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The Value of “Right-Sizing” Advice

The Value of “Right-Sizing” Advice

This blog was provided by Tracey Zehl, Partner, Grant Thornton LLP.

This blog was provided by Tracey Zehl, Partner, Grant Thornton LLP.

For many small businesses that seek to expand, there is an inflection point at which they need to do something to open their future. That something will be different for each business. For some, it’s the need to quickly expand the number of employees to keep up with demand. For others, it’s opening or expanding a facility to increase production. Whatever the something is, the common denominator is that it requires additional organization complexity that needs to be managed. To manage, the business may need to introduce new operations or processes or bring in new technology.

The good news is that solutions are available; the bad news is that too often off-the-shelf solutions are scoped for larger and more well-resourced operations, and customized options require knowledge that a smaller business likely doesn’t have in house.

Getting the right help

For many small businesses, bringing on a consultant to support a critical initiative can seem like an extravagance. However, bringing in someone with the right experience can provide the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver a project and provide capacity that may not be available internally. The upfront expense of bringing in the right support is an investment in getting things right the first time and avoiding costly false starts that aren’t strictly necessary for future success.

Recently, we supported a not-for-profit client in overhauling their technology strategy and introducing more automation to reduce repetitive and manual tasks that took away time that could have been spent delivering services. While they understood that they needed to do something, they didn’t have the ability to navigate the process on their own. After working closely with them to understand their needs, we were able to support them in scoping out their project and in selecting a vendor. We helped a valued client greatly enhance their ability to deliver on their core mission by sharing our understanding of something they hadn’t been through before.

Asking the right questions

Often, an advisor’s value comes in asking the right question at the right time. This is especially important in the early stages of a project when needs are articulated, and the scope is being defined. One common issue we see is when a solution is offered before the problem is clearly understood. For instance, a business with accounts receivable issues may jump ahead to finding the right software before they’ve even begun to audit their internal processes and understand where it’s falling apart. That jumping ahead can waste resources without fixing the problem. A good advisor will help dig into the issue more deeply, reveal the underlying challenges and set the project on the right course.

Finding the right fit

When selecting an advisor—or any partner—ensure that they have experience serving organizations like your own. Someone used to working with large multinationals isn’t as well equipped to work with small- and medium-sized enterprises and addressing the challenges unique to them. One of the most valuable lessons we gathered from the not-for-profit work mentioned above is that every organization, no matter their size, deserves the benefit of good advice.

This blog was provided by Tracey Zehl, Partner, Grant Thornton LLP.

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