What happened when I hired a consultant?

Around 1998, my retail business had been operating for 5 years. It was successful, debt-free and things were running pretty well. I had created a complete systems-based operation, built a team of people to run it and was generating a decent profit. Yet, I knew we had issues that were limiting us and I needed fresh eyes to look at my business.

I hired a well-known consultant and had her come in for a 3-day session. After she spent her time with me she provided me with a report that outlined issues, suggested solutions and prioritized action items. Me not being one to take the easy road, took her suggestions to the furthest solution and remodeled my entire store. Costly? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

The results showed up immediately (well, after a few bugs were worked out) and the next year our sales were up 30%. And not only that, but sales went up double digits for each of the next few years. And later–the pièce de résistance–I sold my businesses for an amount that ranks it in the highest percentage of all businesses in my industry (and they sought me out, I was not looking to sell).

So, what is the difference in between a coach and a consultant?

Coaching is what it sounds like. Picture a 10-year old kid who wants to play baseball. She’s thrown the ball with dad, has some raw skills and joins the local little league. The team has a coach and their job is to bring the best out of a player. They see a person’s skill set and guides them to the correct place on the team. They hold a player accountable, make sure players maximize their skills and may suggest additional training to maximize performance.

A coach brings the best out of you, helps you function at a higher level and eliminate personal obstacles preventing you from moving forward.

A consultant is a professional who provides professional or expert advice or services in a particular area. Basically they do something for you, not teach you how to do it. Picture an 1800’s western town with a sheriff unable to fulfill all the obligations the job requires. When the sheriff is unable to see or fix the problem, they bring in a hired gun. The hired gun has a skill set the sheriff doesn’t and solves a problem. And in the process they train the sheriff how to deal with future issues through various solutions.

A consultant teaches and trains you in things you did not know, brings skills and experience to your project and may complete specific tasks to achieve your goals.

Defining success?

Although not always said aloud, virtually everyone’s definition of success includes two words; profitable and sustainable. If a business does not generate profit it will eventually fail. If it does not use systems with personal accountability for results it will lack operational efficiency and consistency, incur greater labor costs, limit scalability and reduce future value-in short it will not be sustainable. And for those who go beyond working alone, a business must assemble the correct team of people it will at best struggle, and at worst, cease to exist.

Am I the person to help you?

If you are going to hire a consultant or coach it is important you do due diligence on the them. Although impossible to guarantee, doing research on a person will go a long way toward insuring a solid return on your investment and a good experience. Some important things to evaluate are:

  1. Competence – does the person have the skill set and experience to help?
  2. Integrity – are they a person of character and be trusted to work in your best interest?
  3. Results – does this person have a personal record of success?
  4. Reputation – does the person have a solid history that associates and clients can attest to?

Jack Groot

Over a 25+ year period I created, owned, operated and sold multiple businesses. During that time I also enjoyed consulting, training and coaching start-ups, chains and larger corporations. From the successes–and failures–of this experience, I offer both consulting and coaching (full bio pdf here).

My strengths are entrepreneurship, business startup, business strategy, problem solving, leadership and team building, and SOP/systems creation. My sweet spot is to help budding entrepreneurs plan and launch a business, help business, help existing small to medium-sized businesses build leadership teams,  maximize profitability and create systems-based operations and assist business owners on the path to selling their business.

For more information on services, pricing and options, click here.

References

“A good consultant is a good problem solver. One who listens; puts issues in context; considers a wide-set of possibilities and implications; researches similar scenarios and outcomes; and thoughtfully recommends viable solutions. That’s the approach of Jack Groot. An entrepreneur and successful business owner himself, his IQ and EQ are equally impressive. Use him to your advantage.”
Chris Cook
Founder, Fairly Painless Advertising
(Former) Director of Greenpeace, USA
“When Conpoto was an early stage venture we had the opportunity to work with Jack Groot. Much of Jack’s input helped shape our original product offering. He was always willing to spend the time to support our cause and made himself available at a moments notice. Jack was a valuable reference for us on many occasions.”
Matt Lepard
Co-Founder & CEO, Conpoto
It has been my privilege to know Jack for many years as a friend and business colleague. During this time I have found him to be an individual gifted with wisdom and an ability to see opportunity when others see only impossibility. If I were thinking of starting a new business venture, I know that investing in Jack’s expertise and wisdom to determine the feasibility of my idea, would be a very good investment.”
Paul Kuiper
Financial Advisor, Royal Securities Advisors and Investments
“In my own experience in working with Jack, I have found him to be a professional enterprising individual. He is very competent and knowledgeable, and he serves his clientele well.”
Jeff Buckman
Attorney at Law, Buckman, Macdonald, Bauer and Brown, P.C.
I have known Jack Groot as a friend and a business acquaintance for over 15 years.  Jack’s character, integrity and West Michigan business experience position him as a valued business leader and resource in our community. I highly recommend Jack for your consulting needs.
Matt Hoeksema
Senior VP and Chief Commercial Banking Officer, Macatawa Bank
“What has impressed me about Jack is his constant desire for something better. He pushes the envelope in design, services, technology, and culture. At his heart, he’s an entrepreneur. He’s insistent on considering new opportunities, new partnerships, and new platforms. To put it succinctly, Jack doesn’t just “settle.”…I have nothing but the highest regard for Jack.”
Mark de Roo
Professional Business Coach & Consultant, Keystone Coaching & Consulting, LLC
“Jack is a strategic thinker, great asker of questions and giver of insight. I greatly value his mentoring in business and I don’t throw that around lightly. His proven track record as a builder of business, an optimizer of existing business, and adviser to others in business is extraordinary. Anyone who has the opportunity to benefit from Jack’s advisement or partnership going forward in his future will be greatly blessed, I’m certain.”
Shawn Miller
CEO, Perfomance Institute
Owner, Flex Fitness
“I first became acquainted with Jack during his startup, growth and development of his first business over 20 years ago. His work and customer relations were always far above the average leader. He also utilized several key individuals, like myself, whenever he was making new decisions and never acted from his instinct or without consideration of alternatives. He trained and instilled a customer centric team, where being professional and courteous was mandatory. I would highly recommend Jack for any position he desires to approach. Anyone would be proud to have him on their team.”
Russell Scaffede
Owner, Lean Manufacturing Systems Group, LLC
VP Manufacturing (ret.), Toyota Boshoku America
Senior VP Global Manufacturing (ret.) Donnelly Corporation
Graduate, Harvard University
“Jack and I met initially when my family and I visited Holland during summers and holidays. Since we both operated businesses, we had a lot in common. I received many helpful ideas from Jack…and have known Jack to be a man of principle and high character, always accessible and willing to share ideas. I am now retired, but would not hesitate to employ Jack if I had an open position.”
Roger L. Boeve
Executive VP (ret.) Performance Food Group
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Science Museum of Virginia
“Jack…is always thinking of new ideas, new innovations, and working hard at applying them. He carefully analyzes if it is a sustainable practice and then executes very well. I highly recommend Jack as a business partner or as a consultant.
Rob Visser AAI, CLCS
Batory Foods
“Jack has a wide spectrum of experiences that stretch from running and operating successful ventures to mentoring and advising others on how to grow their own ideas and building stronger relationships. Knowing Jack for over a decade, it’s been great to see him consistently care about the people he connects with by continuing to stay engaged long after any initial engagement.”
Aaron Schaap
Founder, ElevatorUp.comWorkTheFactory.com
“One of my favorite quotes is: “There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” (He) instructs with his mind in full gear and his hands in motion, combining theory and practice in a way that sticks. He is a brilliant communicator, a positive, constructive adviser and like Will Rogers, “he never met a man he didn’t like.””
Dan Bolton
Senior Editor, STiR Tea & Coffee Magazine
Owner, Mystic Media Custom Publishing
“Jack is a leader with great communication skills, is a true visionary and is always professional, kind, and generous. By analyzing projects from his client perspective, and with his vast experience He will always come up with the perfect plan to succeed.”
Jim Bruton
Production and Partner Services, eCard Systems