Always Have a Plan B — plan Bush
Small Business Consultants
Like many business strategies and services, the use of small business consultants has changed significantly during the past 25 years. My purpose here is not to provide a history of where business consulting has gone wrong but instead to summarize a few of the most critical areas in which a small business consultant is most likely to be needed by business owners and managers. Here are three of the highest-ranking candidates:
- Negotiating with Commercial Lenders and Suppliers
- Training to Prevent and Solve Key Problems
- Proposals to Obtain New Business Opportunities
In addition to the written summary information below, I have included video presentations both here and throughout the AEX Commercial Financing Group websites to provide a concise overview of these business consulting services. Because circumstances vary so widely from one company and geographic region to another, I strongly encourage small business owners to contact me directly for a candid conversation about these and any related topics.
- Business Negotiations: “You will never make more money than when you are negotiating.” (Roger Dawson)
Most small businesses have been trying desperately to improve their bottom line because of erratic sales and revenues. I don't know when the economy will improve by enough to help with this, but some financial pressures on companies of all sizes are likely to remain in place regardless of such external improvements. This is particularly true with regard to banking institutions, and effective negotiating with commercial lenders is one of the most reliable small business solutions available for preventing bank problems from escalating to a crisis level.
- Small Business Training: “When you’re through learning, you’re through.” (John Wooden)
In many cases effective business training can act as the thread that ties all of the possibilities together. Unfortunately many attempts at training have proven to be a waste of everybody's time, and when this happens it can truly result in disastrous consequences because of how inter-connected the pieces are. In other words, when things go wrong they can go very wrong. Three of the keys to preventing such disasters are ensuring that training is (1) individualized, (2) specialized, and (3) practical.
- Business Proposal Writing: “Successful proposals usually lead to immediate business.” (Excerpt from “Small Business Proposals in Ten Words or Less” by Stephen Bush)
I'm assuming that any and all small businesses that are currently active are highly interested in developing new and substantial business opportunities. But how can a typical small business do this effectively and consistently? Based on several decades of experience, my own conclusion is that nothing comes close to the effectiveness of writing successful business proposals when it comes to adding new business. While formal solicited proposals have a valued place in this business development equation, highly-researched unsolicited proposals have an even more special place for most small businesses.
- The Bottom Line: Cost-effectiveness is a primary key to achieving success with negotiating, training and writing proposals.