What Happens in a WESST Consulting Appointment?
By Amy Lahti | July 18, 2013
One service WESST offers to small business owners is one-on-one consulting. Whether you have the beginnings of an idea for a start-up, or have been in business for thirty years, we can help you with information and tools to help you create strategies, solve problems, and move your business forward. Here are answers to some common questions about WESST’s consulting services.
I have an idea for a new business. How can WESST consulting help me get started?
We recommend that all entrepreneurs, regardless of their past experience, financial resources, or business idea, start with a plan. A business plan is the most important success tool an entrepreneur can have in their toolbox. A complete, well-developed plan not only allows you to test the viability of your idea, but gives you a blueprint for operating your business. WESST has some great resources on our business plan samples and tools page to help you get started. We also have a class, the Business Plan Working Group, which takes entrepreneurs through an eight-week process of developing and refining business ideas. We highly recommend the class to new entrepreneurs, as it is practically a “mini-MBA” that will teach not just how to write a business plan, but how to market, manage, and grow your small business.
We are happy to consult with start-up entrepreneurs about business plan development. It helps if you come to us with answers to a few of our most common questions, including:
- What products or services will you sell?
- What experience do you have in this industry?
- Where are you planning to locate?
- Who will be involved in management?
- Are you going to need money for start-up and/or operating expenses? Where do you think that money might come from (savings, friends/family, loan)?
In your consulting appointment, your WESST consultant can provide resources on how to set up your business, get licenses and permits, and where and how you might be able to access start-up capital.
I own a small business. We are facing some challenges and need some assistance. What kind of problems can WESST help me solve?
Over the years, WESST consultants have helped many New Mexico entrepreneurs with many different challenges. We cannot provide tax or legal advice (although we can provide referrals to tax and legal professionals), but we can help with general accounting, human-resources, marketing/sales, organizational, and leadership issues. We can offer resources and tools on everything from good bookkeeping practices, to organizational structure, to succession planning, to social media strategy. Even if you are not sure what the problem is, but you just know you’re not getting the results you expect from your business, come in and talk to us. In your consulting appointment, your WESST consultant will ask lots of questions to get to know more about you, your product or service, and your business’ structure. It may take several appointments to fully explore the problem, but working side-by-side with you, your consultant will help diagnose your problem, and recommend some solutions. Most importantly, your consultant will teach you how to spot trouble areas and address them, empowering you to become a knowledgeable and effective owner.
We want to continue to grow and expand, but we want to be smart about our growth. How can WESST help me?
Many entrepreneurs get through the stressful “start-up” phase, and instead of relief, find on the “other side” new challenges confronting their successful business that are just as scary as any start-up problem! If that sounds familiar to you, don’t worry – WESST consultants can help you create a strategy and a plan for evolving your business into the maturity phase, and beyond. We believe in a “strategy first, tools later” philosophy, and counsel owners to put time and effort into developing a strategy for smart growth before leaping into new opportunities or expansion. Your WESST consultant can help you with strategic planning, competitive analysis, organizational development, financial forecasting, and other projects that will help you grow your business the smart way.
I want to make a consulting appointment. Who do I contact?
Call the WESST office in your region (check the map at this link http://wesstlivecopy.flywheelsites.com/contact) or fill out the Business Assistance Request form. Your inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate person at WESST, who will contact you back within one to two business days.
About the Author
Amy Lahti brings nearly 15 years of experience working for small and large companies to the WESST team. Her expertise spans a wide range of areas including strategic communications, marketing and sales, training and development, and social media. She graduated from ENMU in Portales with a B.S. in Communications/Journalism, has an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University’s Global Campus, and is certified as a Professional of Human Resources (PHR).