My first consulting contract was signed in 2008 for a large technical corporation looking to integrate an innovative Google-driven framework for eCommerce goods.
My business advisor skills back then were subpar, with limited experience in running companies and just a handful of enterprises I worked with at the time.
Thanks to my technical background, I bootstrapped my first company and devoted my time to management masterminds, thousands of interviews, years in validating marketing techniques, and a focused effort on developing a robust business strategy.
Since then, I’ve worked with over 300 companies as a business advisor, scaling small startups to 7 figures, growing 6-figure businesses to some generating $20M+ nowadays, and handling high-level initiatives for large enterprises.
Transitioning From Digital Consulting
For over a decade now, most of my advisory contracts were focused on tech, digital transformations, marketing strategies, WordPress integration for enterprises. Due to demand (and our partners scaling over the years), I’m solving a lot of problems around recruitment, managing technical teams, handling operations, running successful agencies, building distributed teams, employer branding (to name a few).
I’ve worked with massive tech companies on training courses, banks on financial software, telecoms on delivery platforms, companies in the automotive and aviation industries, digital agencies, and over two hundred mid-sized enterprises in numerous niches.
Most of my regular business advisory customers are agencies within the $1M – $20M revenue mark looking for ways to scale their operations, automate processes, grow their digital presence, bootstrap their content work, hire better talent.
Mario was perfect for me because he experienced exactly the same issues Im facing right now and I look forward to speak with him again as I implement his advice!
Andrea Di RoccoFounder at SOS-WP.it & Dating.Coach
What Does a Business Advisor Do?
Since most of my work has revolved around digital consultancy, I wrote a detailed guide on how digital consultants bring value to SMEs.
Some of the key areas digital consulting provides are:
- Integration of digital tools and solutions for better insights enabling data-driven planning
- Establishing a strategy for successful growth online (through organic, social, email, direct, referral traffic)
- Determining the right technology stack for boosting digital presence (including landing page development, lead opt-ins, digital funnels)
- Review and implementation of digital and content strategies
- Working on actionable channels for partnership development and nurturing and PR opportunities
- Short-term and long-term strategy development and execution
Working as a business advisor, I’m in charge of additional activities around operations, recruitment, management, and strategy (because defining processes and scaling teams are paramount for success).
Some of the leading problems businesses struggle with could be discovered in my long-form analysis of 30+ dangerous business challenges (taught at several universities in North America).
Mario is professional, super responsive and a provided immediate expert guidance and answers in half the scheduled time! Highly recommended.
Iva KobergFounder – Winds+Water
As a result, for the past 3 years, I’ve been focusing on my background as a manager of 50+ at DevriX, co-founder of startups, and a partner in two other companies. Problems I’ve been consulting on aside from digital are:
- Designing a robust and scalable recruitment strategy
- Employer branding
- Managing a growing team
- Scaling operations with remote talent
- Optimizing, designing, and following progress for internal workflows and processes
- Defining KPIs and monitoring results monthly and quarterly
- Refining the digital strategy with all parties involved: staff, partners, vendors, customers
- Establishing new monetization channels with growth strategy in mind
- Evaluating manual labor that could be automated and optimized
Aren’t There Too Many Coaches/Consultants/Advisors?
“Step Into Success Now” created a practical breakdown of the coaching industry across the broad population.
Note: a good percentage of the coaches and consultants out there focus on life coaching or productivity/training which is applicable to each and every individual (not limited to organizations).
So even if 1 percent of the world’s population is looking for a coach, that represents about 76 million people.
With about 200,000 coaches and consultants out there, the average a consultant is expected to handle is approximately 380 clients.
While most consulting and advisory engagements require several hours a month (up to 15-30 hours monthly), even at a rate of an hour per customer, 380 hours a month would be more than double the actual billing capacity of the coach. Let alone the fact that every consultant spends additional time on reviewing emails, presales calls, pro bono work (like content marketing or presenting at schools) which limits their potential even further.
And so many coaches work a day job that develops their skills and enables them to be effective as advisors.
As a conclusion, the consulting industry will keep evolving. Finding the right business advisor with a suitable background and overlapping goals and vision will become easier, leading to more businesses taking advantage of the opportunity.
Mario went above and beyond our expectations in answering our questions on the call and even answering a few short followup questions via private message. Highly recommended!
Steve BlackFounder, Techboomers
Why Hire a Freelance Business Advisor?
A common question I hear at events is:
“Why should I hire a business advisor hourly instead of finding a full-time member in-house?”
Veteran business advisors are not available for full-time employment.
They manage their own businesses and test out strategies firsthand.
Working with a business advisor, you:
- Pay for a couple of hours a month, not 160
- Don’t cover vacation, sick leaves, 401k
- Invest in strategic advice tailored to your business problems and needs
- Tap into over a decade of business experience (in some cases 20+ years)
- Utilize practical strategy tested with dozens or hundreds of other businesses
- Get access to industry data that requires a portfolio of businesses, not a single company
- Receive introductions and warm contacts to media, conference attendees, etc.
- Win free exposure from the advisor’s digital presence (which is a given)
Basically, you’re paying for the expertise, data-driven solutions tested with tons of other businesses, connections, PR, media exposure, partner contacts, discounts, opportunities to automate and scale your ROI. It’s in no way comparable to hiring a single person in-house.
I’ve attended (alone) consulting meetings with 11 stakeholders in a company meeting me for different problems, from marketing and sales through design, database work, technology, business growth, automation, management, delegation and more.
(In fact, that’s a little known fact, companies can bring several teammates together to a meeting).
How to Find The Right Business Advisor
Finding the right consultant or advisor for your business could be a chore. Different advisors focus on different areas depending on their background and interests.
Here’s a video I prepared for prospects asking the same question:
In essence, validate the credibility of the consultant, follow them for a while, see if you resonate with their vision and whether the would be a good fit for you.
If in doubt, reach out and ask.
Or schedule a one-off consulting call to dip your finger in the water.
Clarity is a wonderful service to identify industry experts in an area you need help with (I’ve used it both as an advisor AND as a client). Here’s what one of my consulting clients said:
Quite a good call. Mario bracketed the issues really quickly and then gave me project suggestions that I could understand. I’m not saying I’m slow, but Mario just has a clear way of expressing things, to the point where I’m going to be able to plug things right into my project. I’m finding that Clarity is becoming a kind of board of directors that helps me make smarter decisions *before* I spend money, instead of after.
Paul MacMartinTechnical Writer, 25+ Years of Experience
How Can You Help Me?
The easiest way to connect for a long-term business advisory program is scheduling a Clarity call first. We can spend 15min discussing your strategic problems and ensuring we can align your strategy in at least one area you can execute on right away.
It’s crucial to me that we’re on the same page and my goals will resonate with you, too. Lack of execution is what leads to the stigma around the coaching and consulting industry. Think of free ebooks: how many times you downloaded one, never read the whole book, and left with a bitter taste (or no feedback at all)?
This is why advisory is a pay-to-play game. Your own investment serves as an integral commitment for you to your own business and its growth.
I’ll let you in on a secret in the field.
Business consultants rarely reinvent the wheel.
You’ll rarely hear something you can’t come up with yourself. Except for some connections or extra exposure or tools you can use.
The whole idea of business advisory is to limit the number of opportunities in your head (which oftentimes exceed a hundred different paths to take) to 2 or 3 options you can focus on.
Focus, planning, and execution are the three core pillars. Experienced business advisors design a strategy or two for you, plan the execution process, help you allocate resources, and assist with making this happen.
The goal is to answer: What you should focus on now and align your resources in the right direction.
And if you want to explore the way I roll as an advisor, here are several resources you can use (and accounts to follow) to get some practical insights over the coming weeks:
- My 8-Week Business Accelerator course
- My 126 Steps to Entrepreneurship book on Amazon
- My guides and online resources
- Guest posts and interviews on Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and many more
- My LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts
Working with a business advisor is a long-term game. Make sure you do your due diligence and touch base when you’re ready to scale your business.