In the current economic landscape, businesses need to find ways to stand out, streamline their operations, and protect their bottom lines. If you are a small or medium business owner, you most likely find yourself on an endless race to stay on top of all facets of your business. From dealing with performance issues and staying ahead of the competition, to constantly having to tweak your operations to keep up with industry trends and innovations. Truth is, being a business owner means you can never get too complacent!
But let's face it, dealing with all these dynamics every day can be incredibly difficult and stressful. At some point, you'll need support and guidance from an objective third party such as a business coach or management consultant. No matter what stage your business is at, management consultants and business coaches can make you work harder and progress faster than you would on your own.
These experts can help you take a hard, top-down look at your business to assess where you are, where you are headed and where you want to be. They can help you question everything and offer valuable insights that can turn your business around, double sales, and improve profitability. With years of experience, a business coach or consultant will help you develop short- and long-term goals and strategies as well as design and implement business-specific action plans to take you from point A to B.
Surprisingly, most business owners confuse business coaching and management consulting, and rightfully so, because both roles are founded on bringing their years of experience to the table. But what exactly is the difference between the two and which option can most benefit your business? Here's everything you need to know about business coaching and management consulting to help you know if it is worth the time and expense.
What Is Management Consulting
Management consultants work with businesses to create solutions for pressing business needs, create value and improve business performance. These third-party experts use their wide experience to help your business develop and implement specialized strategies to improve the operational and financial health of a business.
Most business consultants are industry experts such as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), attorneys, IT gurus, or even security experts. The primary job of the consultant is to teach and suggest directions for specific aspects of your business. When you are working with consultants, they will offer advice on how to best solve pressing business bottlenecks, taking the pressure off your finite resources. As a business owner, you might need to hire business consultants to help you with:
- Technology implementation
- SEO and digital strategies
- Process analysis
- Organizational change-management assistance
- Operational improvement services.
- Development of coaching skills
- Strategy development
- Taxation planning
By bringing this temporary expertise to your firm, you can gain deeper insights into your operations without needing to invest in pricey technologies or hiring staff. While the initial costs of bringing a consultant on board might seem high, they eliminate the need to have full-time employees whose costs may be higher over time.
Consultants bring immense value since they've worked with a variety of companies in your industry. They have insights on what works and what doesn't and can leverage this experience to create unique solutions for your business.
Why Hire A Management Consultant?
Whatever level your business is in, management consultants can help you in a variety of ways. You can hire a consultant if:
- The top-level management other decision-makers require unbiased executive advice and recommendations
- There is a business challenge that needs specialized skills to resolve
- There is a business opportunity that needs to be evaluated and acted upon
- There are organizational improvements that are needed in the structure, HR, operations, or business strategy.
- Your business is looking for ways to improve overall performance
Benefits of management consultants
Regardless of the size of the business, consultants can play a crucial role when you are stuck. Here are some of the benefits that your business can reap from hiring a management consultant:
- An objective outside's perspective. Most small and midsize business owners usually invest a lot of time, energy, and resources in building their businesses and brands. As a result, these entrepreneurs may get overly attached to their businesses, which can create bias in how they solve issues. Consultants offer an outsider's perspective, helping the business owner to see what is really holding the business down. They can then curate solutions that can help the business move past the problem.
- Take advantage of valuable resources. Consultants are usually experts in various specific areas within the industry. Due to their experience, consultants often have unique tools and processes that can be used to evaluate and streamline various business processes. Business owners can take advantage of these resources to create leaner teams, smarter processes, and risk proof strategies that can help the business grow without hiring extra employees.
- Bring in new business skills. A major part of business consultants is constantly keeping up with market trends, innovations, and methodologies that are helping businesses gain a competitive edge. For instance, an internet business consultant can bring invaluable expertise to help your business scale the digital market place. Instead of spending time trying different strategies, the consultant can give you specific measures and frameworks that you can implement to speed up your growth.
- Accomplishing short-term goals. With an ever-changing marketplace, businesses have to keep their process and operation well aligned to match up with the changes. This involves setting short term goals that need unique skills that may not be available within the organization. Bringing in a consultant may help the business achieve these goals without disrupting normal business workflow.
- A diplomatic, but provocative approach to issues. As a third party, consultants can weave through corporate culture to bring change without causing conflict. They can ask the tough question and steer resistant teams towards a common goal.
- Save money, time and stress. Hiring new employees is a stressful experience that takes a lot of time and money. Fortunately, business owners can quickly onboard experience consultants who can get the job done right, without having to worry about HR, taxes, and full-time employee benefits.
What is Business Coaching?
Unlike management consulting, business coaching is a more personalized approach to help you improve your performance and grow your business. It is primarily focused on the business owner and works on developing the soft skills that are necessary for business success. Business coaching explores the "Why" question, allowing you to step back and explore why you started your business, how you are doing and where your business needs to be.
Business coaches are usually serial entrepreneurs or former c suite executives who have in-depth knowledge of how to grow a business. They use their experience to help others navigate everyday business hurdles.
Business coaches act like that trusted partner that will support and encourage you while also working with you to determine areas that limiting your business growth. They can help with a variety of issues, including:
- Action planning
- Time management
- Follow up
Business coaching works well when the business owner is willing to grow from where they are now to where they'd want to be.
Areas Of Business Coaching
Business coaching can help you identify key blind spots in your business. A professional business coach can help you:
Set attainable goals
Most successful businesses are built by creating and achieving goals. A business coach can help you bring clarity to your goals so you can set your priorities right. They can also help provide the methods to meet those goals.
There is no business without planning. However, while most entrepreneurs are good executioners, many fail miserably in planning. A business coach can help create a comprehensive roadmap that you can use to guide your next business move.
A business coach can help you become a better time manager, allowing you to develop a balanced and fulfilling work-life relationship.
By simply finding out what parts of your personal and business side are lagging, a business coach can help you identify and fix those loopholes, leading to more growth in revenue.
Identifying your customer
Most businesses fail in their nascent stages because of obsessing so much about their products and services and forgetting their customers. While you might be having sales, a business coach can help you get a clearer perspective on your customers' preferences so you can develop better ways to target them.
A business coach can help sharpen your soft skills so you can become a better leader.
Refining your product and services
An experienced business coach can sort your offerings to create hero products and services.
- A business coach can help with succession planning
- A business coach can help you hone your sales techniques
- A business coach can help increase your productivity
- They can help you communicate better in order to more effectively achieve your aims.
- They can be instrumentals in modifying your business model
Reasons To Hire A Business Coach
- You'll go outside your comfort zone. Business owners can easily get caught in a rut, and get too enmeshed in their business. A business coach can give you that much-needed push to get out of your comfort zone and focus on other things that matter just as much as your business. This includes meeting new people or even trying new things in your business that may create a great differential point.
- You'll get personal attention from someone who understands your business. In most cases, business coaches take their time to understand you and your business from the inside out. As a result, whenever you are stuck, you can get a different perspective from a person who truly understands your business ecosystem. This level of personalized approach cannot be matched by business mentors or consultants.
- You'll learn from an unbiased viewpoint. As a business leader, you can easily get lost in your own head, and thereby lack objectivity when dealing with issues. A business coach brings an unbiased perspective, allowing you to see things differently.
- A business coach can serve as your compass. Business coaches offer the much-needed accountability that can push you to stay focused on your goals and mission. They keep an eye on your operations to ensure that you are on the most direct path to your destination.
- They'll unlock your self-imposed limits. Most times, entrepreneurs spend too much time building a cage with myriad dos and don'ts. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, these self-imposed regulations can limit you from reaching your full potential.
- Your business and personal goals will align. Business coaching is founded on the principle of creating a holistic synergy between a person and their businesses. Instead of simply focusing on your business, a business coach can help you understand yourself and align your objectives with your business goals. As a result, you can hyper-focus your energy and resources on your goals.
- You'll be held accountable for what really matters. Running a business requires utmost attention and commitment to keep everything streamlined. In the process, most entrepreneurs get lost in their busy schedules, forgetting other important things that equally need attention. A business coach holds you accountable, ensuring that you split your energy in all the things that matter.
- They'll open your mind to new habits and ideas
It is tempting to remain in your comfort zone as you grow your business. A business coach pushes you to explore new habits and patterns that can potentially increase your productivity and success.
Key Differences Between Business Coaching and Management Consulting
Despite sharing so many similarities, business coaching and management consulting are uniquely different in both approach and methodologies used by these experts. Here are some of the differences to help you capitalize on the fruitful benefits of the two:
Personal Relationship Vs Professional Relationship
The main difference between business coaching and business consulting is the relationship created between the expert and the business owner. Business coaching is more personalized. Business coaches deal personally with the business owner to create highly curated solutions to common personal and business problems. On the other hand, consultants have a more professional relationship with top execs and business leaders who are in a position to implement various strategies to solve a pressing business problem.
Offering Solutions Vs Exploring Possibilities
Business coaching is founded on helping business owners explore various possibilities that can help them reinvent themselves. Typically, instead of offering a solution, a coach enables you to view a problem from a different light so you can create a well-informed solution. On the other hand, business consulting is geared towards offering business-specific solutions. A business consultant will not only try to understand your business problem, but they will also create a roadmap on how you can solve it cost-effectively.
Professional Growth Vs Business Growth Enabler
Consultants usually focus on delivering their skills in a way that can translate to business growth and development. With immense industry experience, they know some of the best practices to deal with common business problems and have a set of tools and resources that can be deployed to achieve positive results. On the other hand, business coaches are people with previous experience in business operations that they can tap into to direct business owners on a self-discovery journey. This way, business coaching promotes personal and business growth.
A Business Expert Vs A Business Equal
A business consultant is an expert in a small niche with immense experience working with related businesses. When working with them, most consultants will take the lead role, guiding the business through the problem and solution discovery journey. On the other hand, business coaching takes a subtle role of a partner who understands the entire business structure and is always available for support, advice, and guidance. They can easily bring themselves to your level and see things as a partner would, exploring possibilities and developing personalized solutions.
A Business Coach Guides And A Consultant Instructs
A business coach is usually a more experienced entrepreneur or senior executive who has traveled the entrepreneurship journey. They understand the hurdles and are only interested in guiding business owners to find themselves and their purpose. On the other hand, consultants come on board to deal with pressing issues that need immediate remedies. Out of experience, these professionals can quickly morph into your business situation, understand the root cause and forge the most effective solutions.
Execution Vs Information Extraction
Business consultants focus on educating a business owner on the industry's best practices and offer them the tools needed to execute business-specific operations. On the other hand, business coaching focuses on gaining as much information from the client and the business, then developing tools and strategies to help them create solutions on their own.
Providing Answers Vs Asking Questions
Ideally, a consultant should help you navigate through murky situations. They should tap into their experience and expertise to create actionable solutions to your business challenges. On the other hand, business coaching is founded on the principles of asking questions so you can explore the world through their eyes. While strategies from the two experts yield the same solutions, a business coach will help you find your hidden expertise and knowledge.
Problem Focused Vs Client Focused
Management consulting is majorly focused on the problem and how to solve it effectively and within budget. On the other hand, a business coach is more focused on the business owner and their teams. They stand behind your shoulders shedding light on your problem-solving approach and help knock off any ceiling that you might have imposed on yourself.
One of the major value propositions for business consultants is business empowerment through the right solutions and proven strategies. They come to your business and identify operational bottlenecks that may be slowing you down, and then create personalized solutions to help you progress fluently. On the other hand, business coaching is all about advising, recommending, and offering the much needed to swamped up business leaders.
Consultants Expertise Vs Clients Expertise
Management consulting revolves around the experience and skillsets of the experts while business coaching relies on the client's expertise to deal with emerging business problems.
Short Term Solutions Vs Long Term Products
Businesses experiencing problems that need immediate attention find it better to hire a consultant. In such cases, the consultant comes in to offer short term solutions to get the business out of a complex business scenario. On the other hand, business coaching is a long-term strategy for building sustainable businesses and lifestyles. A business coach will not only help you identify solutions to immediate problems but also help develop a culture of reinvention and innovation so your business can remain relevant in the long haul.
Coaching and Consulting: Synergy Within Client Work
By comparison, business consultants offer a higher level of expertise that a business can tap into to pull itself from various situations. Business coaches on the other hand tap into their first-hand experiences in the business world to help a business owner develop innate problem-solving skills. While these two are different, they can both be harnessed to create a dynamic business that is not only risk-averse in the short term but also sustainable in the long term.
Whether you're considering starting your own business, or you've just launched one, or you are running an established business, you must look inwards to know whether you need a business coach or a management consultant. Here are some questions you can ask to know what you really need:
- What are your organization's goals?
- What are your goals?
- What challenges would you want to be solved in your business?
- Are there opportunities that need an expert evaluation?
- Is there a budget for a business coach or consultant?
Statistics show that many businesses are able to create more value and increase their revenue significantly by tapping into the expertise of both a business coach and a business consultant.
At San Diego CPA, we have highly experienced business consultants and coaches that can help you take your business to the next level. Whether you are a startup or an established brand, we have the skills, knowledge, and training to help your business be the best it can be for a price you can afford. We couch our clients to think of solutions themselves and use our consulting expertise to develop tools that deliver the best solutions. Call us today to discuss how we can transform your life and business and level it up for success.