creating a Plan

One way to prevent poor client satisfaction results is to create a plan of action. A personalized client satisfaction plan spells out all the steps you’ll take (or your client care specialist) to assist the client and make their experience easy and worry free. Never heard of a client satisfaction plan? Why not schedule a free discover call/coffee chat with me to discuss further? Click HERE on my link to get started. Want to know more about what I do, go HERE to see how I can help you and your business grow!

What I learned while taking care of my father

Over the last 15 months, I had become the main caretaker of my father after he suffered an injury at his home in another state. For several months, during this pandemic, I traveled between states to become his healthcare advocate until eventually I moved him to live with me and my husband. Thankfully, I was and am the CEO of my own business, so I was able to structure my time around the business of taking care of him. Shortly after returning to his home, unfortunately we lost my father after he suffered another injury. His death and the fact that we’re less than 40 days away from a new year caused me to reflect on some things I’ve learned and how they’ve impacted my business and how I work.

1.       Systems – having systems in place was MAJOR. Because I had systems in place, I was able to travel, enforce boundaries, interact with clients, hire team members, track financials, and grow my business. I was able to PLAN, Process, and Manage – EFFICIENTLY!

2.       Team – having and accepting help from a support system was just as major. Even temporary support is support. The team members I was able to have in place to help on both personal and professional sides were immense in having a successful year.

3.       Grace – I networked with many entrepreneurs throughout the year. The one advice I received most from other successful entrepreneurs and small business owners was to be gracious to yourself and take the break you need without feeling guilty. Sometimes slowing down and maybe even just taking a break helps with any overwhelm we feel. It gives us time to breathe and think of what is possible next.

4.       Recount the good – tell your stories, enjoy the good times, laugh as much as possible, bask in the successful completion of task and projects, congratulate the team, THANK your team.

5.       Debrief – we all know sometimes things didn’t go the way we would like. Debrief on what went wrong, what could have made it better, and how you can show up differently. Being successful requires the good and the bad, but here is a word of CAUTION: do NOT stay in that place too long. Don’t dwell on the wrong, inaccuracies, missed tasks, or bungled projects too long. Learn the Lesson and move on!

6.       Move on – Know when to let go and don’t be afraid of doing so. As a military veteran and lifelong truck driver, my father showed me three things: he wasn’t afraid to go; he wasn’t afraid to let go – of people, places, things, and ideas; and he wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Sometimes, we must reflect and ask the hard questions. But we must move on. Life doesn’t stop and as an entrepreneur, business doesn’t stop. You either adjust or get left behind and lose all you’ve worked for.

7.       Mindset – Your mindset must change to become successful. Sometimes, we can’t control what happens, but we can control our mindset. Changing your thought process leads to changing your actions and responses. Your mindset will change how you manage your business and life, or how you don’t manage them for that matter. Changing your mindset will teach you to focus on your strengths, learn from your mistakes, and become stronger in your natural abilities.

8.       Pivot! – If you’ve ever watched Friends, you know the episode where Ross yells Pivot repeatedly when they’re struggling move his newly purchased couch to his apartment. Well, life will yell at you in the same way. Pivot! Do you need systems and boundaries in place? Pivot! Do you feel overwhelmed and know you can’t do everything alone? Pivot! Do you need other resources and team members but don’t know where to start? Pivot! Were there missteps in the assignments or tasks that having a standardized process could’ve alleviated? Pivot! Need a mindset shift? Pivot! Afraid to let go? Pivot! If there are any questions you have for me, feel free to reach out to me by clicking here. If you’re curious about how I can help, click here. But as a new year is coming quickly, join me as I and others in our ecosystem scale our businesses and Pivot!

 This is dedicated to you, Daddy. Rest in Power.

Keep Your Business Organized with a CRM Program

Keep your business organized with a CRM Program. Staying organized is paramount if you want to run a successful business, especially if you have multiple clients. Investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software program is one such way to stay organized while building your client relationships.

In its simplest form, a CRM program is like an online address book, or an old fashioned Rolodex (remember those?!) that keeps your client’s information all in one place. Basic info such as address, email, phone number, and birthday can be collected when they sign up for your services. Then, as you get to know them better, you can also ask for various personal or business information that can help you know your clients in a deeper way.

Many CRM programs have spaces for notes and next steps, such as follow up phone calls or sessions, so at the beginning of each day your CRM will provide an automated to-do list based on those next steps. Have you tried to keep all these details in your head or logged into your phone calendar? You will know that sometimes items get missed or forgotten, which can damage your credibility. Automating the to-do list process saves you time, money, and embarrassment.

Adding a Personal Touch to Your Client Relationships

Building a client relationship also means building a friendship with that person. Yes, YOU are the owner and the one with the expertise but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly outside of business. Learn about their business or their life; ask about their family; wish them a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary; ask questions about their latest vacation. Any little tidbit of personal information that comes up in your sessions, emails, or other conversations can be noted in your CRM and added to your to-do list. A simple email with, “Welcome back from vacation! Let’s get your next session booked,” adds a personal touch to your relationship.

Have you ever considered sending birthday cards to your clients? If you gather that information during the onboarding session, note it in your CRM program. Then every week or month, you can do a search for birthdays and send out cards. Sending eCards is certainly simple but also consider sending handwritten birthday cards with a simple message. That’s one way to stand out from the crowd since everyone’s email is jammed these days.

What Else Can a CRM Program Do?

Very often CRMs have an email system integrated so you can send individual messages or bulk messages instead of paying for a separate email provider. These email services also allow you to segment your clients based on what packages or products they purchased so you can run dedicated campaigns just to those people touting your latest products.

CRMs also offer ways to track leads so you can follow up with them on a regular basis or send them emails specific to their needs. This is especially handy since you always want to gather people into your sales funnel and you don’t want anyone falling through the cracks.

As you can see, CRM programs can handle a variety of tasks that keep your business organized. One note: there are dozens of CRM programs so do your due diligence when researching. Pricing structures vary considerably but also, choose a program from an established company that offers support and security updates.

Get More Tips for Personalizing the Client Relationship

Even if you’re just starting to research CRM options, you can still personalize your client relationship with tips I’ll share when you book a Strategy session with me. Spend up to two hours with me where we will work together to plan & create strategies to grow your business. Curious if we would be a good fit for each other? Check the services page on my website or go HERE to connect for a coffee chat. What could it hurt? Looking forward to talking with you soon!