10 Strategies Consultants Can Use to Transform Their Clients’ Businesses
Are your small business clients looking to integrate more digital processes and website functionalities into the way they do business?
Many businesses that were once able to survive operating primarily offline and using analogue tools until now, finally understand that if they’re going to thrive in the post-pandemic business landscape, full-on digital transformation is critical.
For many SMBs, the scope of change involved is daunting, which is why web designers, marketers and business consultants are focused on rising to the occasion.
As a service provider who helps SMBs, your mettle is tested during times like these. Your involvement in the process will significantly impact their transition, so you need to make it count.
The good news is, there are tried and tested ways to help your clients digitise their businesses seamlessly.
In this guide, we’ll look into 10 of the best strategies consultants use to help clients make the most of the opportunities to be found in taking all processes surrounding audience engagement, sales, operations, payments and service fulfilment into the online world.
1 – Set clients up with a reliable business management platform
Back in the day, it was challenging to give your clients’ businesses a full digital makeover because of the process’s tasks.
Marketing, payment processing, and other processes required many specific tools and software for clients to run their online businesses virtually.
Today, migrating your clients’ companies online is streamlined through business management platforms, such as vcita.
The vcita xperts resellers’ program allows you to provide services on top of the vcita app, while white-labelling your clients’ vcita accounts as sub-accounts.
You can then use these accounts as jump-off points to provide continuous services to your clients.
This allows you to help clients with their appointment booking systems, SMS and email campaigns, customer relationship management (CRM), invoices, scheduling and payments.
Many of these modules can even be integrated with your clients’ websites, whether it’s as floating buttons for lead capture, sidebar widgets for appointment booking or a full-on customer communication portal.
You can also track your clients’ progress from your xperts dashboard, allowing you to provide real-time support and extra hands-on help.
As a partner in the xperts program, signing up provides vast possibilities that can benefit both you and your clients.
For instance, you can offer training packages focused on lead nurturing and capturing or on CRM and earn 30% commissions on your account sales. The commissions are lifelong, as long as the sub-account keeps paying.
With the vcita xperts referral program, you can empower and educate your clients and provide hands-on support while growing your venture and expanding your revenue stream.
2 – Provide clients expertise on specialised tasks
Regardless of the number of years of experience, your clients have under their belt, some of them aren’t experts in all aspects of their business operations.
Local shops are struggling to make it as eCommerce companies. Their lack of in-depth expertise would make turning their retail store into an online order fulfilment centre challenging and overwhelming.
This is where your specialised skills for targeted tasks come in handy.
If you offer marketing consultancy services, you could assess your client’s current branding and find ways to improve it to boost brand visibility as their business moves to the online space.
For instance, you could help clients set up a Google My Business listing, develop a search engine optimisation strategy to boost search visibility, run paid ads, and establish a social media presence.
Use your expertise to set the foundations of your clients’ marketing and other operational needs. This streamlines the transition process as clients digitise their brick-and-mortar business.
3 – Spot process and operations gaps objectively
Your clients’ internal management teams might overlook issues or fail to see existing gaps in their processes because they’ve been working in the same conditions for a long time.
As a consultant, you can offer a new perspective that isn’t coloured by the culture, relationships, and “standard” methods within your client’s business.
This allows you to identify core problem areas and issues quickly and recommend the right solutions and improvements.
After all, it’s not enough that your client’s business identifies existing problems.
They need to know what to do to address and improve those issues, challenging for an insider to spot.
For example, you can help clients map out their customer journey to visualise the story of their customer interactions.
A customer journey map helps your clients see their business from their customers’ perspectives, identify stages in the customer journey where your clients’ customers drop off and gain insights into common customer pain points and how to improve them.
Tools such as Custellence offer highly-intuitive customer journey mapping features that help beginners create maps with minimum effort.
The app also lets users share customer maps with their teams easily, encouraging cross-functional teamwork and engagement and helping businesses become more customer-centric.
Additionally, your fresh pair of eyes combined with your expertise helps you foresee potential challenges that could hold your clients’ companies back as they digitise their business.
4 – Refine the client’s online marketing initiatives
Online marketing is a whole different playing field from traditional or offline marketing.
While the two have similarities and share some basic principles, online marketing requires specific strategies and tools to succeed.
If you offer online marketing consultancy services, small business owners can benefit from your proficiency in conceiving and optimising your clients’ acquisition pipelines for digital spaces.
You can develop winning strategies to help them communicate and promote their business online for successful lead generation, customer engagement, conversions, sales and eventually, a high volume of referrals from happy customers.
Your experience in various industries and sectors also allows you to help clients find opportunities within their business, such as bringing the company up to speed online with visual content.
You can assess your clients’ current business model and refine or help them adopt a different model that will best support their online business operations.
In a nutshell, you can help clients create an online marketing plan, implement it, and assess and optimise their marketing performance.
This allows your clients to achieve their marketing goals and, in turn, drive online sales.
5 – Bring clients new resources and skills
Business owners and their teams run and maintain operations on top of moving an entire brick-and-mortar store online. This makes achieving an effective full digital transformation challenging.
This is where you come in. Because you don’t need to deal with the company’s day-to-day tasks, such as maintaining equipment and supplies, you can focus on other critical aspects of the transition process, like performing a thorough PESTLE analysis.
For instance, you can concentrate on helping clients refine aspects of their operations in a digital setting so they can run more efficiently and gain their expected results.
You provide the expertise your clients need (and might not have) to go through the digital transformation process seamlessly and successfully.
Additionally, your experience working with many clients with similar issues means you have many processes, technologies, and tools in your arsenal.
This allows you to provide the specialised skills, deliver analyses, and give the tailored solutions that your clients need.
6 – Serve as additional proficient workforce
Many issues affect a business’ performance and efficiency and, ultimately, sales can get buried under daily workloads, mostly because companies don’t have enough workforce to focus on these aspects.
Besides focusing on the day-to-day operations, SMBs also often reprioritise their employees’ core job responsibilities for new projects, which means staff gets pulled away from their primary functions and roles.
However, employing someone new doesn’t always make sense for the business (financially and operationally), especially for one-off and short-term projects, making hiring consultants a great solution.
Consultants can serve as temporary but highly-skilled employees for company projects, programs, or specific processes, such as marketing and sales, and transitioning from a brick-and-mortar to an online store.
Since consultants don’t work as full-time employees and you’re only hired when you’re needed, it’s often a lot less costly to work with you short-term than for a company to hire someone new.
Also, since your work’s nature requires you to switch around various companies often, onboarding you is easier since you’re used to a quick learning curve. Your clients won’t need to pull their staff away from their actual work.
7 – Audit the client’s business operations and processes
Maintaining effective and efficient business operations and processes is vital to a company’s success.
However, small to medium businesses often lack the ability or time to assess their core operations to determine their health. For instance, some of the commonly overlooked aspects of operations, especially for companies new to online marketing, can be automated sales outreach campaigns.
Sales and marketing teams can miss optimising sales campaign messages or spot ineffective elements in their messaging because they get buried in dealing with more pressing tasks.
They could also lack the time or even examine their processes and implement improvements and fixes properly.
As a consultant, you’re not saddled with the tasks your client’s sales and marketing teams have, allowing you the time and focus, along with your expertise, to properly audit your client’s processes and operations.
Working with SMBs lets you share the expertise and tools required to conduct comprehensive and objective assessments of your clients’ businesses. This allows you to carry out audits effectively.
8 – Guide clients in making strategic business decisions
Company owners need to make crucial decisions that could make or break their business.
Some of these critical decisions include restructuring, making high-level personnel changes, pursuing new products or services, and expanding their brick-and-mortar store online.
Your role as a business consultant allows you to take an objective look at your clients’ best options and help them weigh the pros and cons.
While business owners tend to let their emotions get in the way because they feel strongly about their businesses, being an outsider allows you to be more straightforward and analytical.
For example, to help clients ensure they get a good ROI on new products they want to pursue, you can guide them in setting up a market research process to assess the product’s demand, identify the target market, etc.
Introduce tools such as ProProfs that lets users create market research surveys easily using the customisable templates or build a survey from scratch.
Users can add their branding, adjust answers and questions, and customise a survey that meets the marketing research needs.
Marketing surveys help your clients capture necessary customers information to develop and launch products with good ROI potential.
Use your experience with businesses you’ve worked with that are in the same boat as your current clients. This can help you find the best approaches and predict how your current clients’ decisions can lead to particular outcomes.
9 – Prepare clients for long-term growth
Every business aims for long-term growth, but this requires extensive planning from the get-go to strategise how to achieve this future growth.
With your industry experience and management consultant skills, you can help your clients’ businesses move from the physical to the digital world and set the foundations for scalability and growth.
You can train and teach your clients’ employees some of the essential skills required for online business operations, whether in specific marketing, sales, management, and other processes.
Your business consulting services can help your clients’ businesses start fresh or at least get a running start as they transition to the online space. You can also help them map out a course for success and gain sustainable future growth.
10 – Offer a variety of consulting services
One of the advantages of being a business consultant is that you can offer customers several specialised processes and tasks expertise, depending on your skill-set and experience.
While it’s crucial as a consultant to focus on specific areas of expertise, having a range of business advisory services allows you to cater to a broader set of clients.
After all, if you have the proficiency, tools, and technology, you can tailor each of your clients’ service packages to their unique business needs and budgets, from helping clients establish brand development strategies to automating specific marketing workflows.
Here are a few advisory services you can offer to transform your clients’ businesses and help them grow.
Business operations consulting
There are various consulting service subcategories within the business operations field.
As long as your clients’ companies are in areas that you have experience in, you should be able to help them become more nimble, lean, and responsive, and successfully adapt to market trends and operations transitions.
With your services, you can help streamline your clients’ business operations, saving them time and resources so they can focus on thriving and growing their companies.
While SMBs don’t typically start with huge investments, smart investing will help them place their money in the right places and grow in the long run.
Offering your clients investment consulting services can help them avoid making uninformed and lousy investment choices that can potentially ruin their company before their businesses even had the chance to grow.
Offer a service that guides your clients in making the best investment choices and help them make well-informed decisions that will set them on the right track.
A robust technology stack helps SMBs keep up with competitors and keep their companies on the cutting edge of design, quality, and innovation without hurting their bottom lines.
However, many companies don’t have the IT expertise to find the best tools and software to establish a robust IT ecosystem. If they have in-house IT specialists, they can often be overwhelmed with daily operations and tasks.
Additionally, setting up an effective technology infrastructure requires a good understanding of the business’ needs, processes, workflows, and even gaps that the right software and tools can help address.
With your technology consulting services, you can make it easier for your clients’ businesses to determine their needs and find the right technologies to address those needs.
Complying with regulations can be expensive and time consuming for businesses. Any mistakes and compliance errors can lead to costly fees.
Your expertise and experience in regulatory compliance can help your clients adhere to applicable regulations properly and avoid potential violations while ensuring that the process doesn’t hurt their business’s bottom lines.
Whether you’re moving your clients’ brick-and-mortar business online or if you’re trying to improve their online business operations for better efficiency, the strategies here are meant to make the process more seamless.
The SMBs that survived 2020 are hopefully beyond the point of imminent danger of going under.
Now is the time to help them implement new processes so they can thrive into the decade ahead.