When I meet new businesses for the first time and we are sounding each other out to establish if we should work together, I’m often surprised how important it can be that I have a working knowledge of the sector in which they operate. Hence the question.
As it happens, I’m in the fortunate position of having spent 25 plus years in corporate finance and have had to investigate and understand businesses in almost every sector, to appraise their suitability for a loan (and more importantly for a repayment!). Since starting Corve Consultancy Limited, I have advised over 100 businesses across a dozen or so industrial and commercial sectors and actually, yes I do know a bit about plastic injection moulding!
But I never consider this to be too important. I’m not called into businesses to discuss technical production details but to work on business strategy; strategic marketing and marketing communications. These are fundamental issues to any businesses – but seldom have any great variance between businesses. In fact when I’m delivering seminars on these subjects, I often use my pal Matt, the Prestbury window cleaner, to exemplify how what appear to be quite complex issues apply to every business – large or small.
I’m sure there is great comfort for Owner Managers to know that their chosen business to business marketing consultant does in fact have a good working knowledge of their sector, but in the long term it will be my ability to work with them on product offerings, market selection, competitive positioning and communications that will win the day, not my intimate knowledge of the Negri Boss Canbio range!