Working with a consultant can help your business reach goals quicker and take advantage of more opportunities. The professionals can also help you achieve better results while reaching a larger pool of potential customers. Not only do you get to take advantage of their years of experience, but you also get the benefit of the viewpoint of someone who is not emotionally invested in your business.
You should always be able to have an initial “intake” conversation with a potential consultant prior to signing on. This can help determine if they’ll be able to help you and give you confidence you can work together. Never, ever sign on with a consultant prior to talking with them first.
If you own a business, or are thinking of launching one, these are my top 6 reasons you should consider working with a consultant.
They’re outside looking in.
As humans, it can be far too easy to fall into established methods and ways of doing things (read – ruts). When you launch a business, it’s virtually inevitable that you’ll become personally and emotionally invested. That devotion is definitely a positive when it comes to giving you a push to make it through long hours, late nights and headaches it takes to run a business. Unfortunately, that commitment can also make us irrational and warp our views when making decisions.
Being outsiders, the judgement of consultants isn’t clouded by this attachment. They also aren’t restrained by office politics, management biases, or relationship dynamics. Consultants are able to look at your business from a true outsider’s view. They can give an honest evaluation of present conditions, procedures, and methods. This lets them candidly assess the state of things and spot things that can get overlooked. Consultants can also recognize how beneficial certain opportunities are (or aren’t). This insight can have a hugely positive impact on the direction the company is heading.
Flexibility in cost and commitment.
When you start working with a consultant, you should have full control over the cost and length of commitment. Regardless if the agreement is project-based or hourly, it should always be scalable. When you’re finished with a specific problem, or have tackled a defined issue, the relationship ends.
Only paying for the hours you need make working with a consultant considerably less expensive than hiring an employee. (See reason #4). Why bring someone on to tackle something—especially if it’s short-term in nature— if a consultant can do it in a fraction of the time?
Your goals are their goals.
Consultants are self-starters that are motivated and driven to find the most efficient, beneficial solutions to your problems. Unlike employees, or management-level staff, they don’t have any additional responsibilities weighing them down. They aren’t concerned with stepping on anyone’s toes or thinking “this isn’t in my department.” When you work with a consultant, they are laser focused on just two things—helping to provide solutions to overcome whatever difficulties you’re currently facing, and delivering actionable recommendations to achieve your goals.
Get more for less.
Hiring employees can be time consuming, challenging, and expensive. With employees, you have taxes and benefits to pay, equipment to furnish, scheduling challenges, and training to provide. Employees create a commitment—yes, you have work today, but will you next month or next year?
When you work with a consultant, you don’t have to worry about these complications. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a higher level of competency and a more specialized skill set than if you tried to hire an employee for the same work at the same price. All without having to provide any training.
When running a business, it can be challenging to find the time to brainstorm. Daydreaming about the direction your company is heading in or evaluate your larger vision is difficult too. Even with the best intentions, the minutiae of day-to-day activities and “have tos” often get in the way. You blink and the day is over. As a result, it can be difficult for businesses—especially those just starting out—to move the needle in regards to growth. The feeling that you’re drowning in daily tasks squashes your ability to evaluate and take advantage of opportunities.
Thankfully, a consultant’s job is to help you find the time for these larger projects and/or tackle the heavy lifting for you. Their job is to devote time and energy toward coming up with ideas and solutions for your company to meet targets and achieve goals. Setting aside even just an hour every couple weeks to brainstorm with a consultant is enough to make sizable strides forward in your company’s growth. Best part is, that forward momentum gains steam while you’re still able to focus on what you do best.
Plant seeds that grow for years.
While you generally hire a consultant to help with a specific issue, roadblock, or challenge, the information you receive can produce benefits for years after that relationship has ended. Chances are, as you powwow and work on projects, your consultant will provide “ancillary” info that may come in handy for future concerns. Whenever you meet with a consultant, be sure to regularly take notes so that you can record these nuggets. They may not necessarily apply to your current project, but you never know what info will come in handy in the future.
When you’re facing short-term needs, or find yourself in a jam with a specific project or hurdle, consider hiring a consultant. Working with a consultant can make a lot of sense for your business, especially once you consider the costs, time, and effort it takes to hire, train, and get a new employee up to speed.
If you find yourself in need of a consultant, or just want more info to see if it would be a good fit, check out my consulting page to learn more about me and how I might be able to help.