Advantages of Business Consulting

Business Consultation Services are generally promoted, but not often well understood. Many see these services as a big picture conceptual exercise with no connection to the real world issues facing their business. Often Fortune 500 business consultation services come across as too ivory tower, and overly focused on highlighting issues without implementing solutions. There is a new breed of consultants that speak your language and understand the front line issues that you face as a business owner on a daily basis.

With the help of the internet, quality consulting service providers are much easier to find throughout the world. The internet proves enormously useful as a connection platform to find these smaller, specialized consulting firms. Whatever your need, be it financial reporting, sales assistance, IT, capital raising, human resources, there is a wide assortment of consulting service providers to select from. There are numerous advantages of business consultation expert services.

Quality consultants add a new dimension to a company, allowing it to think in new ways. Most quality business consultation service providers have strong backgrounds in a concentrated area, giving them subject matter mastery combined with real world experience. Adding them to your team gives your business the ability to think and execute at a higher level. Many rookie mistakes can be avoided by having a smart, experience-based business consulting service provider on your team.

As an outsider to your organization, a new business consulting service provider can bring a refreshing third party perspective. Often, companies or senior managers have a hard time clearly seeing their internal weaknesses. This is particularly relevant with smaller companies where a small group of employees comprises the entire C-Level management team. In addition, quality business consulting service providers know what standard practices are in your industry. They are well versed in best practices for their field and can easily tell you the best CRM system, or the best SEO approach or the best way to finance an acquisition.

Their expertise is their currency and their expertise has been acquired through involvement in a multitude of projects in the same field. Their concentrated experience can be a valuable addition to your knowledge base as you take your company in a new direction. One big advantage of business consultation services is the ability to save time and plan properly. Business is a learning curve and most successful companies rarely go in straight line in an upward direction. The key to navigating successful new growth steps is in proper planning and assigning realistic risk-based probabilities to each outcome.

A seasoned business consultation service provider is a great sounding board for all of this. They will be able to help you develop realistic timing assumptions and realistic cost factors. Most consultants are independent contractors and stay with your business for only a limited time. They are a flexible resource and are expendable once the project is complete. The value they bring during their engagement is considerable. Through aligning with a quality business consulting provider, your business can become quite sophisticated and seriously confront any challenges or opportunities that lay ahead.

Business Consultants Compared

When inviting a business consulting firm to get to know your business and its weaknesses, it is a delicate dance to find the best corporate qualifications, experience, and ability to navigate the inevitable invisible issues that will come up. It is also important to make sure your own corporate culture and on-going business do not get lost in the process.

In the marketplace of Business Management Consulting or Management Consulting, competitors generally fall into just a few categories:

-Sole proprietor consultants, who are generally niched and geographically based

-Larger consulting firms, who have multi-niched teams and the ability to reach out to other cities or regions

-Small consulting firms, regionally based and team oriented

Sole Proprietors: Personal Touch

Smaller and sole proprietor consultant competitors, like Jannelle Buzzell, Jim Grew, Will Moore, Mannus O’Donnell and others, get to know the client and their needs very personally. They start from exceptional business acumen, and make sure to create buy-in within the company. The client company is trusted to know their core business and its people very, very well. There is often not a pre-conceived corporate formula other than profitability, efficiency, and better managerial controls through feedback. To these folks, it is common to receive a fearful call where a business owner shares that they ‘aren’t even sure what the problem is or where it started’.

Large Consulting Firms: depth and breadth

Larger competitors, like Boly Welch Consulting, CBS Consulting, Georgia S. May, Point B and PeopleFirm, all offer fresh eyes, strong business acumen, and an understanding that all business evolution comes from the people within the firm. To make any consulting project stick, it has to come from within, which starts from leadership. Once leadership has aligned the goals and strategies, the consulting firm assists in rolling out change. This change management happens from setting measurable goals, checking in with ROI, and staying in regular touch with the feedback loop.

Small Consulting Firms: Personal touch and depth

What makes the smaller consultancy different is the unique blend of these styles. With a small firm, you are likely to meet the owner, but not work with them regularly. You will have a small, personal team, but enough distance to call their supervisor if necessary. A small firm has 8-30 employees, and is generally based in a single city office. Conversely, the consulting firm is big enough to have scheduling and launching flexibility more like a larger consultancy. Small consulting firms cannot do everything involved for a larger project, so they are forced to rely on (and train) the employee team. This strategy keeps the consulting team in alignment with owners, in order to organize which work is done by which team. Smaller consulting teams do not take over a floor of your building and set up shop. It is necessary to work along side the employee team constantly in order to on board change at a pace owners and employees can handle.

How Much Do They Cost?

When we compare business to business consulting, price is an unavoidable topic. If you don’t care how much the consulting firm costs, you are not in the market. Clients care, even if they aren’t sure they can afford it (or have plenty of money to afford it). Small firm prices lie in the middle, just as you might expect. Many sole proprietors charge a lower rate, especially if they aren’t busy. However, if they are busy, they simply cannot take the work, or quickly bump up to the rates of larger firms. Larger firms have additional overhead for travel, benched employees and significant benefit packages at all levels. These higher prices are significant and consistent. With a smaller firm, you are unlikely to receive enormous perks as a part of your purchase. They focus on the work done, and building the relationship on the job.

In general terms, a client can expect:

Team Size Typical Hourly Rate

Sole Proprietor 1 $40-$150

Small Firm 2-30 $75-300

Large Firm 30+ $200-750+

These rates are a generalized survey in Portland, OR, based on surveys of a small handful of varying small and medium businesses.

Conclusion

When you are considering outside consulting for your operations, spend some time considering the depth and breadth of the project, the budget you expect, and then consider requesting proposals or conversations from varying firms. Some projects are clearly one size or another, but medium scale projects that can take some time to evolve are a likely fit for a blended small consulting firm. If you go that route, you will save significant money and train your staff along the way.

Small Business Consultants

Many small businesses are experts in their field and know their own business inside and out. However lots of small business owners lack the time or expertise required to implement certain projects. That’s where a small business consultant can step in and help.

In order to achieve a successful project it’s important to be clear about what you want your consultant to be able to do for you. Just as important is selecting a consultant with the right skills for the job, but how do you make sure you don’t get off on the wrong foot?

Here are some things to consider:

1. Are you looking for a research/diagnostic approach or do you need help with implementation?

Firstly are you looking for someone to take a diagnostic approach to a business problem you are facing? For instance, which market segment should you enter? Or what product line should you sell? Or is your business need about implementation? For instance, you’ve identified that you need to be on Social Media and need a marketing consultant with the expertise to make this happen.

The two needs are different and some consultants are better in one area than the other. To find out whether your prospective consultant prefers to work on implementation projects or research projects ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specific examples of projects they have worked on and how they have tackled projects similar to yours in the past.

2. Ask prospective consultants how their clients are better off after they leave.

What sort of outcomes were they able to achieve for their clients? Look out for wishy-washy answers. Look for specific examples and outcomes. Does this fit with the sorts of outcomes that you would like for your business? Where they able to increase website traffic by a certain percentage, reduce staff turnover by a certain amount or generate more business for the client?

Picking the wrong person for the job might end up feeling like you are pushing water up a hill with a rake. Not only will the results be less than optimal but it may end up being a costly and stressful experience also.

3. Be careful of wanting champagne on a beer budget.

Do you want fast, cheap or talented? You must pick two out of the three. There is a triangle trade off here. You can get premium talent, faster results or a cheaper cost but Taylor Swift won’t teach your team how to sing tomorrow for free if you see what I mean.

Often a small business owner will set a budget and then begin the search for the best talent and/or fastest result within that budget. From my experience a budget-driven approach can often compromise results. Your best approach is to establish your desired outcome, then judge each potential candidate by how likely they are to be able to achieve that outcome.

4. Look for a solid “About Us” page.

Ask consultants about their qualifications and their approach. With so many so-called ‘experts’ out there it’s really important to identify who is qualified and able to do the job for you. Ask prospective consultants questions about their skills and experience to determine whether they are fit for the job. Are they methodical in their approach? Do have a history of achieving quality results for clients? This will help you to avoid being mislead by organisations with few processes, a glossy website and no real qualifications or experience.

5. Ask yourself whether you think you will be comfortable working with the consultant.

Do you think they are going to be the right fit for your business? Can you see yourself and your team working well with them? Sometimes it’s less about the exact industry experience they have had and more about their ability to get results.

6. Think about goals and outcomes first.

Don’t pick a technical specialist to do a job when you really need someone who can deliver a sales outcome. Think about your goal first, what are you trying to achieve? For instance, if it’s conversions and leads from your website then perhaps what you really need is a marketing consultant to advise on the layout of the website rather than just a technical person to do the build. A technical person can definitely build the website for you, it will function beautifully, but will it achieve your goal of converting traffic to sales?

7. Be wary of small business consultants who are all things to all people.

A good consultant will be honest about what their speciality is and will not simply be a ‘yes’ man or woman. They will push back on projects, ideas and suggestions that they don’t think are right for your business or are beyond their area of expertise. Look for a consultant with backbone not someone who lets you steer the project without alerting you to the danger that lies ahead because they are too afraid to question your judgement or afraid they will upset you. I’d rather have an expert question me and make suggestions than sit back and watch me sink the ship!

So whether it is a marketing consultant or a small business consultant you are looking for, many of the same rules apply. Identify what you need and look at it from an outcomes perspective, work out who has the expertise to help you achieve your goals and whether or not you are comfortable working with them. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in working with you and passionate about what they do.

Signs That You’ve Hired the Right Business

Looking for the right expert to help you develop our business can be tricky, but once you have found the right person the benefits for your company are numerous. Not only can hiring an independent business consultant help you streamline your business for greater efficiency and competitiveness, but they can also offer access to new technology and the bigger picture of global business trends.

There are many criteria that people use to choose the right business consultant, ranging from choosing those with vast experience right through to those with qualifications from certain schools. Here are a few major signs that you have hired the right business consultant for you and your business.

Firstly, one of the major signs of hiring the right expert is that they understand your company aims and what you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term. Although you would hope that this would be a normal quality of your business consultant of choice, one who expresses a deep understanding of your company will really stand out in the right way.

An expert offering their services in this area should have taken note of all your objectives in a meeting together, and have a very clear outline of what you can do to meet those goals. Where you differ in opinion, the consultant should be able to explain their reasoning and listen to and address your concerns.

In all cases, the consultant should be absolutely attentive to what you want to achieve, rather than what they think you should achieve based on their experience. This will set apart a great expert who can truly help you from one who is not adapting himself or herself fully to your business.

The next sign of a great consultant is one who also understands the market for your particular services or products, and has proven experience in it. Although many consultants have great business skills, there is a great difference between various sectors and industries, and your consultant should be aware of that and be able to take it into account.

The right expert for you will be able to address the unique concerns and goals of your business as well as see the larger picture in your industry. As mentioned above, a proven track record of working with businesses like yours in the same industry is the best choice here.

Another thing to look out for in a business consultant is one who is up to date with the technological trends that are transforming the international marketplace, such as Google for work migration services, cloud solutions, online marketing, SEO and more. Although the provider does not need to be an expert in Google for work migration services, they should at least be able to guide you.

Technology plays a huge role in modern day business, and a consultant who is able to offer perspective and knowledge in this area – about what technological changes you should be implementing and when – will be extremely valuable in helping you remain as competitive as possible. Some business consultants are also IT consultants too, which is very helpful.

Lastly, make sure that the consultant that you choose to work with is reliable, and is always available to answer your questions and queries when you need something in a short time frame. If you are paying for business support solutions, it is imperative that they do actually support you in the everyday running of your business.

A consultant who is always there to offer the benefit of his or her advice when you need it is extremely valuable. On top of this, knowledge of your industry, knowledge of cutting edge technological solutions like Google for work migration services, and a deep understanding of your business objectives are signs that you have found a great consultant to work with.

Why Small Business

Most small business owners would benefit by electing to hire a business consultant, particularly if they are just starting up or if their business is not doing as well they hoped it would. Consultants can help you in many ways, offering the breadth of their experience in business start-ups and management to enable you to get off to the best possible start or to rescue a failing business that nevertheless has good potential.

Business Consultant Services

When you hire a business consultant you are hiring experience and expertise in a wide range of business elements. They can bring a new perspective to your business in terms of operation analysis, obtaining finance, strategic planning, management consulting and a great deal more.

Very few small owners have much business knowledge or acumen, and even fewer contacts in the business world that can help them with good advice. Business consultancy services can offer you these missing ingredients that can not only turn a failing company round into a successful enterprise, but can also build on the success of a successful firm and enable it to even further dominate its market.

So your small business need not be failing for you to make the best use of a business consultant – successful businesses also employ them to accelerate what may already be a rapid growth rate.

Why Hire a Business Consultant?

  • Have you just started up and are unsure where to go next?
  • Is your business losing money?
  • Do you understand your market but lack some necessary business skills?
  • Is your business growing but you want it to grow faster?
  • Have you reached a point where you need professional help to advance?
  • Have you a need find out more about your customers’ needs?

If you can identify with any of these situations then a business consultant can help you. Here are some of the benefits hiring a business consultant can offer:

  • Starting up a new business from scratch
  • Maximizing the profitability of your business
  • Locating areas of your business needing specific attention
  • Identifying potential problems and being proactive in resolving them
  • Helping you to formulate strategic and systematic plans to enable your business to grow
  • Making best use of marketing and the USPs of your products or services
  • Helping you find finance to develop your business
  • Providing you with new ideas and strategies you had never thought of yourself
  • A business consultant provides the knowledge and know-how currently missing in your business

Although you may believe hiring a business consultant to be expensive, they are more affordable than you might believe. They are very cost effective and what you spend in fees you can make many times over in improvement in efficiency and profitability.

There are no doubts that hiring a business consultant can benefit your business, but to make the best use of such as service you should:

a) Hire the best you can afford – with good references and an excellent track record, and

b) Learn from them: how do they operate, what techniques are they using and what third party services, websites or software do they use.

Hiring is fine, but make sure that you learn from them as much as possible. While the major reason why business owners need to hire a business consultant is that they genuinely need help, it doesn’t make sense to pay money and fail to learn how to copy their techniques and understand the third party services that they may use.

The Gung Ho Approach: Try it and See What Happens!

Many entrepreneurs use a gung-ho trial-by-fire approach to improving their business – see what happens and if it works, then great, but if not, then start again. Why? Why try to reinvent the wheel and prove what is already known? By employing the services of a business consultant you can get off to a flying start, have any problems you encountered resolved immediately and get on to making more money as quickly as possible.

What you lose in ‘learning for yourself’ would be better spent on outsourcing your business knowledge and would offer a better return than the cost of learning. So, if you feel that you need a bit more knowledge than you already have, don’t wait until you have learned by trial and error, but pay for it and get on with building a successful and profitable business.

Conclusion

Hiring a business consultant can offer a business many benefits – whether that is a new start-up, a failing business or a successful concern. Every business can improve, and if you believe the financial benefit exceeds the outlay, then it’s a no-brainer.

So take that burden off your shoulders and pass it on to somebody with the breadth of experience and proven ability to make the changes and improvements that you need to let you sleep easily at night without worry for yourself and your employees. That’s why small business owners need to hire a business consultant. To teach them what they don’t know!