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Business consulting

In the purest form, business consultants solve problems. It’s that simple.

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Consulting defined

Unlike a salesman who has to sell a specific problem or service, a consultant focuses his or her sales on solving the problem with whatever products and services makes the most sense for the client. Business consulting is the process of uncovering business issues and creating an action plan to solve those issues and reach the clients’ goals.

Consultants can be found in any industry imaginable, and generally, have unique experience in a specific area that many businesses have limited experience in (e.g. IT implementation). But be careful, as expertise varies widely so make sure you are working with a consultant you can trust.

At Take the Stairs, we focus on both marketing consulting & operations consulting. This might sound complicated but it’s actually really simple: we enable businesses like yours to reach more clients, and help you prepare your business practices to service the scale and growth of your business.

Consultants in pop-culture

Ever heard of (the infamous) Marty Kaan?

Marty is a silver-tongued management consultant played by Don Cheadle in the hit TV show, House of Lies, whose ego fuels him to talk wealthy business executives into any move he sees fit using leverage or blackmail to get what he wants.

Marty is what most people think of when they hear the word ‘consultant’.

Business consulting has this unfortunate stigma of being about conning businesses out of money and offering little to no value other than flashy PowerPoint presentations, expensive suits and big words.

Rarely do you see a consultant being displayed as a trusted advisor who helps an organization overcome a difficult business issue.

It’s important to remember that no occupation in the entire world is inherently bad or good, it’s the person behind the job that is moral or immoral. Consulting is no different.

The best consultants are those whose business clients can confide in and lean on for no-nonsense advice.

Why do I need a consultant?

It’s all about seeing the bigger picture

Have you ever been in a relationship and didn’t know why things weren’t working out?

You might have spoken to a friend about it, and they had quick and pertinent advice about why your relationship might be having problems. Does this resonate?

Just like when you are in a relationship, it can be tough to see the issues when you’re in the weeds trying to make it work every day.

It often takes others to see the systematic flaws in our logic and thinking, and in this way, a consultant is no different. In business consulting, we look at the bigger picture when working with a client and tries to find patterns as well as opportunities within existing systems.

A phrase consultants hear frequently is, ‘We’ve always done business this way.’ This phrase is both frustrating and depressing as it can mean that business owners are completely closed to new ways of working, or looking at other avenues to improve their success. When we hear this at Take the Stairs, we immediately know two things: 1) that it might take a little more work to show an owner how change can be a powerfully good thing, and 2) that small tweaks here and there can make a world of difference to the owner’s success.

The legendary consultant, Jim Collins, said, “Good is the enemy of great” and boy, was he right. Many practices work functionally on the day-to-day and do well enough, but when analyzing across a longer period of time, you can often see lost production because greatness was not pursued. We believe it’s important to strive for greatness in all areas that affect your bottom line.

Businesses aren’t perfect

Most people believe when they are growing up (and sometimes as adults) that businesses that advertise have it all figured out, right?

An example might be the company Equifax, known as one of the three standards for consumer credit reporting. As consumers, our ability to get loans is highly based on their credit scores. Yet in 2017, it announced that 145.5 million consumers’ information had been breached.

How is it possible that a business of this size wasn’t prepared for a data breach?

The truth of the matter is that no business has it all figured out. Businesses are constantly uncovering new challenges and their business grows or downsizes across all departments as a result of how it manages those challenges.

Ready to take the first step?

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How does consulting work?

We can analyze your current business processes by collecting relevant information on your performance levels and understanding how resources – both human and financial – are allocated to these processes. Questions to ask and areas to probe might include the number of sales calls made each week, team methodologies, your hiring process…the questions should cover everything you currently do, and every process and characteristic you want to improve, for a full understanding of where your business is now.

In a nutshell, finding out what your business is doing well, and what your business has the opportunity to update. As they say, understanding ‘you have a problem’ is always the first step to solving it.

This is where you want your business to go. This analysis looks at what you want to achieve, listing factors needed to make those future objectives happen. Your desired state should be quantifiable, for example, increasing sales by 20% or more. Whether your goals are to increase revenue or internal efficiencies, they must be connected to the success of your business.

We’ve spoken with many businesses; some have direction and some don’t. Saying you want to improve just isn’t good enough because it’s ambiguous enough to allow yourself to fail. It’s just like setting a fitness goal. Person A’s goal is ‘to lose some weight’ and person B’s goal is ‘to lose 20lbs by March’. Who do you think is more likely to succeed?

Business is no different. You can’t chase what you don’t know you’re chasing.

An experienced business consultant (like a personal trainer) can help you figure out reasonable goals and an action plan to get there.

Fill out our form or call (615) 219-9181 to take the first step in uncovering your business goals.

Moving from current to desired states is the hard part. Generally, the gaps will be in performance levels, product or markets, profits or manpower. At Take the Stairs, we provide a report listing all the recommended solutions that you can implement to bridge the gap, including the identification of what is missing: strategies or structures, technologies or capabilities.

It’s important that all solutions are tied directly to bridging the gap between the current and desired states of the business.

From here, we can help you develop an action-oriented plan, based on your strategy. Your plan will include tangible activities to be completed over the course of the engagement that directly and positively impacts your goals.

So, what does this plan look like for you?

  • Goal-oriented
    All the activities we develop relate to you reaching your predefined goals.
  • Tangible
    Goals need to be measurable and tangible. We don’t accept goals that state objectives such as, “We want to be better” or “We want to make more money”. At Take the Stairs, we create goals with specific metrics that we can chase down: we are answerable to you.
  • Contains milestones
    It’s all too easy for details to get lost along the way or for activities to slip. We avoid this happening by setting milestones to check in on how our activities are performing in connection to the goals we set. If we start to see data that doesn’t align to our success metrics, we can adapt or pivot the plan.

All solutions are discussed and approved by you, the client, before moving forward to the execution phase.

So, we’ve helped you undertake a gap analysis to identify what you need to do to get where you want to go. We’ve developed action-oriented and tangible goals, and set milestones to keep us on track. What happens next? Depending on your business requirements, resources and capabilities held in-house, we can offer a variety of ways to help you execute your strategy and plan.

Interim leadership

Our team can provide interim leadership by offering strategic development and execution of your tactical activities. This can be done in conjunction with your teams, or on a ‘Train the Trainer’ basis.

Arms-length consultancy

If you’re happy with the plan and want to implement it in-house, we can offer help and advice as and when you need it. This can be structured into a 12-week program, with weekly calls to help you stay on track.

However you choose to execute your strategy, we always need a means to measure progress and stay true to your plan. At Take the Stairs, we’re big believers in milestones.

 

Key milestones

Monthly reviews
We recommend monthly calls to review performance, check actions and take into account additional data that may be pertinent to your business outcomes.

 

Monthly reports
We provide a monthly view of your analytics, offering you a helicopter and granular view of progress and to measure how we are tracking against our goals.

Interested in learning more? Set up a no-risk discovery meeting today.

You should never stop learning about how to improve your business. Business is not a game you beat and never pick up again, it’s a game where you continue to try to beat your high score. Even in business, every day is a ‘school day’.

No matter your industry, budget, or current business phase, we can help you to weigh up your options when it comes to improving your business. At the end of the day, our goal at Take the Stairs is to make you more successful tomorrow than you were yesterday.

If you are looking for some new ideas or a fresh perspective, set up a free, no-risk discovery meeting with our team of experienced Nashville business consultants today. You can give us a call at (615) 219-9181 or fill out our contact form below.

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