I meet lots of business owners. They may be highly gifted, but in one sense they are simple souls. They are in business to make money. That means profit.
We who are business owners but who advise other businesses need to remember this. I always try to remember that I am in business to make money too. I am one of those simple souls.
When I had some additional training a few years ago I remember that there was a great deal of jargon involved in understanding how to be a management consultant and especially someone like me coming from an accountancy firm background. My training talked about such things as ROI, lead generation, cash accounting, conversion rates, list brokerage, pull marketing, push marketing, audit trail, conceptual thinking, risk management, thinking outside of the box, accrual based accounting and Sarbanes-Oxley. Gosh, what a list!
The average person running a small business is not interested in hearing jargon from me or anyone else. She will not know what many of these words mean. Heck, there are a few I have to think about myself, and I never understood what “thinking outside the box” meant if it was anything different from “lateral thinking” (I never really knew what that meant either). Actually I think using the words “thinking outside the box” should be an arrestable offence punishable by a jail sentence of not less than two years; it is so annoying and meaningless.
Improving a business is about increasing profit, which means more sales, and managing expenses so as to have more money with which to enjoy life and to save or spend on useful things. We may know the jargon labels, but let’s not blind our customers with science (there’s another cliché). Let us concentrate on keeping it simple so that our business customers are not distracted by our language. They need our help, not an earful of buzzwords.
Then again, even “management consultant” which I once trained to be is one of those words. Consultants are seen to be people who take your money to increase their profit at the expense of your own.
Definitions of consultants:
- A know-all charlatan from outside your organisation
- Someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time, and then keeps your watch
- Someone who comes in to solve a problem and stays around long enough to become part of it.
Practical hand on help is what business owners need from service providers. They don’t want to hear jargon. They don’t want to be told they have a problem they already know about. They don’t want to be told what to do. They may need some practical training.
I fix tax problems. I tackle wasteful spending in client’s businesses. I know other people to bring in to deal practically with increasing sales, or meeting ‘Elf and Safety requirements or whatever.
What everyone wants is more money. Let’s help them get it. It’s not rocket science. But there’s another expression which should bring a prison sentence of at least eighteen months. How do you feel?