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Alloy Allies

Consultants as Catalytic Converters

There is often confusion as to the role of a consulting firm within the parameters of a small business. Pop culture is replete with tales of the swashbuckling, chart carrying MBA graduate seeking to revolutionize the world via the use of pie charts and tedious board meetings. In realty, a strategic partner can take the American small business to the next level. Albeit with the full cooperation of ownership.

Analogies are often the most effective manner to convey a point. Allow me to take you back to high school physics class. Remember our friend, the alloy? An alloy is a substance created from the combining of two or more elements. The classic 1+1=3. The mechanical properties of alloys will often be quite different from those of its individual constituents. You see where I am going here… American small business, often family-owned, with a proud type- A founder resistant to any change may be wary of such transformative catalysts. After all, “I have taken the company this far…”

Let us use the alloy steel as an example. Take the element iron, combine with a touch of carbon and you get a third substance, steel: stronger and with greater rigidity than its elemental derivatives. Add a bit of chromium and suddenly that steel is anti-corrosive and resistant to rust. Fundamentally, its base is still iron, but the value added by the introduction of a couple of strategic partners is immeasurable. The resulting byproduct is better in every capacity and by every metric.

Need more convincing? Let us use shiny Bronze as an example. Take the element copper, add a pinch of tin and voila.

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Now back to the small business owner. Here is the true take-away: The PTA Founder is emotional about his/her business. Its their legacy. As such, objectivity is often skewed. The consultant has a strategic goal: scalability, efficiencies, mergers, expansions, whatever the case may be, he or she is unemotional and disciplined in pursuit of this goal. Back to 1+1=3.

A clear, respectful strategy will satisfy both ends. With steely discipline.

Published By Luigi Rosabianca of Shield Advisory Group


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