Estimated Startup Cost : $5K – $10K and upwards.
Mode : Home Based / Office Based / Part-time / Freelance / Full-Time
Franchises : No
Efficiency and effectiveness are hallmarks of profitable companies. Not every company is like that though. CEOs understand that the key to optimal profits in highly competitive markets is to make sure the company runs like clockwork – a well-oiled engine. This is especially so if there are production goals that have to be met regularly. Time is a hot commodity – it is everything in a business. Wasted and under-utilized time translates to millions of dollars in lost revenue for companies each year. The bottom line is – to trim the fat and streamline your company to make it better, faster, more efficient. This is where an efficiency expert comes in.
The Qualities And Role Of An Efficiency Expert
Efficiency experts go by many name : Business Consultant, Business Experts, Management Consultants, Quality Consultant and many more. An efficiency expert evaluates all areas of a company’s infrastructure and processes with the ultimate goal of cutting costs and maximizing productivity.
There is no set, academic or career pathway that one can take to become an efficiency expert. However, there are common factors that contribute to one’s success, no matter what particular niche or industry an efficiency expert specializes in – patience, diligent study and work, persistence and the right network connections. Becoming a successful efficiency expert rarely happens overnight. It is the product of a career lifestyle, a personal dream that drives you to always seek for a better way. While a strong qualification will help, as with many careers, real life hands-on experience and industry-related certification can more than make up for any perceived “lacking” in your academic background. In the end, what matters is your track record. An efficiency expert should ideally have :
- A broad background in business operations and management with a keen eye for detail with the ability to spot potential problems and time waster before they occur. After all, your job may involve understanding the many small problems contributing to a larger operational bottlenecks that ultimately impact a company’s profitability.
- A positive attitude with a passion for working with people – to bring out the best in them.
- The ability to communicate effectively at all levels.
- An analytical mind with a systematic approach to trouble-shooting and problem solving because you will be dealing with a myriad of inter-related issues ranging from human personalities to administrative processes to finance and technology.
- Excellent time management and administrative skills. It IS after all, one of the core issues when dealing with efficiency at your client’s company.
As an efficiency expert, you will work closely with a company – often being stationed on-site – for any given period to carefully monitor how things are done and to analyze what their operational and/or administrative bottlenecks are. You will interact with workers of all levels to get to know their jobs, and if and how their productivity can be improved. Your job is to minimize the steps involved in processes. In a sense, you are a detective looking for answers to the big question : “How can this company achieve more in a more cost effective way”. At the end of your appraisal, your will produce a detailed report to be presented to the management of the company on how operations can be improved.
If you want to break into this field, you’ll need to gain some experience. Applying for an internship with an established local business will give you a starting point. If you’re able to hook up with a business advisor and work with him as an apprentice, it would give you invaluable real-life hands on experience. Business consultancy firm often offer internships or hire entry level positions. See what’s available and apply for it. Take your first few jobs as an opportunity to gain invaluable first hand experience. Be open to opportunities to learn a new skill as they become available either within your organization or outside. You want to expand your understanding of varied workplace cultures.
Never tire of learning and training your mind. Read as much as you can. Listen and learn from established professionals, whether they’re CEO’s, inventors, entrepreneurs or efficiency consultants. Expand your mind and train it to sort out problems. Successful efficiency experts are the ones who think out-of-the-box to come up with solutions to problems.
Startup And Equipment
If you already have experience in this field, then starting out on your own will be a little easier because you would already have established a network of contacts. However, like all new startups, you’ll need to generate interest and put out the word that you’re available to help companies with any issue they may have :
- List your service in your local Yellow Pages, business directory listings, Craigslist, online classifieds and local publications.
- Actively seek informal meetings with friends and business associates to let them know you’re available to help companies with their efficiency.
- Be active on the social network. Offer your help and advice to people who need assistance. Never underestimate the viral power of social media. Participate in forums related to your niche.
- Start a website or blog. Showcase your talents and work history. The larger the readership for your blog or website, the higher the chances you’ll receive job opportunities.
- Offer to hold free seminars or speak on your topics of interest – efficiency, people management, business growth, customer relations and service, positive thinking etc.
- Offer your services free of charge to local charities or non-profit organizations. These can often turn out to be an invaluable way to build your network of contacts. However, don’t do it only for self-advancement. Nothing ruins your reputation more than being perceived as a fake.
- Learn about the businesses in your city or precinct. Get to know the details of their organization, their leaders, their history, product and what makes them stand out from the crowd. Analyze their financial reports and think of ways you can increase their profitability if you were to advise them. Then set up appointments with their management and ask if they’d be interested to hear your recommendations. Don’t worry about securing a project or contract – at the very least, you will make valuable contact with local business leaders.
You can work from home or set up office in a shared office to lower your startup costs. You’ll need a basic office setup that includes :
- Communication infrastructure – phone, computer, printer, fax.
- Internet connection since a lot of your resources and fact finding will be done online.
- Presentation software and equipment – after your investigation and study is done, you’ll need to put it in writing. You’ll need a good presentation software that allows you to create graphs, charts and tables and equipment like portable slide projectors.
- Spreadsheet software – much of your work will include data and data handling. You’ll need to have a spreadsheet software that can allow you to do calculations, sorting and a host of other financial tasks.
- Office supplies
While corporate leaders might hire you to tell them what’s wrong with their organization, they may not actually be willing to listen. You’ll need to be clear from the beginning that you are only offering your professional opinions and advice – commitment to carrying out the proposals are entirely up to your client – so that your personal liability will be kept in check. This is a business where your reputation counts. Fancy advertisements, blogs, websites and your online presence are crucial staples to promoting yourself, but nothing beats a good word from a satisfied client. Do a good job by increasing a company’s productivity and you will be sure that word of mouth will give you lots of referrals.
Recommended Reading :
- Getting Started In Consulting (Weiss; Amazon)
- Million Dollar Consulting (Weiss; Amazon)
- Life Balance (Weiss; Amazon)
- Power Of Business Process Improvement (Page; Amazon)
- Marketing Your Consulting Business (Karlson; Amazon)
- Value-Based Fees (Weiss; Amazon)
|How To Start A Consulting Business Without Being An Expert
Greg Miliates of shares about starting a profitable consulting business or freelance business WITHOUT being an expert, PLUS the 2-part secret to creating a profitable consulting business.
|Value Based Fees
This is an interview Alan Weiss conducted on the main stage of a major accounting convention in Australia where Value Based Fees were discussed and how they rejuvenated Evan’s business.