How to Find and Vet Expert Small Business Consultants – Mike Gomez, Allegro Consulting

How do experts become experts? Typically, when you think of the professionals in this role, they’ve had years of education and experience, but there may be other qualities you should consider especially when hiring. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Mike Gomez, business growth strategist, and founder and president of Allegro Consulting, who explains how to better find and vet experts in business consulting.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks so much for joining us, Mike.

Mike Gomez.:
Good to be back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gomez.:
How you doing?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s great to see you. It’s great to be back in the studio-

Mike Gomez.:
In the studio.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Although, we are six feet away, we should mention.

Mike Gomez.:
This is good.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
But it’s great to have you-

Mike Gomez.:
I’m vaccinated.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. We’re both vaccinated. That’s right. It’s such a liberating feeling, isn’t it? It really is.

Mike Gomez.:
It is. We’re back, we’re back. Yay.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. Well, it’s great having you back in the studio.

Mike Gomez.:
Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
You had an awesome article on LinkedIn, ASK THE EXPERT. So for those of you that haven’t had a chance to read it, we’re going to be talking about this today. Check it out, Mike Gomez on LinkedIn. So we want to talk to you about this. And my first question, because there’s a lot of people out there, especially right now in light of COVID winding down and people starting to get back to normal. There’s a lot of small business owners, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that are reaching out to experts in the field of culture, in the field of how to grow your business, marketing and advertising, supply chain experts out there, right?

Mike Gomez.:
Lead generating.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Lead generating. That’s a big one. How do I get people to my website and in my front door, and what have you? So, there’s a lot of experts out there. So I’m going to start with the question, what does an expert look like?

Mike Gomez.:
Okay. I have two phrased things that I say over and over again with my clients, and that is you cannot self declare expertise. You can’t just say I’m an expert. That label-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Which is going on out there, right? People come up with a website-

Mike Gomez.:
Way too often it’s happening.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Mike Gomez.:
What I say is that label, that honor, it needs to be thrust upon you by peers, respected peers, others. And when it happens, yes, you can embrace it and call yourself an expert, but not until then. I wrote this article because I’d been approached by a lot of quote-unquote experts. And when I’m vetting them I’m trying to figure out why do you call yourself an expert? Defend it. Give me some backing for it. And to my surprise they struggle with that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. That’s a problem.

Mike Gomez.:
And they go, what? Well, you claimed an expertise. This is a reasonable question. What gives you that title? I ran three marathons. Does that make me an expert in marathon? No. No. Jeff Galloway is an expert in not only marathons, but he’s an expert because one, he teaches others. He wrote a definitive book about how to run marathons. He’s been awarded. He was on the Olympic team. Okay?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
This would qualify him as an expert.

Mike Gomez.:
That makes him an expert. All right? So and also-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
But if you just have a website and you were in marketing and maybe even did marketing for your own business before you sold it, or maybe it went out of business, but you think you know marketing, that does not constitute expert level.

Mike Gomez.:
No. So those three were three of the five questions that I put down to properly vet whether or not you’re an expert or not.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Let’s go through them. Let’s go through the five questions and touch on each one of them.

Mike Gomez.:
So the first one is recognition. You’ve been recognized not just by anyone, but by respected peers. You win the Olympic gold medal. All right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That would constitute.

Mike Gomez.:
That constitutes an expert. You’ve been recognized by your industry through an award, a recognition. Recognition for consistent level of success. The second one I have is Personal Success, but not just Personal Success on its own. It is Personal Success because you’re adhering to a replicable process that you can articulate. Right? I sold fighter jets. I was successful at selling fighter jets because I adhere to a definitive sales methodology and process. So when people ask me, Mike, are you a good, are you an expert in sales? I would say, well, yes. Well, what makes you it? It is because I have two constants. One, $10 billion in sales and two, I can actually define how it is that I won those competitions.

Mike Gomez.:
And I will guarantee you that I can continue that success through the adherence of this process. So an adherence to a process that leads to your success. Three, you can teach it. But not only can you teach it, but those students-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Will learn it.

Mike Gomez.:
Go on to be high-level achievers of success. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Mike Gomez.:
You wrote the book on a subject, all right? You are the definitive author of a book on pediatric cardiology, or-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Or marketing.

Mike Gomez.:
Or the Jeff Galloway book about training for marathons. So, and by the way, let me caveat this one. Just by writing a book doesn’t make you an expert. Because there’s a lot of people who write books and then claim expertise because they wrote a book. That book has to be respected and viewed by the industry which is its end.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And it sounds like it’s really, When you think about it, it’s a piece of all of these things together makes you the expert. Right?

Mike Gomez.:
In my article I tell you, you got to get a yes at least in one of these five questions. At least one. That’s a good starting point. The last one is, and I have to acknowledge, is universities or colleges awarding you a PhD. Okay, that’s exceptional, all right? I took away Masters because too many people have Masters. It’s not exceptional anymore. All right? But a PhD, that makes you an expert.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Hey, let’s switch gears a little bit here. Because while I’ve got you in the studio and I don’t get you in here a lot, so I want to throw some questions at you. You do work with a lot of small business owners, and entrepreneurs, and startups and such. What’s going on out there right now in Atlanta. I mean, we’re shaking off COVID-19, and is it a good time to open up a business right now? Are you working with people that are doing that?

Mike Gomez.:
Oh yes. I mean the innovation continues. That’s never going to stop.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay. But you hear so much about small businesses closing, and our customers going back into stores. Are they actually spending money again the way that they were? And so for somebody that might be listening to this conversation is thinking about it going whoa! Do I have to wait maybe another year until this really passes us by and things are back to whatever normal is, or is now a good time?

Mike Gomez.:
I would say now is a very good time. Now, and I say this with a little bit of caution, all right? I’m one that wants to, I want to slow my clients down a little bit. All right? Let’s do our homework first. Let’s understand the gap in the market that we see and identify, and find out about how we can uniquely satisfy that gap. Right? And not rush into it skipping our homework.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Just because we get so excited about being business owners and entrepreneurs.

Mike Gomez.:
There is an incredible amount of gaps in the market that have happened. Sadly, that’s a result of a multitude of small businesses have gone out of business [crosstalk 00:08:11] as a result of this COVID shut down. They didn’t have the deep pockets and the means to survive this length of time with the cashflow demands, the rent, and all the employees and things like that, so they just shut down. Which means, unfortunately, that those gaps are going to be filled by the larger corporations who had the deep pockets to survive this. But there is going to be an audience out there, customer base who wants to purchase a unique item. Something home built. Something local. And filling that void, there are plenty of opportunities right now for small businesses to come back again. But please do it carefully.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Let me ask you this. What are some of the takeaways from 2020, and even the first quarter of 2021 that we are dealing with COVID? It has changed the way business owners run their businesses and operate. Some have stayed in business because they got really lean and mean, and they said, okay, we’re going to do away with all the wastes, and we’re going to lower the head count. And lo and behold, look, we’re more profitable than we were back in 2019. And maybe even a little bit of help from some of the PPP money that was thrown out there. I’ve spoken to a number of business owners that they said, we might look back on 2020 and say that was the defining moment for our company, that we turned the corner, and we’re profitable. And we’ve never looked back.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I mean, granted out of respect of the people that have lost their lives and the many families that suffered from this terrible disease. That aside, there was a lot of PPP money getting thrown around. There were a lot of people that were doing certain things that, there were a lot of companies out there. I’ve spoken to restaurant owners that said, yeah. We shut down the dining room. We got into the takeout business in a very big way. And thanks to Uber Eats and all of the other, DoorDash and the others, our business just thrived. And guess what? We didn’t have the overhead that a dining room brings on. So talk to us about that. What are some of the lessons learned from your perspective?

Mike Gomez.:
So I spent a lot of time with my clients through this crisis doing crisis management. And one of the things that we quickly, I need recognize, is that we need to lean, and business owners need to get back into being doers not just business owners. They don’t have the luxury anymore of sitting in the leadership office and leading-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Or being home.

Mike Gomez.:
Or being home. They need to be back on the factory floor. They need to be back in the printing room. They need to be back-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. In the dinning room.

Mike Gomez.:
In the dining room putting together the things. You needed to get really lean to survive this. And those who had both cash reserves to survive the period of time before the government money came in and quickly became lean, they’re the ones that kept the lights on and kept serving the audience out there. The customer base out there that still needed them.

Mike Gomez.:
This was a moment for a cleaning, if you will. A Darwin cleaning of the herd. And those who were strong, had well thought out strategic plans, had a clear understanding of what differentiated them in the marketplace, and then focused in on that, and became really lean. They continued serving the customers and those businesses that didn’t, and went out of business and the customers calling going, hey, I need this service, jumped over to the companies that survived.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mike Gomez.:
Now the question here is, and what I’ve now challenged my business owners who made it through this is, you grabbed these customers from these, your competitors. Can you hold them? Can you keep them? Because you need to, if you can, when we come out of this completely your company is just going to thrive. Going to thrive.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And it’s also Important too, for that company that keeps those clients and those customers far beyond COVID, it’s important to not get fat again. Right? And all of a sudden the head count goes back up and the marketing dollars go back up, and the free lunches go back up for your employees, and you turn around and go, wait a minute. How were we doing what we were doing? How were we making a million dollars a month over here in COVID, and it was costing us 200 grand to run it, and now it’s costing a 600 grand and we’re making 900,000? how did that happen? Because it’s an easy thing to do.

Mike Gomez.:
Yes. I remember-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Bad habits are created during good times. Right?

Mike Gomez.:
We talked on a previous interview on here about pilots go into simulators to practice emergencies. And they practice over and over again those emergency procedures in a simulator, so that if it happens in real life, and I think we use the [Tali 00:13:26] example. The bird strikes on the windows and the landing offsets. And then we asked a question, well, what’s a simulator for emergency procedures, emergencies for small businesses? We went through an emergency. And the simulator for small businesses is strategic plan. It is that exercise of taking a company through a strategic planning process and understanding, and narrowly focusing on things that allow you to succeed in lean times, and what you should be doing and what you should be focused on. So it is those companies that had a definitive written strategic plan that tended to survive this.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great. Mike Gomez, founder and president of Allegro Consulting, Business Growth Strategist, Keynote Speaker, best-selling author of phenomenal materials like this. But check out this article for those of you that… ASK THE EXPERT, and it’s really good stuff. It’s essential that you align yourself with the right experts out there. And to your point, if you want to be an expert, make sure that you’ve got these things. Don’t just run out there and if somebody asked you the question, what makes you an expert? Because they read Mike’s article here and you go, I didn’t know you were going to ask me that. I thought it was on my website. So this is all great stuff Mike, and certainly it’s always great having you in here.

Mike Gomez.:
Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s great to hear that your opinion is that this is a really good time to start a small business right now.

Mike Gomez.:
It is. There’s tons of gaps to be filled.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
There you go folks. You heard it from the expert right here.

Mike Gomez.:
Do it right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And he’s Atlanta based and he knows Atlanta. So by the way, if there’s some of you out there that need a good consultant on your side and in your corner, whether you’ve been in business for a while, or you want to go into business, there’s nobody better out there than Mike Gomez.

Mike Gomez.:
Well that’s nice.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So we’ll put his information on the screen.

Mike Gomez.:
Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And so, yeah. Absolutely. And we mean that. You’re a great guy and you’ve got such great content, and you’ve been around the block a few days, few times I should say, in business. So you know the deal. So thanks so much.

Mike Gomez.:
All right. Pleasure.


The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here