Is Technology Phasing Out Business Consulting Services?Posted by Antonia
This morning, for a split second, I saw my business plan writing career flash before my eyes and *poof* disappear, as a big green golem flashed up on my computer screen. The offending beast was enloop.com, a new “intelligent” online business plan writing software.
Enloop purports to be a business writer and a business consulting all-in-one program. It automatically generates text for your business plan based on what you input into the blanks and it even gives you a “powerful” special score, predicting your likelihood of success as a business. I wouldn’t be surprised if it cooked you breakfast too. So how did I react to the shock of online software stealing my profession? Did I hide under my desk, shut my eyes tightly and try to imagine myself in another job? Or did I try to make friends with my enemy? Well, I decided to face the beast and created an enloop account for Write Ahead to see if Woman was indeed being threatened by Online software program.
The golem boosted my ego and made it really easy for me to enter test information in. It asked simple things like: “What is your address?” and “What industry are you in?” Based on the latter response it was even able to find our industry NAICS identifying code. Good golem! Want a treat? Then it asked me about our service pricing and expected sales, then about our expenses and then a whole stream of other financial questions. At the end of each section it summarized these numbers into simple sentences. At the end of the click-through screens, I basically had some good numbers (that I had in effect provided), some descriptive sentences and that powerful score based on some complex secret algorithm.
But something was missing. Actually a whole lot was. What about the industry analysis, the market analysis, the competitive analysis, the marketing strategy, the operations strategy? Any elements that actually formed the core context of the business plan were absent and any intelligent synthesis and analysis of information was lacking, which makes me wonder as to the validity of the powerful scoring system. Came the question: how can a program determine the success of your business on numbers alone? We do not live in a financial vacuum; we exist in a versatile market economy.
Numerous quantitative and qualitative events occur and interact with one another and these events continuously affect our business environment. So when starting a business, it is important that we analyze these factors in as much detail as we can, in order to make an informed jump into the ultimately unpredictable. My conclusion? That enloop is not as threatening as I had initially thought. Enloop, provides not even a quarter of what a business plan should – and that’s being generous. It does provide calculations of some numbers, not unlike anything that you can already do in excel (otherwise called arithmetic). But what it doesn’t do is research, synthesize, analyze or strategize. And in my humble opinion as a human business consultant and writer, we require all of these elements in order to step confidently into the world of entrepreneurship.