Benefits of an External Business Consultant
The pressures that small and medium-sized business owners face can be intense. Starting, taking over, or learning to manage a business is hard enough as it is. Still, such owners also often have to play the roles of VP Finance, Head of HR, Director of Sales, Marketing Specialist, and many more, all at once. Small business owners can quickly run out of capacity and mental strength with so many hats to wear.
Consultants can provide expertise and an objective eye to help guide a business, with consultants specializing in various industries and areas, including strategy and management, operations, human resources, finances, funding opportunities, IT, and sales and marketing.
Hiring a Business Consultant: What are the Benefits?
Consultants work closely with business owners and managers to help identify challenges, offer advice, and propose practical solutions. You might think of consultants as doctors who diagnose the problem and prescribe a remedy that alleviates pain. The benefits of hiring a strategy consultant include the following:
The central values of consultants include their knowledge, expert skills, and influence. Because consultants work with various businesses, they may have a much broader and deeper understanding of business trends, industry challenges, and new technologies and processes than internal employees.
When you hire a consultant, you pay only for the services that you need, when you need them. This can provide substantial savings over hiring a salaried employee with the same level of expertise to complete similar tasks. Further, consultants in multiple areas—lean manufacturing, proactive funding, financial planning, etc.—can identify areas where you are currently spending more than you need to and help you cut costs.
The experience of consultants means that they know best practices already. For example, a lean consultant can look at a client’s manufacturing process and quickly identify inefficiencies. With a consultant, there is no need for business owners to reinvent the wheel or lose valuable time to something that an expert contractor can complete.
Consultants provide a helpful distance from business challenges. They are not emotionally invested in operations the same way business owners are and can more easily identify and address challenges, whether the issue is implementing new technology or completing a merger or acquisition.
Consultants do not offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Their value comes in learning about each client’s business and goals and tailoring advice and strategy consulting to the specific challenges that the business faces. This customization means that a consultant’s solutions are much more effective than generic advisory services.
Unsure about Hiring a Business Consultant?
Despite the benefits of business consulting services, some business owners may be wary of engaging them. Some business owners may feel that consultants cannot tell them anything that they don’t already know. Other business owners and managers may reject consultants out of discomfort with sharing the business’s problems with an outsider.
However, both concerns can be alleviated by choosing the right consultant for your business, one whose expertise will make a real difference to your firm’s growth.
Choosing the Right Consultant
Select a consultant with a proven record of results. You might speak to other business owners and managers in your circle and see if you can get a recommendation.
You can also dig into the backgrounds of potential consultants through their websites and social media sites. Who have consultants worked for, and what is their educational background? How long have they been in business? Such information will help ensure that your chosen consultant is a qualified expert who will provide concrete results.
Consultants should understand your motives for engaging them and approach the consulting work as a partnership. Development of this partnership can be the key to a business owner saving time and money and reducing stress while positioning the company for longevity and success.
Alena Barreca is a Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Mentor Works. Alena enjoys using her creative and analytical mind to assist Canadian businesses in receiving grants and loans to support their needs. Alena graduated from Brock University with a BA in Media and Business Communications, and Mohawk College with a Post-Graduate Degree in Public Relations.