6 Signs Your Association May Need Consulting Expertise
Regardless of the size or focus of your association, you’ve likely experienced a situation in which you didn’t have the expertise required to tackle a goal in the most effective way. Eventually, most of us encounter situations that could benefit from professional consulting expertise. But how do you know when your association has reached that point? Here are six signs to look for that indicate bringing in external consulting expertise might be right for you:
- Your association is losing relevance in the marketplace. Is your association experiencing increased competition? Does a once-heralded value proposition no longer appeal to your audience? Are strategic plans failing to make it to execution? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, your relevance in the marketplace may be at risk. An experienced consulting professional can help analyze the marketplace, determine your association’s place in it, and most importantly, create a plan for increasing relevance and minimizing risk and further decline.
- You need unique expertise. It’s a fact, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t be experts at everything. Even the most seasoned team members occasionally face new challenges or endeavors for which they’re unprepared. Maybe you’re launching a new product or have a need for detailed market research. Outside consultants, who specialize in these offerings, bring subject matter expertise and often offer solutions that far exceed their cost.
- A tricky problem requires objective insight. Sometimes even the most effective volunteer-staff teams get stuck. Partner practitioners who bring an external strategic perspective can unpack and dissect a problem in new ways to help bring a group to consensus. Exposure to different association world projects and experiences allows consultants to see a challenge in a different way from the core team and make effective, actionable recommendations that drive decision making and change.
- Revenue diversification is a priority. If dues-based revenue is your organization’s primary source of revenue, it’s time to explore additional revenue streams that boost both fiscal health and customer value. Developing a business plan anchored with measurable metrics increases opportunities for success. An external consultant can work with your staff to fully understand all possible revenue opportunities and create the business plan needed to allow your association to reap the financial benefits.
- You’re dealing with a micromanaging or dysfunctional board. Even the most experienced leaders have room for improvement or the need to occasionally hone their skills. External leadership development can elevate a board’s effectiveness, encourage the right governance conversations, and result in the most actionable and mission-based strategic agenda for your association.
- It’s time for a reality check. As a wise man or woman once said, what has worked in the past is not necessarily the best predictor of future success. An occasional outside perspective provides a refreshing injection of reality. All teams, both corporate and nonprofit, run the risk of complacency or dependency on “what we’ve always done”. But depending on the past as your success predictor can be dangerous territory. Don’t trade innovation for comfort, consult the experts to stay at the top of your field.
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