Here’s a question for you small to medium-sized business owners: Have you ever seriously considered hiring a business consultant? If your answer is no, I’ll bet I can guess at least some of your objections:
- They’re too expensive
- We can solve our own problems in time
- I could just hire another employee with that expertise
- They don’t know how MY business is run
- They don’t know how WE do what we do
Each of these objections is a valid concern, but none is a true reason not to bring in a consultant, even for a short-term engagement. Sure, hiring someone with the expertise of a consultant is an expense, but it’s also an investment in your company’s future success.
Whether it’s someone who specializes in a particular field (project management, human resources, manufacturing, IT, etc.) or a general business consultant who can help you with your entire operation, leaning on them for guidance isn’t admitting defeat — it’s showing you believe in your organization and want it to be the best it can be.
Still skeptical? Here are five facts that might change your mind:
1. Most consultants have been there, done that
Rarely, if ever, will you find a business consultant who is fresh out of college or embarking on their first career. The vast majority of consultants have shifted into this role after decades working in one or several fields. They’ve put in the hours, conquered the setbacks, and achieved the unachievable. Most left their positions as highly-respected, accomplished professionals with countless experiences under their belts. Chances are they’ve seen and done things you’ve never even imagined could happen in an organization. And rather than letting all of their skills and hard-earned knowledge go to waste, they’re now offering their expertise to business owners like you.
2. They bring a new perspective to your old problem
Let’s say you started your specialized widget business from scratch and have grown it to what it is today. You’ve never worked anywhere but in your widget plant, and you know every aspect of the operation. You even dream about widgets. That’s a good thing, but it’s also dangerous. You may have become so accustomed to the way things have always been done in your widget business that you can’t see the forest for the, well, widgets. A consultant may not have your expertise in widget-making, but he or she can look upon your operation with an objective eye and quickly pick up on problems you haven’t noticed.
3. They can introduce new methods and technologies
Not to pick on the widget plant owner, but if that’s all he’s ever done, has he taken the time to explore what’s going on in the outside world? Has he studied other non-widget manufacturing businesses to see how they do things? Does he know about emerging technology that could speed up production or get his sales team more leads? Probably not, especially if he’s been head-down in widgets all this time. A perk of a consultant’s work is being exposed to a wide range of organizations with a variety of problems. A consultant stays up-to-date on practices and programs that have worked with other clients, so he or she has a good idea of what to recommend to you.
4. They will be objective
If you expect a business consultant to come in and tell you what a great job you’re doing and that everything in your company is perfect, you probably shouldn’t hire one. In fact, you’re probably not even considering hiring a consultant because you don’t think your business has any issues at all. Truth be told, that can be one of the best reasons to bring in a consultant — to look at your overall operation with an objective eye and tell you honestly what you can do to improve. A consultant will tell you what he or she sees, and they won’t sugarcoat it. If there’s a problem, they’ll point it out, and offer recommendations to resolve it. If you’re doing something well, they’ll tell you so, and offer ideas to make it even better. It’s a win-win.
5. They can do some of the dirty work for you
Sometimes your company’s problem, whether you recognize it or not, stems from a person or team that isn’t pulling their weight. Maybe their position has become obsolete, or they’re just not performing the way they should. Perhaps your entire organization needs to be restructured. A consultant can bring these issues to light, and some will actually take on the responsibility of implementing the changes. Even if it’s a sound business decision and you know it’s what needs to be done, it can be hard for you to remain emotionally distanced. A consultant can inform employees in an unbiased, objective, non-political manner that removes you from the equation.
There are certainly more advantages to welcoming a business consultant to your team than these five, and we’ll cover more in future posts. Our Ad4! Group team believes in the power of business consultants — so much so that we’ve integrated Business Acceleration to our slate of strategic services. Our business consultant James Bishop has been helping business owners transform their companies for more than 30 years, and he can do the same for yours. Check out our Business Acceleration Strategies page for more information!