The first thing that always used to strike me when i was contacted by a consultant was "why would I need a consultant?" I was was the club, some years we had success, some years were tough but ultimately my bosses were happy and there was no risk of unemployment.
As I went further through my career I learnt that hiring the right people for the right roles meant I could put my focus in the right areas of the business to ensure we maximized success. Quite often though I found I was hiring individuals on later to utilize their skills to plug a different skills gap.
It led me to the belief that my approach was right, round pegs for round holes. what was wrong was that I was having to train and develop these pegs first and fit them into the right holes.
Then came the recession and impact that then had on sales and flow through to our profit. With no realistic prospect of driving the top line it meant that something had to give, this was costs and ultimately like most businesses the payroll. I am not aware of any hotel or leisure business that has stood up to the recession and said they refused to cut costs and not to lose staff. Either by natural attrition and then not replacing them or by much harsher decisions such as stricter management or redundancies.
Now that we begin to shows signs of recovery, many businesses are again looking for growth on their sales lines but are still nervous about employing the resources to achieve this growth. There is certain level of commitment that is needed when starting to employ to deliver growth and challenge which often holds back decisions such as this.
This is where an industry consultant can make a huge difference. Consultants may appear expensive and i guess if you hired them full time to achieve what you wanted then they probably would be! However, that is not how you should use them and the benefits to your business can be massive. This is why?
1) There is no commitment other than that signed by you and the consultant. This can be short or long term or even results based if you both agreed
2) They are industry experts so other than your own business protocols require little or no training
3) They should require little or no supervision
4) They will bring with them an array of idea's, techniques, information and knowledge that can be passed on to not only bring success but lead to long term gains, long after they have stopped working with the business
5) As they are likely to work less days the costs is often far more palatable that if you hired a full time Manager in that role. There is also no holiday, sick or pensions to consider paying
6) Their cost would not have to appear on the payroll line. This is often important as most business leaders see this as a key driver with regional and national Directors making reduction of payroll or productivity scores a massive focus. By invoicing for services an accounts team could choice where to place the cost.
7) They would bring with them potential solutions to other parts of your business that may help solve challenges you have faced in operations etc
8) They are impartial and could therefore give accurate and direct feedback regarding your operations as well as providing the solutions to the challenges. Employed staff are unlikely to offer up their own failings and often spend huge amounts of time and effort covering them up
9) They are able to provide insights into competitors
10) Their work schedules are often more flexible and Freelance staff will work around when you require them in the business
11) Consultants are often branded with no having the same desire to see success in a business as they are not part of the team. What needs to be remembered is that their reputation is built on your success. If they fail with their projects their work dries up. It is therefor in their vested interest to ensure you are successful. So even if for purely selfish reasons (which is rarely the case) it is important they buy into the product and deliver you success
12) Finally.....and probably most importantly, they will pass on this vast knowledge to your teams so that when they leave your team will be set up for success
I used to make the mistake of seeing consultants in the wrong light. World leaders, Governments departments, Large public companies all use them. So should the Hospitality industry! We have seen great change over the past 5 years and so maybe starting to embrace the opportunities that a consultant can give is worth exploring
Project Body UK Consultants
Success is paramount
A Nottingham based Leisure, Fitness and Wellness Consultancy. We aim to provide a innovative solutions and a results based approach to driving success for our business partners.
An awards winning team with over 25 years experience in the leisure and fitness industry within small clubs, hotel based environments and large 5000+ member facilities we have the experience and know how to enable your business to be successful. We have also run our own fitness and well being company for the last 7 years both with the Natural Group and Project Body UK.
We understand the pressures and difficulties faced by a modern health and well being business, let us guide you along the right path.