Kamyar Shah is a senior business consultant with a remarkable successful career spanning over 14 years. He owns his own consulting business and has served a great number of satisfied customers. His deep management understanding and experience have made him a true professional, in helping rapid growth organizations as well as distressed organizations. Growth management, stuck growth and organizational people issues are some of his many specialized areas. His clients have given great feedback on how he has helped them in closing great deals and in solving different profitability and cost issues across organizations.
TaskQue: Your marketing experience does not need any brief introduction but we would really like to know how did you start your career? What was the source of your inspiration?.
Kamyar: Actually it was by accident. I was in grad school and needed to supplement my income. One thing led to another.
TaskQue: Marketing is getting very advanced day by day. In your opinion, what are the best practices for doing efficient marketing in 2017? What tools would you recommend to new marketing professionals to manage their work in an efficient way?
Kamyar: Marketing is increasingly involving technology, however the human creativity and decision making are by no means forgone conclusions. Essentially the tools are just an extension of the user and are only as effective as the user of the tool.
Yes there are tools that everyone have/should use including analytical tools, data collection and examination tools. Most of those are very similar in nature and deliver comparable results.
I would highly encourage the end users to not only find the tools that match their current mission but also spend a good deal of time learning the tools to an expert level. A tool is only as good as the end user.
TaskQue: You have been a business consultant for a very long time and have started your own freelance services. What are key areas on which you always put focus with clients?
Kamyar: I have found that the most important factors in achieving organizational goals are thorough planning and the ability to adapt a flexible approach.
The planning of any project has to be scientific and thorough. In my opinion, this is the phase that should be the most resource and time intensive of the project; while avoiding “analysis paralysis”.
After the initial planning, the execution should be mostly data driven in a flexible and adaptive environment. This sort of agility will enable quick adaptation and adjustments that will ultimately maximize the outcome.
TaskQue: Your academic background as well as professional experience are very diversified. You did your Bachelor in Science, Master’s in Art and then another Master’s in Business Administration. According to you, is diversification or specialization, more helpful in the long run?
Kamyar: I have seen both work. I think it is more a question of the environment and the particular field.
My personal experience however has been more along the lines of diversification: Over the years I have noticed that my general skills sets are a lot more frequently used than my specific specializations. I have also noticed that clients from different countries appreciate different sets of skills.
TaskQue: Being a successful business consultant requires in-depth knowledge of different business models. What is your advice for new managing consultants in acquiring those insights for being up to the mark in a rapid pace environment in today’s era?
Kamyar: Read. Than read more. It is that simple. If you are not spending a fair share of your day catching up with industry related news and events; you are doing it wrong. Clients hire you for your expert knowledge and track record. Both of those factors greatly depend on being “in the know”.
TaskQue: You mentioned on your website that the major cause which stops small business from growing efficiently after a certain level are internal conflicts which cause disorganization. What do you think is the best method to address this issue?
Kamyar: Most of those issues are usually created by the entrepreneur/senior leadership of those organizations. The buck stops with them. The root cause stems from a variety of reasons including lack of objectivity and emotional maturity, emotional decision making processes and lack of consistency. The one solution that has worked is establishing SOP’s.
TaskQue: You got a chance to publish different articles on the subject of project and human management as well. In 2006, you published hiring external expertise to address project management issues. Please elaborate on that a bit.
Kamyar: Interestingly enough even with all the changes over the last 11 years, that advice holds up. Many projects and clients have come and gone; yet I am still convinced that virtually most small businesses need help in executing projects effectively and efficiently.
Small businesses have many challenges ranging from production costs to consistency in quality of product delivery. Most of those are resolved with persistence; however very few SMB’s have the luxury to worry about structure, cost, efficiency and effectiveness. Add cognitive biases, time restraints, lack of PM expertise and revenue considerations and you suddenly have an overwhelming task that dilutes many aspects of SMB performance.
That is where external expertise comes in; a third party with fresh set of eyes will go a long way in looking past the noise as well as things that don’t contribute to improving results.
TaskQue: Success of any project depends on different factors. What do you think is the most critical element in determining success of a project?
Kamyar: Though my peers may disagree with this, I am a firm believer of planning. I think planning is the most important factor in laying the groundwork for a project to be successful.
Naturally, execution and external factors can have a great impact on the outcome however; the appropriate and thorough planning can address most of it in advance and prepare alternative routes to success.
In my mind; planning is where you can reduce the risk of external factors that may influence the outcome by providing alternatives.
TaskQue: After achieving vast expertise in the business management field, what do you see as a future goal for yourself? What is the next milestone you are hoping to achieve afterwards?
Kamyar: I have been working with several non profits as well as SMB’s to create conductive environments for young leaders to grow. My next personal milestone is to exclusively advise nonprofits in helping entrepreneurs and SMBs to grow faster.
TaskQue: Being a management consultant requires great problem solving skills for which mental peace is necessary. Apart from work, what do you prefer to do in your leisure time for maintaining work and personal life balance?
Kamyar: I have been married for almost 18 years. I love spending time with my wife and 2 kids. They help me relax and enjoy my free time. Interestingly enough, I learn a lot from my daughter and son when it comes to “popular technology” – Most of the time I am surprised how much a 9 year old and a 14 year old can teach you about popular culture and its impact on local and SMBs. Think Pokeman Go as a marketing tool for a local business!!!