At the best of times, operating a business is like running a marathon. You can’t hit the ground running from Day 1. It requires years of blood, sweat and tears (aka planning, self-improvement and persistence) to stabilize and put your business in an upward trajectory. Solopreneurs, small business owners and startup founders are constantly haunted by the notion of growth. How can it be done and by how much, are typically the questions which come to mind and keep coming back throughout their entrepreneurial journey.
This is the exact point where a seasoned helping hand might come useful. Typically, solopreneurs, small businesses and startups are not flush with funds to hire employees, therefore, a coach or a consultant might be the person who fills in the missing piece. Inspired by 2 similar articles on Maxmyprofit.com and Huffpost, I wanted to explore the differences between a coach and a consultant, and also the situation is which they might be most useful. So far, I have acted in both capacities and I hope to share some of my own experiences here.
Paradigm Plumbing was a 2 man operation and the founder, Alan was not only the only licensed plumber, but also managed all other aspects of running this successful business. During my initial call with Alan, I understood that he had a vision of growing his small business, but growth has been severely hampered due to his lack of bandwidth in terms of overseeing the execution of each project, and drive growth activities in terms of marketing. For Paradigm Plumbing, I acted as a Business Coach. I took his ideas and helped him device short- and long-term strategies to achieve them. Coaches are said to be like that friend who cheers you on while you’re running the marathon. They encourage you when you hit a low. They keep you accountable so that your plans can come to fruition. I worked alongside the founder to get them to the level where they are on the right path to future growth and success.
On the other hand, a business consultant is an expert with extensive knowledge in a single field. A business consultant to a business is the same as a nutritionist to a marathon runner. A nutritionist’s advice is not mandatory, however, the advice and meal plan provided by a nutritionist can drastically improve the outcomes of the training program. The consultant helps plan strategies based on a business’s goals. However, it is not consultants’ job to aid and support a business while the plan is implemented. The responsibility of putting the plan into action relies on the business.
Safri Financial is owned and managed by Shabbir Safri. As a financial advisor, he worked alone to prospect clients, onboard them and then manage their portfolios on an ongoing basis. I took on the role of a Business Consultant to enhance his personal brand. After all, that is what brought in clients. I worked with him to revamp his website and social media pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. We discussed ways to create engaging content and how to continuously develop his online presence.
Whether your business needs a coach or a consultant depends on the problem you are facing. If you’re not sure how to achieve your goals or if you are facing a problem you can’t wrap your head around. A consultant might have the answers. If you have a plan but can’t reach your full potential, maybe you should consider reaching out to a business coach. Depending on the needs of your business you might even need both.