Long before I ever became an independent business consultant, my father gave me a bit of advice that would cause my business to grow, and would open doors for me that I never expected. He told me, “Treat the janitor with the same level of respect that you would with the CEO because you never know who you might need in the future.” I realized that he did not just mean the janitor, but many of the other positions that people forget about as well.
As an independent business consultant, I found that I spent a lot of time talking with janitors. By giving the janitors extra attention, many of them opened up to me and let me know about different issues that others were not talking about out of embarrassment. I found that janitors were some of the best people to tap for water cooler information that made my job easier. The job of an independent business consultant can be hard enough.
The IT Specialist
By spending time with the IT specialist, I usually found out about issues in the computer system that were not being taken care of due to expenses. These issues were sometimes ones that led to the morale or cash flow issues that I was brought in as an independent business consultant to investigate. Also, once the implementation of changes happened on the IT side, I found that the IT people were less stressed since they were doing extra work for a buddy like me.
The General Staff
Many independent business consultants ignore the general staff in an office. These consultants forget that they are employed to help out all of the workers, not just the owner or CEO. By being friendly, and gaining the trust of the general staff, I usually found that I was able to break the news about changes to them better than their bosses. This made the job easier for whoever was ultimately in charge.
Some people forget that the secretary is one of the most important people around. This is the person who screens the calls, passes the paperwork, and hears everything that goes on. By making friends with the secretary, I usually found that I could gain more information in one conversation than I could with twenty conversations with other people.
As an independent business consultant, you have to remember to be friendly to the accounts payable people. Remember, if they remember and like you, they will not leave your invoice sitting on their desk for weeks. You will be paid faster.
Usually, independent business consultants find that happy owners and CEOs were very free with giving recommendations, and opening doors to other companies. I found that since I treated everyone well, many of the workers recommended me as well to their friends and relatives that owned businesses. Instead of having one line of advertising after weeks of work, I had many more.