WOULD YOU USE A BROKEN COMPASS WHEN SETTING OUT ON A WORLDWIDE JOURNEY. OR BUILD A HOUSE WITH NO FOUNDATION?
Having been in business for over forty years, I am dismayed when I see the plethora of folks claiming to be experts and offering advice, for a fee, to unsuspecting businesses seeking help. Far too often, these “experts” have casual experience in their areas of expertise, though the claims that they make are quite impressive. I have seen declarations from individuals who say they can give “guaranteed pointers” or direct clients in the many realms of business, yet their only personal experience and success is quite limited. The good news is that there are some great consultants and business advisors, with tremendous backgrounds and expertise, who are available to you and can be of assistance in finding your way. You just have to do your homework in selecting the right ones for you!
I must say that some may find my message a bit self-serving, as I recently started a business advisory company with my good friend and creative expert, Melissa Schulz. And to a degree, they would be correct! We conceived our business in part as a result of what we were seeing in the consulting realm. ideaologie was started as a means to share our vast knowledge of managing businesses (including branding, strategy, business, licensing, marketing and creative services); help business owners assess their companies; and assist in the strategizing for the future. What we bring to the table is over 75 years of experience in building brands, working with some of the best companies and brands in the world, and growing successful businesses.
So . . . what I can offer to you are some critical questions to ask and thoughts to ponder when choosing who you seek your advice from, and to whom you give your hard earned money when it comes to direction . . .
- There are no short cuts to success, and nobody should tell you differently. Any success you achieve will be through hard word, diligence to a strategy, and devotion to achieving your goals.
- It is important to start any discussion regarding a business with the reality – not everyone who has a desire for success is going to be massively successful in their dream occupation. Hey – I’d like to play in the NBA, but I know that this is not going to happen. I have the desire, but just not the talent to achieve at that level.
- No two businesses are alike, so be cautious of a “one direction for all” package. Your business requires a strategy built for your business, focused on your goals and vision.
- When seeking help and advice, do your due diligence right from the start. Ask the particular “expert” where their expertise comes from, and where they have worked previously. The good consultants will be able to rattle off enough facts and figures, including sales numbers, from their past successes that will make your head spin! Each dive into your business strategy must start with an understanding of your business, and a deep dive into your business from a holistic perspective - fully understanding the archaeology and architecture of your business. Any consultant who does not start with this step is leaving out a critical step and will never understand the culture and essence of your business.
- If you want to pursue licensing as an option for your business, please understand that this pathway is a marathon, and not a sprint! You have to create the necessary collateral to even get a foot into a manufacturer’s or retailer’s door; and once that deal develops, it takes 12 – 18 months for you to see any licensing royalties/revenue. In addition, it takes roughly three years before any property really matures into a money-maker. Yes - at least three years of working the business before you will see a profitable stream of income!
If you are seeking advice and help in setting your direction, think of your path similar to an ocean boat journey. You wouldn’t set sail into uncharted waters without a compass, and you would make sure that your compass was functional and in mint condition before you set sail. You also would not set out on this journey without a destination in mind. If you didn’t have a defined destination, or did not use a compass, you might be sailing in circles forever, or putting yourself in grave danger. Land masses only comprise 30% of the entire globe, so hoping you may run into an island by chance is a very unrealistic goal.
In the same fashion, you would never build a house on plain dirt. If you did, in no time you would find your walls and ceiling falling in on you. A strong home that will last a lifetime is built on a firm foundation. The same holds true for your business - the advice from a seasoned and experienced consultant can help steer you in the direction of creating that foundation for your business that will carry you far into the future.
So, do your homework before selecting your business advisor. Make sure the advice you take and the path you pursue are based on experience and knowledge. -J
“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards a ship with a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” Leonardo da Vinci