Struggling with your business and not sure if you should engage a consultant to help?

John Walters

John Walters

I was recently asked to give a short presentation about my company to a local group of Small Business Owners. Rather than bore them with what I do and how; I focused my presentation on the results achieved, and gave some practical examples (whilst maintaining client confidentiality).

I was accompanied by a current client who spoke about how she had spent some considerable time deliberating whether or not to engage an external consultant, before engaging “121”.

Having her give a personal account of the dilemma that she faced in deciding whether or not to engage an external advisor, and why she decided to bring “121” in to help was of particular interest to the audience.  Her dilemma was/is entirely consistent with the dilemma faced by all Small Business Owners who are considering hiring an external advisor.


  1. How can the small business owner be sure that the external advisor can help?
  2. How can you be sure that the external advisor will deliver value in excess of the fee?

Good questions! Let’s try to address them.

First there are very few guarantees in life, but you can take out some of the risk by asking for testimonials from other clients, before engaging the advisor. Second, make sure that your engagement is clear in terms of duration, milestones etc. so that you can effectively manage performance.

The above will not guarantee success, but it will help you to mitigate the risk.

As for “121”, I responded by saying that I was confident that I could help any business based on my experience, and the fact that all businesses have inputs, a conversion process and an output.  By taking a process view, the actual nature of the business is of secondary importance.  Furthermore, I emphasized that generally you are not hiring a business consultant because they know more about your business than you; you are hiring them for their general business acumen and to gain an outside perspective.

I was then asked, why did I think local small businesses were slow in seeking help?

Not an easy question, but my attending client alluded to, and I believe her to be correct, that the Small Business Owner primarily focuses on the fee, and not the value creation potential. This to me is a real shame, because I can say that if “121” or any other external advisor for that matter is not able to deliver inherent value, then the engagement cannot be regarded as a success, which will lead to a dissatisfied client, and damaging to the reputation of the consulting company.

To be absolutely clear 121’s primary objective is to deliver client value.  My message is that if you are struggling to take your business to the next level, or you simply have a nutty problem to sort out, you should contact “121”.  We have the experience, proven tools and methodologies; we care and we are there to help you.