If you would have asked me ten, five, or even three years ago what it meant to be a consultant, I am sure my answer wouldn’t have been the same as it is today. I can assure you it wouldn’t be a nice answer.
My impression of consulting felt somehow pretentious; that it meant delivering flashy PowerPoints filled with exotic words like “low-hanging fruit” or “cash cow”, and that it meant creating slide decks telling companies what they already knew – but in a more fantastical way. It meant delivering that nice presentation but then running out the door to blame the company for their lack of success because they didn’t follow the firm’s recommendations.
However, that is not what it means for me today. Not in the middle markets and definitely not with Larx Advisors.
My Impression Today:
Today I can say that being a consultant is having the ability to help organizations during difficult or transitional times. Today I believe that supporting companies means guiding them through a well-thought-out strategy and asking the right questions – helping them find clarity around what they already know. It even means being sad when you leave that company because you left great people and work behind. But at the same time happy because you made new friends, satisfied with a job well done and excited about the new challenges that lay ahead.
Consulting with Larx Advisors means helping companies soar. It also means assisting companies that already know the answer to their problems but have resource constraints to execute corrective actions. It is defined by doing all of this with rolled-up sleeves and being part of their team, by building personal connections that help extract the best of people and aligning individual and organizational goals. It also means spending long hours (sometimes sleep-deprived nights) but energized because we’re surrounded by great people who are fueled with the desire to overcome challenges.
Since I’ve joined Larx, I have supported three amazing organizations. The first was an industry I didn’t even know existed. They were faced with “the problem” of growing in double digits without a budgeting process as well as, limited controls or insight into areas of further opportunities via expansion or cost reductions.
It took us over a month of piling through historical data and talking with every player to build a new budget. We needed to build a budget that not only projected an operation budget by team and business unit but also informed the organization of the probable cash flows, as well as how to help fuel additional growth by focusing efforts on the most profitable areas.
The second engagement, I set up the IMO (Integration Management Office) for a Private Equity backed business that had just acquired a competitor in the Energy Services field.
From there I jumped to my third engagement where I have spent the last 18 months.
These have been the most amazing 18 months of my professional career. I have supported the PM Office with the integration of two companies with a combined revenue of over $650MM while working in tandem with the FP&A team to include synergy tracking as part of the yearly budgeting process, all while helping to improve revenue recognition practices.
Now, what’s next?
I have no clue. But the thing is, I am energized, inspired and motivated now that I know I will continue supporting incredible organizations while working with amazing people that will make the opportunity even more professionally fulfilling.