I just finished searching the web for business and marketing consultants, and also as a professional Business Consultant, I was left confused and skeptical. The profession is apparently filled with those that over-promise, have little experience, plus some who only desire to sell you anything but knowledge based on experience. Fortunately, beneath the rubble, there are anyone who has spent a lifetime running a business and who are practicing professional consultants with a great deal to offer the right customers. Since that is my business, I decided it might be time and energy to offer my observations on why you may want a professional consultant, and how you can benefit.
I am a Business Development, Strategic Planning, and Marketing consultant. I specialized in helping small to mid-sized companies review their current activities and providing Critical Analysis, Strategic Planning and Implementation guidance in my areas of expertise. My goal is to help small company and mid-sized companies grow by understanding where they’re today, where they would like to go, and exactly how to get there.
With the disclosure out of the way, let me provide my guidance on hiring a business consultant, what things to look for, and what to expect for your time and money.
1) EXPERTISE: The single most important reason to hire another business consultant is to generate expertise you don’t already have in house.
Most people have a background within their industry, and many have experience in several industries. Andrew Leinoff Reviews have experience with 10 or 15 products within that industry, but knowledge, experience and practical management of a broader range of products, from over 100 companies, and building marketing and distribution in diverse markets such as THE UNITED STATES, Europe and Asia is experience few people have.
When you search for a consultant you want anyone who has a breadth of knowledge and experience that exceeds everything you already have. Along with bringing a fresh or different perspective to your analysis and strategic planning, a consultant should bring knowledge that is outside the scope of one’s current environment.
By attracting someone with an array of knowledge and experience within their area of expertise you supplement your current knowledge base. Most companies already have excellent people on staff performing their duties in the areas of business development, marketing and sales. Limitations occur due to the ‘box’ where we work. You as well as your staff are running full speed ahead to maintain with the demands of one’s business. In many cases, you’re putting out fires as quickly as they ignite (if you’re lucky). This environment dictates that you concentrate on the job at hand. Once you and your staff meet, you are discussing real issues that need immediate solutions. There’s little time to research what other companies are doing and what’s successful or not for them.
A consultant should bring an ‘out of the box’ perspective to your table as soon as they walk in the entranceway. They may not understand the minutia of one’s business immediately, but through discussion plus some research they will bring new perspective and suggestions to your problem solving and business planning process. Their expanded world view will open new doors of opportunity for your organization and offer ideas which have proven successful in other environments.
2) ECONOMICS: The second probably reason to hire an expert business development consultant is saving money.
Hiring the expertise you will need for every aspect of your business development process isn’t only impractical, but impossible.
When we need professional expertise we either outsource or bring about new staff. Today, in this economy, hiring new staff is a luxury most small business cannot afford. Outsourcing is a superb alternative, and in the case of consultants, a highly affordable alternative.
In addition to bringing immediate knowledge, consultants bring all of the great things about outsourcing. Taxes and Benefits are the responsibility of the consultant and never carried as overhead by the company. Costs are controlled and will fit your budget. Hiring and firing are as simple as picking up the phone. No job search, no severance. Consultants are often available when you want them and expendable once you do not. For most that description is really a little uncomfortable, but a specialist consultant is an independent business person (or company) who works at the pleasure of YOU.
In addition to all the benefits of outsourcing, a specialist consultant brings immediate payback. Duplicating the expertise of a good consultant might require 3, 5 and even 8 different positions to be filled by experienced managers. Each position requires training and integration into the organization. One expert not merely provides the knowledge-base of these positions, but also hits the bottom running.
Finally, regarding an excellent consultant’s hourly or daily fee. My experience is they are usually priced at the amount of a senior partner in a law firm or regional accounting firm. When compared to the cost of hiring that same expertise on a long-term basis, they’re almost always a bargain.