The Complete Beginner's Guide to Consulting
Hi there! So, you're interested in learning about consulting, but you're really not sure what it is or where to start.
On this page, I'm going to give you an "ELI5" of consulting. That's Internet slang for "Explain It Like I'm 5."
I'll break it down and use a lot of metaphors so even if you're a total newbie to this world, you'll understand what I'm talking about a little better.
What is a Business Consultant?
Imagine you're trying to put together a puzzle.
But you're stuck. You can't find that one piece that will make everything else fall into place.
Now, imagine if someone else comes along who's experienced with puzzles. They take a look at yours, and helps you find that missing piece.
That's sort of what a consultant does, but for businesses (or single-person entrepreneurs) instead.
They come in, take a look at how things are running, and then offer advice to make it better. They can help you put the advice into action, too—sometimes, that's the hardest part.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is basically just telling a story.
You're telling a story about your business, or yourself, to people who might want to buy your stuff or follow your journey.
These people aren't quite sure about you yet, or haven't heard of you, or haven't realized that you can help solve a problem they're having.
Marketing is just how you find these people, how you tell them why you're so great to fix their problem, and why they should choose you over anyone else.
If you were ever a kid selling lemonade on a hot summer day, and you shouted "come and get the coldest, most refreshing lemonade in town!"—even that is a type of marketing.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, but don't worry about that for a moment.
Back in the old days, before the Internet was around, people used to look up businesses in the phone book (the Yellow Pages).
The phone book had all the phone numbers for every company in your area. It sorted them alphabetically.
People would open up the phone book and look at the first page first, because that's just how people are. So businesses really wanted to be on the first page.
If you wanted to be on the first page of the phone book, there was only one "factor" you'd care about—the alphabetization. So you might name your business "A1 Grocers" or "Anderson Pharmacy" because "A" would put you at the top of the alphabet.
Google is just like that, but on steroids. Google has over 200 ranking factors, and sadly, none of them are as easy as alphabetization.
Even worse, Google changes them around all the time. Some of them you can control directly, but a lot you can only influence. And it doesn't even tell you what all of them are!
That's why having someone who knows what they're doing for SEO can make a lot of difference. Would you rather be on the first page of the phone book, or lost somewhere near the end?
How Does Consulting Start?
You contact me and we talk back and forth for a bit. I become your business's new best friend.
That means I want to get to know a lot about your business. What you do, what you want, what you're good and bad at, who you look up to.
I also look at your competitors and figure out the same things about them.
This is the first phase, called "market research." It's really important to know everything possible about your business and the world it exists in.
During this period, I'll be running different "audits" and "assessments" on your business, too.
You can think of these as worksheets that I'll be filling out, which help us figure out more information from new angles.
If you took your car into the shop, the first thing the mechanic would do is ask "what's wrong with it?" Then, the mechanic would run their own standard tests to look for more problems themselves.
That's basically what all the different audits and assessments are—tests to look for more problems, and more opportunities.
What Happens Next?
Next comes the recommendations—the plans to fix what's wrong.
Think of this like how a doctor would give you prescriptions and suggestions on how to change your lifestyle. "Take two pills a day and don't move your elbow like that for a month."
It's the same thing for a consultant. I'll give you suggestions on what to change, as well as why. The "why" is important so you know exactly what you're doing, so you're not just making changes at random.
Sometimes the instructions can be a bit confusing, or seem a little abstract. I do my best to minimize this, but sometimes it just can't be helped.
If that's the case, I'll also help you put these suggestions into play. I'll stick around and guide you as you make your changes, and help you monitor the results over time.
The whole process is a journey that you and I take together. There may be bumps and turns we didn't expect at the start, but with patience and teamwork, we'll get to the end together, and be ready for an even bigger journey next time.
Let's Start Today
I hope you have a greater understanding of what consulting means now!
All you have to do is get in touch with me and we can get started right away.
I'm looking forward to reading your message.