Why I started Atlas Precision Consulting
I have always had mixed emotions about the idea of consultants. Earlier in my career, I interacted with some consultants who, in my view, did not add any value to what was happening in the business. The experience was a vague report and then throwing us to the proverbial wolves to sort out the mess. I honestly could not believe people got paid for that sort of thing.
The Short History
Then an interesting thing happened. I spent a month with a consultant who had a very keen intellect about diagnosing issues within a business. During that month, not only did he develop a deep understanding of what was happening, he also worked with us to develop some tools to monitor and measure progress in the area of the business we were working on. I had two similar experiences after that. I began to see that there was a way that a consultant could add a lot of value to the company.
Later on, I faced a major departmental reorganization. I decided to use a hybrid organization of full time employees and consultants. The consultants would cover specific areas of the mission that required specialized knowledge. We did not need the specialized knowledge forty hours a week, but when we needed it, we needed it. That was my first opportunity to look at a business process and develop out a plan based on total cost of ownership. It worked out very well and the results far exceeded expectations.
I began to realize that “consultant” is really a catch-all term for “person that spends time in your business, but does not work for you”. There are some subdivisions of this, usually based on a niche like inventory, finance, operations, etc. That said, there is not a template for how a consultant interacts with the client. In my view, that meant a consultant could really be anything they wanted to be, provided he or she could define the vision and communicate it to a client with clarity.
Emboldened by the idea, I started thinking about marketing almost non-stop. I realized that if I couldn’t develop a marketing strategy for a consulting firm, then I either did not understand what I wanted to do, or I did not understand what potential clients wanted. Either way, I felt very strongly that a cogent marketing plan was going to be a sort of crucible. I needed to see if this career path was viable and checked all of the boxes for my life goals.
Throughout my professional life, I enjoyed working to solve big picture issues in the company I worked for. There were successes and failures along the way. I learned that I liked working on complex issues. Further, I liked building the tools that helped to provide visibility and insight into those issues. As the subject matter of my problem solving experience began to widen, I also found that I enjoyed learning about things that I had not previously had a lot of exposure to.
The inner mechanics of how companies work, and how executives and owners view their businesses is fascinating to me. I like having an opportunity to provide a client with a different viewpoint. I like developing sets of tools that clients just couldn’t seem to deliver internally. That kind of interaction is exciting to me, and that is why I decided to become a consultant.
— Andrew Podner