Launching a startup isn’t for the weak of stomach. Many startups celebrate their lax (or nonexistent) dress codes and their daily ping-pong rituals, but that’s a decoy; new enterprises face countless struggles, from founders without CEO experience to funding issues to growth that’s too fast — or, often, not fast enough.
By Sona Jepson
Any one of these issues can sink your startup before it even gets started. But with clear communication and an empowered team, your company can rise above the muck and make a real difference, both in your community and beyond.
So how can you turn your scrappy insurgency into a well-oiled machine? Many leaders benefit from a partnership with a consultant, but it also takes open ears and an open mind on your part to really help your business thrive.
Planning for Your Passion
To have any chance at success, companies need dedicated leaders who are emotionally connected to the success of their businesses. But when things aren’t going well, it’s this very emotion that can destroy your company.
Keeping your business alive long term depends on your ability to pivot when changes are needed. Consultants can bring objective neutrality to see what you can’t, making all the difference in your business’s ability to turn on a dime and steer toward greater success.
You, your team, and your consultant should work together to determine your goals and desired deadlines. Be sure to keep your vision for the company’s future in mind so you can prioritize one- and five-year goals as well. Keeping your long-term plans at the forefront will help you decide what choices will achieve lasting change.
A Helping Hand
A good consultant will adjust her services to meet the specific needs of your business, helping you determine the best methods of communicating, addressing current challenges your business is facing, and pinpointing the strengths of your team members.
But how does working with a consultant help you as a business leader? Consultants can teach you to:
- Move out of your comfort zone.
Women business owners often rely on friends, family, and mentors to help them succeed in business. In fact, surveys have shown that 33 percent of women consider close relationships “extremely important” to their business success. But mentorships don’t always work out, for a variety of reasons, and that can leave you unsure of where to turn. Hiring someone who is trained to help your business succeed can feel uncomfortable, but that experience itself can have numerous benefits for you as a business owner.
- Build a team.
Women start businesses twice as often as men, but most of them never hire employees, and their businesses often don’t grow as fast. While issues such as access to capital may be to blame, the right team can help alleviate even the greatest of struggles. While the actual process of hiring falls to you, consultants can help you utilize that team to reach its fullest potential.
- Delegate tasks.
According to a recently published whitepaper entitled “Women Entrepreneurs: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance,” learning to delegate tasks to people you trust is key to long-term business success. The act of hiring a consultant is a form of delegating, and working with a consultant can help you continue to strengthen this skill.
Working with a consultant can be a life-saving move for struggling businesses, and it can help high-growth businesses continue to thrive. Clear communication and confident workers create a business that is flexible, vibrant, and running at maximum efficiency. All it takes is the right guiding hand to get you on your way.
Sona Jepsen is the global head of consultant relations and sales enablement at Fidelity National Information Services (FIS). Her team drives communication between industry consultants hired by mutual clients and FIS’ global sales team.