The Consultant’s Curse

by Guest Blogger Michael Harrison

As a business growth strategist I work with big and small companies. I encounter big challenges and small “problems.” Every company faces challenges and bringing in a fresh set of eyes may provide the answers to why customers or clients aren’t beating down your door.

You’re in the office every day. You spend hours in your office or on the factory floor. You’re on the move, running double-time just to keep up. You’re also used to your work space because you see it a lot.

That’s where the problem starts. You’re used to the cracked ceiling. You don’t notice the faded signage outside street-side. You don’t see the opportunity to lower production costs by moving these desks to a spot closer to the production line over there.

It doesn’t matter where I go. London, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney – I constantly run into business owners who don’t see the things that new clients or prospective customers see.

If my wife and I go out for a nice dinner, I analyse the table layout, the lighting, noise level, the quality of the linens and, of course, how tasty the meal. It’s the consultant’s curse. We see the small things that business owners often miss, and whether I’m on retainer or just out for a nice time around town, I notice how this or that business could be made better.

If I see it, customers will see it, too

I went shopping for a few things a month back and the consultant’s curse kicked in as I was driving around the city.

Confusing signage on a storefront made it difficult to tell if that store had what I was looking for. The retail outlet’s website didn’t include a map to the store. The display windows hadn’t been washed in months, giving the store and its wares a dingy look that made me want to drive right by. I figure if that clothing store doesn’t take care of its windows, it won’t take care of me – or at least deliver the level of service to which I’m accustomed.

If I see a dark, gloomy waiting room, your customers, clients or patients see it, too. And it doesn’t build confidence in your professionalism when the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed in 10 years.

You don’t notice the little things because you see them every day. Customers and clients see them because they’ve never seen them before. I see them because it’s what business strategists do – we point out how to improve your business by making big and small changes that have a positive impact on your conversion ratios.

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