We have accepted and adopted the concept of “Virtual Business” in recent years.
– Many companies no longer produce their own branded products. There are specialist sub-contract companies who can take your products from design through to end-customer delivery, and at less cost than the in-house option.
– Customer support services are often delivered by a 3rd party contact centre, possibly even on another continent.
– Back office services can be expertly and efficiently delivered by specialist providers.
– Entire supply chains can be managed by outsourcing to specialist 3P logistics companies.
However, when it comes to management expertise we have been slower to adopt the virtual organisation concept:
A full-time team is usually in place to plan, organise and control specific functions within the company, without external help.
However, business needs change and evolve while experience, expertise, and indeed time, are relatively finite. Business circumstances and situations arise all the time that may require another skill set or “third eye”.
This is where the experienced Business Advisor can bring substantial benefits, both at an overall business level and also across the range of functions. In addition, strategic projects that need additional expertise and focus, not necessarily available within the team, may be better managed and delivered by such an “as required” resource.
Having a Business Advisor, on some form of retainer, with the experience and expertise across the full business spectrum, to bring additional focus and a different perspective to your business can be a very effective and beneficial way to have immediate access to a wide range of management skills and knowledge at a relatively low cost.
Usually the “3rd eye” will bring another insight and perspective to a business. A good advisor is also a mentor; someone to run ideas through and get an honest view based on experience.
Obviously a Business Advisor’s contribution will increase as they get to know you, your business and company culture better.
In my experience with clients this can be a commitment to e.g. a day a week or a couple of days a month. It really depends on the scale needs and budget of the company.
An advisor should also be expected to be available at short notice to work on-site or from their own base when a need arises. With the pervasive use of phone, email, network sharing etc. there is no excuse for being out of touch in today’s environment
Flexibility and honest engagement is key for any advisor; as is a broad range of management experience at high levels.
John O’Sullivan – Business Consultancy
John is part of the Beacon Initiative, Grow Programme Virtual Management Team, which can assist qualifying SME’s to grow through the provision of management expertise that may not be accessible to them currently