Scam or The Answer? Management Consulting Firms who call

There is a controversial industry of small business management consulting.  Many have found it to be an expensive scam yet others have found it as “the answer” that they have sought.  Very few small businesses are yet to receive a phone call from such a firm offering a 2-day “business survey” for a nominal cost that will identify savings for you company.  This results in a salesperson arriving attempting to sell you management consulting for $300 per hour per person, travel and other expenses—over $25,000 per week.  Owners who report this as a scam signed the contract before they really understood the cost; owners who are happy had businesses capable of shouldering the cost and had immediate needs.  The quality of these firms varies tremendously and some simple rules will help you make a better decision.

  1. What are your needs?  Do you have an emergency need that must be addressed immediately or are your issues more structural and require a long-term fix?  Can your issues be solved through an intensive couple of weeks work with professionals or are you better off with a long-term relationship?  Do not sign a contract which provides a fix that doesn’t match your issues.
  2. Who is going to do your work?  Does it really make sense to commit to thousands of dollars of fees to a person that you have never met?  If they try to tell you that it does—run the other way!
  3. Did you get references?  Have you checked the internet?  Have you called the references?  (Remember that some companies actually have “shill” references!)  Do your research but most of all, follow your “gut feel.”  Does it seem like this person can help you?

Consulting firms are divided into two groups: those that generate short-term consulting clients and those who develop long-term relationships with their clients. Effective management consulting for small business owners is the development of a long-term relationship between themselves and a competent professional who is able to counsel them in the management of their business. The Institute of Management Consultants recommends that when making the determination as to whether or not to hire a management consultant use common sense—meet the person before committing and make sure that the consultant is in it with you for the long-term.

Are you an Entrepreneur or a Neopreneur?

By Dirk Dieters, Executive Director of The Fremont Group

The term “entrepreneur” has been hijacked!  It has been stolen and unfortunately it is so far gone that it won’t come back.  Over my 20 years working with small business owners there is a disturbing trend among the younger owners—they have never learned how to make a profit.  The merger mania of the 80’s followed by the high tech boom made millionaires out of people who never made money.  Today the term “entrepreneur” is associated with people who had an idea, found a backer with a lot of money, created a level of sales volume and hype, and then made their money by being bought out.  Compare that to 100 years ago.  In 1912 President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in Columbus, Ohio. 

The great mass of  business is of course done by men whose business is either small or of moderate size.”  These people he called entrepreneurs.  He went on to say that this man is “in no sense dangerous to his community, just because he is an integral part of his community, bone of its’ bone and flesh of its’ flesh.  His life fibers are intertwined with the life fibers of his fellow citizens.”  These businessmen are “satisfied with a legitimate profit.”

These businessmen were the builders of our communities.  Generally their objective was to made a good living and pass the business opportunity on to their children.  A business run with the objective is run very differently from a person who is focused upon an “exit strategy” that involves a big pile of cash regardless of the profitability of their venture.  This shift in focus has destroyed the fabric of our communities and is resulting in less successful small businesses.  For the first time, 2014 saw more businesses close than businesses being created.  Fact is—if by today’s definition you are an “entrepreneur” who is planning to make their money by selling out, The Fremont Group is not for you.  And since the new definition isn’t going away we need a new word.  We have created the word—neopreneur.  Whatever is old is new again.

The neopreneur supports his or her family from the profit of their business.  They understand that their chances of being bought out with a big payday are about the same as winning the lottery.  They may not be passing the business on to their children and they have an exit strategy but their focus is to make money now.  The Fremont Group wants to work with neopreneurs.  The fundamentals of profitability have never changed but the tools have improved them.  We create systems, procedures and controls that make your life better.  We believe that there is only one reason for your business to exist—to make your life better.  If you spend your day looking to raise millions of dollars you aren’t spending your days trying to make money.

Give us a call.  As a non-profit you will be amazed at the results that can be obtained from a very reasonable investment.  303 338 9300

Managing Working Capital

The Fremont Group would like to share a NYT article about non-bank sources of working capital – the cash needed to run your business while wating for invoices to be paid. New online lenders are proliferating, often extending credit based on invoiced revenue. One online lender we support is The Finance Store. Bank loans cause you to lose time and waste effort filling out miles of paperwork and then they leave you hanging on for a decision. Online lenders are much more flexible, leaving you to use your time most effectively – running your business.

The Cost of Not Seeking Help

On TFG’s Linkedin page, we recently commented on a kickstarter campaign which crashed and burned violently. Worst of all, the project could easily have been a success if only a few key actions had been taken.
Summary: The project was an affordable espresso machine for the home market. Founders just wanted to crowd fund a small production run of 50 units to be made by hand. In pricing the product, the founders discounted their labor to zero. When posting their project, they did not restrict the number of units which could be ordered. In the end, they found themselves on the hook for producing 2000 units. The project collapsed because the cost of creating and perfecting a factory production process was too high. No units were ever shipped.
Their key failing was not seeking advice on their plan from trusted advisors. At the outset, it would be easy to see the project could easily spiral out of control if demand exceeded the 50 units which could be produced. Thus exposing the project’s weaknesses before anything negative happened.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, there’s no excuse for this type of oversight. If you want an honest assessment of your business or strategy, schedule a free webinar with TFG. We’d love the opportunity to earn your trust.

Thanks to All Our Readers TFG is Rising on Google

The Fremont Group is proud to announce we have risen to page 2 of Google search results. This is great news for all the businesses in need of trustworthy outside help to boost their bottom lines. Being easier to find makes it easier to fulfill our goal: making top notch business consulting available at less than $10,000 per week on-site.

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Leadership Workshop for Your Company

Focus your company on attainable results

The Fremont Group is offering to business owners an opportunity to focus their company on attainable results. We will work with the owner to determine their goals and develop a financial and operational roadmap to achieving them. We then host your key people in two half-day sessions to get their “buy-in” to the implementation. We then follow up with you and your staff to facilitate the plan. The end result can be the development of a company Leadership Team that practically runs the business for you!

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Estimating in the Twenty-First Century

Most business owners have inherited their estimating program from past use, utilize “fudge factors” in costs, make no attempt to actually tie their estimating to their Profit and Loss Statement. If you want to run with the big dogs you have to get off the porch. It is not enough to simply buy a fancy estimating program if you want to achieve top quintile results as those programs cannot be customized to the real needs of your company.

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We’re not from the government but we ARE here to help!

The Fremont Group is a non-profit organization with the mission to support small business owners.  Persons who are familiar with SCORE, an agency established by the SBA to do much the same, is therefore familiar with us—with one difference.  The Fremont Group can stay with you and provide much more intensive assistance than SCORE.  To meet us, try a customize webinar.  Contact us and together we will pick an issue.  The issue could range from sales and marketing, to operations, to employee productivity, to cash flow forecasting, to creating and using your budget.  Then we will develop a webinar customized for you to address this issue.  Like what you hear and we can come in for a day and do a Business Assessment creating an Action Plan to take you to your next level.  Best of all—the webinar is free!  We want to help you—let us!  Give us a call at 303 338  9300 today to talk about it—talk is cheap!