Do you wish you had more confidence in your service providers? I’m not talking about service providers like internet or cell phone service or delivery services like FedEx or UPS. This is in reference to those professional service providers whose advice and expertise you rely on regularly. They are there to keep your business running successfully and profitably. Service providers like attorneys, bankers, advertising agencies, marketing firms, P.R. companies, accountants, software developers, and IT companies that keep your computer networks running can be important.
These service providers are necessary partners in your success.
They can keep you out of ditches, finance growth, build the right kind of infrastructure, count your money, pay your taxes, help you land clients, and get the word out about your company. Most have expertise you don’t have, making them very valuable. Yet, this can also make them confusing to deal with, unless you have previous experience in their particular area of expertise. They have different views of the world and how it works than you do. This can be confusing at best and intimidating at the worst.
How do you really know the true value of the advice being given or the actions being proposed?
The first thing to remember is that no one knows your business as well as you. Advisers can never know what makes your business tick as well as you. Notice I said the word “can” and not “do.” It’s not a given that you, as the owner, know your business as deeply or as thoroughly as maybe you should. You can know it well and completely, but many owners don’t or don’t have confidence in it.
As I write this, I’m reminded about the client I was working with a few years back. This person employed a high-powered marketing expert whose hard charging advice he deferred to. Her advice and background caused him to doubt his deep expertise and experience in his business. Therefore, the excellent strategic plan we had put together was ignored. He spent $200,000 plus in radio advertising. That service delivered exactly no customer traffic to his location. His core customers were out-of-town convention visitors and vacationers who didn’t listen to local radio stations. He later apologized to me for not trusting his brand promise in his strategic plan. After all, it was derived from his deep understanding of his core customer.
Develop a good strategic plan.
The best way to make sure you truly understand the dynamics of your business is to study it under the guise and guidance of a good strategic planning process. Put your leadership team, and other sharp people, together for some self-examination of company. Turn what you learn into a strategic plan. This can be a do-it-yourself project, especially when your organization is small. The larger it gets, the messier the creation of a good strategy gets. More people in the company means more complexity and more confusion.
Get an experienced strategy coach who follows a proven methodology to help you.
What a good strategy coach does is to make you examine and dig into the expertise in your business. You very likely may have forgotten what you have. He’ll dig it out of your collective brains. A good strategy coach will force you to challenge the accuracy, relate it to your current circumstances, and help you apply to your future. You’ll find out you know more than you thought about your strengths and weaknesses, market conditions, purpose and values, and why your customers buy from you. I am completely convinced that my clients really know this stuff better than they think they do. I find this especially true when it comes to information about their customers and why they buy.
A good strategy coach helps you define all of this and evolve it.
Then you’ll differentiate it. When you have this down, in a simple and understandable format, you now have the expertise at hand to advise the service providers mentioned at the beginning. You’ll be able to deal with them as partners with equal levels of expertise, albeit in different areas. You’ll be able to understand their expertise more fully and advise them more accurately on how they can help. Furthermore, you’ll be able to select partners whose expertise fits your situation best.
Now equipped, you’ll have confidence in service providers abilities to assist and deliver.
Develop a strategy plan using proven strategic planning methodologies that is based on what you can know better than anyone else: your business.