Bring in a consultant
Intended to assess the current business state, future goals and ambitions, management consultants can workshop with you to deliver a set of processes and guidelines the business can then apply. Consultants come at a price, but used well can boost business results.
- Know what you are looking for and have an idea of the desired outcome. Generalists are able to address broader business requirements, while a specialist may be required to resolve highly specific challenges
- Ensure the consultant has experience in your industry. And when it comes to challenging issues, ensure they’ve worked with companies similar to the size of your business
- Research their relationships. If you are scoping tech or infrastructure solutions, establish if they have any relationship with or are backed by particular solution providers which may bias their advice
- Do a background check. As with employees, be sure to ask for examples of credentials, previous work and contact previous businesses they have worked with for a reference
- Assess their ability to engage and communicate well. They will be working with your employees and potentially even some of your suppliers and clients so communication is key
- Ask for a measurement plan. Being able to see success in tangible ways is crucial to setting up your consultation for success
Engage with industry experts
Scour industry magazines and the internet for names that coincide with whitepapers or research reports that add value to your businesses. Keep an eye on local conferences, events and exhibitions and get front row seats where you can learn and hear from the best.
Many of these speakers and experts may have an online presence that you can follow as well, including a frequent publishing cycle of reports and research, opinion pieces on platforms like LinkedIn and online learning opportunities like Telstra’s Virtual Events (you can see a wrap up of one on making the most of social here).
Look to industry groups
Becoming a member of small business associations or groups that are invested in the growth of Australian startups and small business can have significant benefits for small businesses and help foster new ideas and ways of thinking.
Some of Smarter’s favourites include the SME Association of Australia, a not-for-profit association established to support a diverse range of SMEs, business owners and entrepreneurs, and muru-D, a startup accelerator powered by Telstra with a mentorship program focusing on taking digital ideas to global markets.
Access local area specialists
If your business is reliant on quickly implementing and applying new technologies, consult regularly with your local Telstra Business Centre. Established with the primary goal of providing information, support and consultation on the vast array of Telstra connectivity and small business product solutions, they are well-placed to provide your business with the advice you need to help save time and grow your business.
Bring on board a mentor
As you stumble across interesting, inspiring leaders, why not approach them and ask them to be your mentor or coach? Keep in mind there is as much to learn from someone who failed as there is from someone who succeeded, so be sure to hear both sides of the story.
Who you surround yourself with is an indication of where you are headed. Access to new perspectives, with the ability to learn from the mistakes of others is crucial to growing a strong and considered business.