Translating Consultant Gobbledegook

New entrepreneurs need start up advice in simple, direct language.  Not consultant speak intended to confuse and impress.  They have enough problems, with all the B/S they get from government agencies (who nothing about the subject), vendor marketing pitches designed to part them from their start up cash.

The last thing start up entrepreneurs need is the confusion coming from consulting speak. All those pompous words in garbled messages. Consultants aim in life is making you (and the rest of us) feel stupid. They trot out a bunch of confused statements, presented with such authority the gullible just fall into their trap.

If they can pull the witchdoctor trick you (we) will be milch cows for life.

A typical example of this is Cayenne Consulting’s Eight Business Processes Every Startup Must Have.

In my  opinion these aren’t processes at all – they’re strategies.  But then what do I know.  I’m not a business consultant – just a businessman with who prefers plain speaking.

Here’s my translation of the message which you can read further down the page.

  1. Don’t waste your cash – it’s the only thing that’ll keep you in business when times get tough.
  2. Work out a business plan – simple to start with and develop it as you learn while you go
  3. Decide on how you’ll deliver to customers and learn to explain it in simple, direct terms.
  4. Forget outside investors – you ain’t going to get any.
  5. If you plan employing people make sure they earn you more than they cost.
  6. Use software you can understand, and manage yourself.
  7. Collecting cash is number 1 job, every day.
  8. Be available to customers 24X7.

Here’s the original version:

1 Manage your financials and physical assets. I’m continually amazed at the number of entrepreneurs who go for months into a new business without really keeping a formal record of money spent or assets acquired. Use a simple accounting tool like QuickBooks, get away from co-mingled funds, and you have the first business process you need.

2 Develop your business plan. Write down the key elements of your business plan very early, and keep it current as things evolve. This will include the first version of many critical processes that can be split out later, including market opportunity, requirements, product definition, business model, sales process, and organization.

3 Product development process. Even if you are doing the work yourself, you need to document requirements, features, metrics, and milestones. If you are contracting or outsourcing, this is even more important. Otherwise you will find yourself a year later being no closer to a product that you were yesterday, with no idea why.

4 Funding process. Unless you are bootstrapping everything, you need to have a clear plan on what networking and documents are required to get to friends and family, angel investors, and institutional investors. Measure yourself against a researched plan, or your “out of cash” brick wall will be looming before you know it.

5 Manage human resources. At this stage, you should start recruiting, hiring, paying, and training others to help you run your business. In addition to effectiveness and consistency, you now have a myriad of legal and tax considerations to get right. Don’t try this without a formal process.

6 Leverage information technology. Find an IT person you can trust, and plan how you will acquire, implement, and utilize computer technology to run your business. How do you access the Internet, what servers do you need, applications required, databases designed, and backups scheduled? It all has to be written down and maintained.

7 Billing and revenue collection. Whether you provide an online subscription service, or sell products in a store, you need to consistently and economically sell your product and collect revenue to survive. Here you will likely need to train others to help you, so more detail may be required in this process.

8 Customer service and support. Here is another often overlooked area of process that kills many startups, both in cost and time. Don’t assume that you can fix every problem yourself, or that there won’t be any problems to fix. Even if your business is online, people want a contact, real expertise, and quick response.

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Tagged as: advice, Business, business consultants, business plan, business plans, Business process, Consultant, Entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, for entrepreneurs, management theories, simple start, start up, start up advice, Strategic management, translate

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