Case Study: Millions of Dollars worth of Consultancy for Free

Business growth

I've just finished a call with a client, let's call him Michael.

Michel owns a chain of stores in a large regional centre, employing just under 100 people.

Successful, he has been in business for 20 plus years and while it may be easy to rest on his laurels, he is highly aware that the market in his highly regulated industry is changing.  Nearing retirement age, Michel still has a vibrant drive toward his business; it is his legacy

Some of the projects Michael is working on is what to do with an aged workforce and his succession plan. In his overall marketing he is wanting to find out how his customers were feeling about the changes he has made over recent time; this project was particularly top of mind as a competitor is setting up a new business in town and he wanted to really get a grip on how much of a threat it may be.

On our previous calls we had discussed putting together an advisory board, a group of business owners, in his location that could provide some feedback on his business. As his business is something that everyone uses it was a given that they would also be customers. Last month he decided it was time to implement this project. His goal was to have organised and held an advisory meeting by our next call todays call.

The experience of Michael is a wonderful lesson in asking for what you want and a study in human nature.

Michael firstly decided what type of person he would respectfully listen to and appreciate advice from. His criteria was that they

  1. Had the time to participate.
  2. Were successful in their field
  3. Had business acumen, and most importantly,
  4. Were willing

Michael relayed that he was reluctant at first how his request to people would be handled, if they would be keen to participate. He figured he could control 1-3 but not number 4.

Trusting that he could handle the rejection if the "highflyers" he had in mind said no to his idea, he compiled his list, rang them or took them out to coffee.  He targeted recently retired CEO's and business executives from billion (yes you read right) billon dollar corporates along with highly successful Business Owners that had Managers in place and locals.

Were these "types" of people interested? you betcha!  Not only were they interested they were committed with one even flying back home from a personal meeting they had had in the capital city earlier that day to participate in the evening.

It turned out this group of people, having "finished" their careers, were eager to put their skills and experience (that was now sitting on the shelf in retirement) to use.

So in a quiet country pub over a few drinks a round table discussion took place  with Michael's business taking centre stage and particular focus given to his current projects. He learnt what people overseas were doing differently from an ex-global executive, how other organisations are leveraging their aging work force and how each participant, as a consumer viewed his business, and wanted from his industry.

The result - Talent laying dormant coming alive again with a renewed sense of purpose and millions of dollars worth of consulting for free!

How could you use this strategy in your business and recieve millions of consultancy dollars for free?


Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy

Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group

I help SME's gain leads easily without breaking the bank. Talk with me and discover how to spend your marketing dollar and achieve sales using simple, proven, low cost strategies. | SavvySME Members Only Offer - Request your Free Marketing Review Session (valued at $397) & identify the hidden opportunities in your business & put a stop to the expensive leaks in your marketing

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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Great read. Over here in the States, there is an organization called SCORE it is associated to the SBA (Small Business Administration). SCORE is essentially a successful group of entrepreneurs from a range of industries that volunteer to mentor, teach and advise. The SCORE service is completely free for those services (although they offer low cost classes around specific topics as well). I've used that service on a variety of occasions and have enjoyed the outcome each time. I highly recommend it to others in the area. Does Australia have something like that?

Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy , Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at Straight Talk Group

Thanks Jef! I am sure they do, however I believe they are more industry focused, or business advisers by role rather an entrepreneurs. Great for mentoring, though a lot of the value from the set up you are referring to (and the article demonstrates) comes from differing perspectives from outside of an industry and the cross pollination that occurs.