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To many cubicle-bound middle managers, starting a home-based consulting business can sound like a dream. Make your own hours, steer your own ship and drive your own success. What’s not to like?
But there’s a reason everyone isn’t a home-based business consultant: It takes a certain type of person to succeed at this entrepreneurial career.
In my experience working with hundreds of home-based franchise consultants, there are key traits most successful consultants share. If you lack them, you’re likely to see your business-consulting efforts flounder.
Here are the negative traits that spell doom for home-based business consultants:
You’re not a good listener.
The dark side of years in corporate management is that some people become terrible know-it-alls. Instead of listening deeply to client needs, you switch to autopilot after their first few sentences and start trying to impose your stock solution. Worse, that will often be the one that comes with the biggest commission check for you, instead of the one that’s the best fit for the client’s needs and desires.
You have no self-discipline.
If you’ve been working in big business, you surely know much about business operations. But longtime corporate managers have zero experience setting goals and staying focused with no boss standing over them, and the stresses of working independently can come as a shock. The best corporate workhorse may be adrift and undisciplined without a boss defining goals and deadlines.
You only care about selling.
Good business consulting is rooted in relationship-building. If your consulting practice is struggling, it’s hard to keep thinking like a matchmaker and making sure your recommendations are a perfect fit for your client. While you may get a few short-term wins with the hard sell, your reputation will suffer — and that leads to fewer referrals and less income long-term.
You’re not fully committed.
Many new home-based consultants hope to pursue their career part-time. They think it’s a side business they could fit on top of other interests or something they could do a bit of in retirement. But the lack of regular business hours and easy accessibility will make it more difficult to connect with clients. They can smell your lack of full-on commitment, and seek out consultants who are more invested in their role.
Business consulting is not for people who need instant results. For instance, a franchise broker might cultivate a client for a year or more as he or she explores franchising options and contemplates what type of franchise business is their best fit. You wouldn’t want to get a reputation for pressuring clients to make a quick purchase they may later regret because they didn’t do their full due diligence.
You’re not detail-oriented.
Most business consulting is accompanied by elaborate contracts, checklists and preparation for client meetings. There are a lot of “Ts” to cross. Defining a consulting contract or helping a client buy or sell a business requires an eye for the little things. If that’s not you, make sure you partner with someone who will handle the paperwork. Get a reputation for being sloppy and it’ll short-circuit your business, fast.
You don’t bring expertise.
Many programs online today promise to quickly turn anyone into a six-figure business consultant. Don’t believe it. Most successful home-based consultants bring some related business experience to the table, and most good training programs are quite extensive. For instance, many good franchise consultants previously worked for a franchisor, owned or operated franchise businesses or are seasoned sales and marketing pros.
As you can see, there’s more to home-based business consulting success than simply hanging out a shingle and buying a desk for your home office. But if you have the drive, experience and interest in helping others succeed, home-based business consulting can be one of the most personally rewarding and lucrative career choices.
March 5, 2019 at 08:30AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs