Business Consulting: How to Find & Build the Right Relationships

Let's face it: starting a new relationship is risky. It takes time, effort, and most importantly, trust. But making the right match can be the difference from stagnating to making a breakthrough in your business. Indeed, finding the right consultant — whether in the form of a coach, a peer, or a fellow member of your mastermind group — can change your entire psychology about how you lead, what you earn, and the lifestyle you deserve. Just like with elite sports, the best business consultants come with the proper mix of guidance, support, and accountability.

You may be desperate for success, but until you make the investment in educating yourself on how to get there, it often remains a frustrating and tail-chasing exercise. Your consultant should be someone who has already walked the walk, so let that person show you the right lane to travel in.

Here are some of the things to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a business consultant:

Hard experience is priceless. Let someone else absorb the hits that come with being an entrepreneur. How do you avoid making the same mistakes they did? Simple: ask. A good business consultant should be a seasoned entrepreneur who’s made their fair share of mistakes — and, most importantly, who can impart lessons and suggestions from the rough patches they’ve encountered on their entrepreneurial journey.

Let your consultant teach you what works, what doesn’t, and what to absolutely avoid at all costs. To that end, cross-check his accomplishments, as well as the trajectory of his career. What has his mastermind taught him? How did he pay his dues? Your consultant’s insight can help you avoid the same expensive mistakes he made during his rise to the top.

But “soft skills” are crucial, too. Of course, a good business consultant needs to have hard-and-fast business savvy. But any consultant worth his salt should have highly developed “soft skills,” too — the charisma, understanding, and transparency that’s necessary to build meaningful relationships.

Check their history. Once you learn how to create the culture of success for yourself and your business, doors open and stay that way. You don’t want to be mentored by somebody whose ideas what “success” means change every time a new trend rolls around. So do some digging: is your coach still connected to the same intellectual mastermind group she started with? That's a golden indicator of the progress you may experience, too.

Take Carissa Hill, who had already built herself into a leading brand in the beauty industry, but wanted to expand her marketing experience and further her growth. She joined Ben Simkin’s mastermind, and then became a business coach herself. “Now it’s opened up this whole new world: you can literally figure out how to market effectively for anyone. It’s really powerful,” Hill says, adding that she averages a new client every day, and is now selling online courses for an additional daily income in the ballpark of $5,000 to $7,500.

Connections are key. I don’t allow my clients to slip away into their busy lives. I expect to hear from them, and in return, you should expect the same from your business mentors. We, as humans and business-minded professionals, thrive on personal connections. “Globally, I am in contact with clients across a wide spectrum of industries and organizations, and I share what I have learned from them within my mastermind group, and with the entrepreneurs I coach’” says Ben Simkin CEO of BusinessNET. Ask your coach if he’s willing to use his connections on your behalf. You can often learn critically important practices from the relationships your trusted advisor has already built.

A good consultant respects the art of teaching. More than anything, a business consultant needs to have great respect for the art of teaching — and must do it with passion and joy. As such, he should be considerate of your time, expectations, and investment. Watch how your coach treats you from the very beginning. Is your initial interaction productive? Is the coach on-time, focused on your goals, and willing to ride out any tumult you encounter? If the answer is yes, then all signs point to a quality candidate.

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s an indicator that you respect the experience of professionals in your industry, and are ready to grow to unprecedented heights. But you can’t learn from just everyone: you have to find somebody whose experience, skills, and personality are a good match for you. If you’re looking for advice on how to grow your business and your revenue, remember the items on this list: they can mark the difference between a relationship that’s lucrative and productive and one that falls flat.

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