Managing your own business is difficult. Whether you’ve invested in a franchise or are pulling together resources for an independent startup, chances are you can’t afford to waste time, supplies, talent, or money. The bottom line is that you need to make sure you are spending your limited resources in the best way possible. A business consultant can help you achieve this goal, but beware – a business consultant doesn’t need to be the end-all, be-all decision-maker for your business.
There are some schools of thought that believe business consultants approach strategy in an outmoded way that focuses solely on shutting down competition as opposed to moving your business forward. Forbes blogger Steve Denning says, “Instead of seeing business—and strategy and business education—as a matter of figuring out how to defeat one’s known rivals and protect oneself against competition through structural barriers, if a business is to survive, it must aim to add value to customers through continuous innovation and finding new ways of delighting its customers.”
Erika Andersen, keynote speaker and author of Growing Great Employees, Being Strategic, and Leading So People Will Follow, agrees. “I’ve always felt that the goal of strategy was to enable you to consistently make core directional choices that would best move your business toward your hoped-for future.”
If you’re careful to keep this in mind, hiring a business consultant could do your business a world of good. After all, the quickest way to increase your profit margins is by hiring someone who knows what they’re doing – as opposed to spending more money hiring an employee who claims he or she can do the job but can’t. Whereas consultants typically come with years of experience that spans multiple industries and job functions, so you can be sure that they come equipped with the skills needed to get the job done right.
Business consultants can help you by:
- Providing expertise in your specific industry or market.
- Identifying problems.
- Augmenting your existing staff.
- Providing objectivity.
- Teaching and/or training your employees.
- Helping you create a business plan.
When looking for a business consultant to hire, it’s important to make sure he or she has expertise in your specific industry or with the particular set of problems that your business is currently facing. Check references and referrals as well as any necessary certifications.