A case for consultants. What is your core business?


As an independent marketing professional, I am often in the position of “justifying” my professional worth to organizations and in particular, to small business owners who have very small marketing budgets.

They want, nay need, to see demonstrated value and I don’t blame them. Money is valuable and with so many people, places and things competing for their money, it’s important for customers to be cautious and discriminating. In an effort to save money, many of my current clients have used DIY solutions.

They find their way to me after their own in-house marketing efforts have floundered.

I often hear:

  • “We tried this; it didn’t work.”
  • “We’d like to get into social media and we set up all our accounts, but we have few ‘likes.'”
  • “The newspaper advertisement we placed didn’t work; I just don’t think print media works.”

More often than not, my clients have solid ideas and I respect these efforts as well as their knowledge of their industry. The problem lies, not with their ideas, but with the ability to plan and execute them in a concerted, integrated way. Why is this?

Because marketing is not their core business and in many cases, it doesn’t need to be. The time and energy required, to elevate your product over the white noise of a saturated market, requires a concentrated effort and plan. For the small business owner, to do this takes him or her away from the core business.

Does an accountant need to be an expert marketer? Does a biotechnology company need to know the latest in social media trends? More often than not, the answer is no. Accountants should be spending their time adding value to their accounts (literally and figuratively!). The scientist should be curing cancer. The cleaning service should be cleaning.

Great consultants can help you stick to your core business and grow your company, even if the initial proposal amount or bill makes you gasp. I’m practicing what I preach. Recently I “bit the bullet” and hired a CPA firm to get my financial house in order. It’s not cheap when you compare it to Turbo Tax Home and Business. In fact, it’s pricey. But I’ll venture to guess that I’ll see every penny I spend on accounting will come back to me a hundred fold. Maybe not right away, but I can be patient. It takes time to build a business.

Instead of slaving over my taxes right now, I’m at Panera doing what I really love–writing in between consulting meetings when I get to help people grow their business. Do I really need to be up to date on the latest tax code? Absolutely not. Should my accountant? You betcha.

Along this note, I’m going to try to convince my family (husband and 2 boys) that cleaning is not my core business. Do you think they’ll buy this?

And speaking of cleaning, here’s a shameless plug for a current client. The Window Valet is a newer company located in Madison, Wisconsin that offers amazing mobile cleaning of blinds and window treatments. So next time you vacuum the gunk off your blinds, ask yourself: “is this my core business?”

If the answer is no (which is likely should be), give Josh at The Window Valet a call.

This entry was posted in Consulting, Management, Marketing and Strategy. Bookmark the permalink.

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