Before Diane Helbig started her own consulting business, Helbig Enterprises, she was in sales and leadership roles in a couple of different small companies. In those jobs, she learned about the challenges that small business owners face when trying to grow their companies — knowledge she leveraged when she struck out on her own.
One of Helbig’s specialties is teaching small business owners how to overcome their discomfort with selling. That frequently involves dispelling some common misconceptions about the art of selling. “They think they need to be persuasive and that they need to convince people to buy a product or service,” Helbig says.
Many company founders are uncomfortable with that process and don’t realize that a good salesperson doesn’t have to be pushy. “What I try to help them understand is that it's really about discovery, not about telling,” says Helbig. So she helps her clients identify the best prospective customers and then drills down to help them identify their value proposition. To share her wisdom more broadly, Helbig wrote the book, Succeed Without Selling: The More You Think About Selling, the Less You Will Sell, which is now the foundation for her training methods.
"It’s always so interesting to get peoples’ insights, feedback, and ideas [in Newsweek Expert Forum meetups]. It’s so helpful to me because as a solopreneur, it’s really easy to get tunnel vision."
Helbig also works with clients on strategic planning and implementation. “Many of my clients have grown and they’re doing fairly well but they’ve never implemented any systems to streamline their processes,” she says. The result is that owners are working hard and burning out because they have no standard operating procedures, and are unable or unwilling to delegate. “It's dangerous, because the business can totally fall apart when that sort of thing happens,” says Helbig. She helps owners identify their highest use, delegate tasks to the most appropriate employees, and create systems and procedures for tracking work. “They find that when they delegate, it’s liberating for them,” she says. “It makes it easier for them to do more in the future.”
In the beginning of 2020, Helbig’s business was off to a strong start with several training contracts on deck. And then it all went away with the onset of the pandemic. But she persisted. “I had to shift somewhat and create some programs for online,” she says. “And I took a course to become a certified virtual educator, so I could do training virtually, instead of in person.” That pivot allowed Helbig to expand her business beyond Northeast Ohio into other parts of the U.S. such as Texas and Kansas. She also focused on relationship building, which resulted in speaking opportunities and new connections. “I think it really set me up for this year, which is taking off like a rocket,” she says.
Newsweek Expert Forum “fits with my desire to get as much information in front of as many professionals as possible. It’s a great platform,” Helbig says. She’s a regular contributor to Expert Panels, where she shares her perspectives on a variety of leadership-related topics. The brand gives her a higher level of credibility when her contributions are shared socially on platforms such as LinkedIn. The Expert Forum network has also proved valuable to Helbig. In meetups, “it’s always so interesting to get peoples’ insights, feedback, and ideas,” she says. “It’s so helpful to me because as a solopreneur, it’s really easy to get tunnel vision.”