Top signs you need to hire a consultant
Running a business isn’t for the faint-hearted. As an owner, you’re responsible for setting up the right systems, implementing effective techniques, welcoming in the right partners, and seeking guidance from experts when necessary.
As it pertains to seeking out experts for guidance, many business owners make the mistake of disregarding the impact of outside consulting and help. When you try to do it all on your own in your business, chances are your operation isn’t optimized for success. Caring about all of the intricacies and details of running a business means knowing when it’s time to hire help.
A business consultant can help you find out what can be better in your business, form a strategy to improve those specific things, and create an action plan to get it done. Let’s talk about what a business consultant does and how they can benefit your business. We’ll then tackle six signs it’s time to hire a business consultant and how to move forward with this process.
What Does a Business Consultant Do?
A business consultant’s general job function revolves around project management, providing specialized knowledge and expert advice, and objectively analyzing and assessing resources, systems, and software. There are also many consultant-type positions that live under the business consultant umbrella, including management consultants, strategy consultants, IT consultants, and so on.
Their day-to-day responsibilities change based on the project their working on. Some responsibilities include:
- Data collection
- Formal presentations
- Internal meetings
- Building rapport and client relationships
- Taking calls and answering emails
- Data analysis
Why a Business Consultant is Beneficial to Your Business
As stated above, it’s counterproductive to try and do everything in your business. At some point, you’ll mull over the idea of bringing in an expert to help you optimize all of your business resources. How can what a business consultant does be beneficial to your business?
By quantifying and thoroughly analyzing your resources, a business consultant can improve how you use those resources by coming up with actionable goals and new initiatives for efficiency.
They can also offer you unbiased, objective counsel on the vision you have for your business and how far along you are on the path to achieving that vision. They’re adept at backing any advice they give with extensive research and detailed assessments so you can make informed decisions about your business. They’re intentionally hands-on planning any project, aren’t afraid to lead the implementation process, and understand the need for analysis after the fact. Business consultants are also beneficial to your business because they can specialize in industry-specific knowledge and/or various business activities, strategies, and techniques.
Six Signs It’s Time to Bring a Business Consultant on Board
It’s time to hire a business consultant when you’re ready to take your business to the next level. Taking your business to the next level means different things to different people.
Maybe it means doing an audit of your financial situation for the first time ever. It could also mean admitting that you can’t do it all because your attempt to do so has been counterproductive. It could mean figuring out what to do with a windfall of profit.
Whatever your next level is, it’s important to know when to bring an expert on board to help you get there. Here are six signs it’s time to hire a business consultant.
You’re consistently making a profit each quarter
When you make more money in your business, you need to know what to do with it. If you’re inconsistently making a profit each quarter, it may be in your best interest to hire a business consultant to help guide your financial decisions. After all, many business owners aren’t prepared for what they do with consistent profit or a windfall of profit. They aren’t confident making decisions on how to best invest the profit back into the business.
A business consultant, especially one specializing in finance, can help you make decisions on how to best manage your profit, maintain it, and utilize any income to better business practices. For example, a business consultant can help you decide on upgrading manufacturing equipment, hiring full-time employees, or buying better sales software.
You’re consistently losing money each quarter
A business consultant can not only help you with deciding what to do with business profit, but they can also help you when your not making money. When you’re consistently losing money each quarter, a business consultant can help you figure out why.
After identifying why you’re consistently losing money each quarter, they can help you turn things around in your business with specific plans of action for each challenge.
If you’re losing money because you have too many full-time employees, a business consultant can help you make hard decisions on who to keep and who to let go. Suppose you’re losing money because of a gap in your distribution process or because of the suppliers you use. In that case, a business consultant can help you renegotiate contracts to fit your finances better.
You need specialized knowledge
Every business owner wants lasting customer relationships. They want to be able to speak directly to their clients’ pain points with products/services that help them solve problems. You may also be great at talking in general, but have no idea how to communicate to your ideal customers.
This is where a business consultant with specialized knowledge fits into your business vision. Needing specialized knowledge and skill in an area of business is a sign it’s time to hire a business consultant. Different types of consultants can help you address different business challenges.
If your marketing campaigns aren’t producing the results you’d like, a consultant that specializes in analyzing customer data can help you better allocate your resources and time towards reaching those customers with effective marketing messaging. This is especially important, as, according to AppDirect, “When you analyze customer data, you can better allocate your resources, product, and time towards reaching those customers with your marketing message, and subsequently retaining those customers for repeat business.” If you’re unsure how to do this with the staff or tools you already have, inviting a specialized consultant to come and help out will be an important investment.
You’re less and less sure about the right business decision
Consult Port says, “When you hire a consultant who has already helped dozens of businesses make important, and sometimes, controversial decisions, you’ll feel comfortable taking actions that are difficult to execute internally.”
Running your business is less overwhelming and scary when you don’t have to make hard business decisions all by yourself. You have to continuously take action if you want your business to grow, hard and easy actions alike.
Firing a tenured employee, discontinuing a product line, hiring your first full-time employee, working with contractors, restructuring your benefits package, and renegotiating an employee’s salary are all decisions you’ll face in the future of your business. Ensure that you’re ready and supported by enlisting the help of a capable consultant.
You want to scale your business
When you’re making a profit and things are going well in your business, it’s natural to want to expand your operation. It’s important to hire a business consultant when you want to scale your business because there’s a new set of challenges that comes with managing multiple locations.
Scaling your business could also mean starting an online operation to accompany your physical location. Hiring a business consultant with specialized knowledge in eCommerce would be ideal for this situation.
Expanding your operation means working with more people, ensuring the quality standard is the same across all locations, and making sure you can accommodate product demand. A business consultant can ensure you’ve got a system to address and solve each of these challenges.
You can’t do it all anymore
When your mental and physical health is negatively influenced by how much responsibility you have in your business, this could be a sign it’s time to hire a business consultant. If you’re not well, your business has no chance of thriving.
When you finally realize you can’t do it all, hire a business consultant to take some of the responsibilities off your plate and to help you delegate tasks effectively.
A business consultant can help you hire an assistant that fits your budget to help with menial administrative tasks like answering emails and customer service phone calls. They can step in when you need a day or two off to relax and recuperate. They can also perform audits, lead meetings, and communicate with partners should you be unavailable or less than great at doing these sorts of business tasks.
Once you decide it’s time to hire a business consultant, it’s important to move forward with this process in the most cost-effective, goal-oriented way possible. By being intentional, and even picky in some places, you can ensure that the person you hire will have your best interest in mind and work collaboratively with you instead of coming in and telling you what to do without questions. Make sure to take your time, vet the people who are offering their help, and don’t wait until you’re desperate!