You may think that business consultants are only useful for larger, established companies, that have seen performance plateau or sales stagnate and require help to guide them in the right direction.
However, what you may not realise is that business consultants can be equally effective when working with new businesses. In fact, using the services of an experienced consultant as a new business embarks on its exciting venture is often overlooked, yet this is probably the most important stage in the business’s lifecycle.
What is a business consultant?
A business consultant is a professional with expertise and extensive experience in specific business disciplines. They use their skills and knowledge to provide trustworthy, impartial advice in their specialist areas to businesses. They act as trouble shooters, and are adept at finding the source of problems, creating solutions and optimising performance.
The consulting process is divided into three stages: Firstly, the pre-consulting stage, where the business owner and consultant agree the terms, parameters and contract. Secondly, the consulting period which usually includes discovery, research and recommendations. And finally, the post-consulting stage, where the business implements the recommendations.
Why would I need a business consultant?
As an owner of a start-up you won’t necessarily have the experience of the trials and tribulations that starting a new business from scratch presents. A business consultant on the other hand, specifically one who specialises in new businesses, will. A consultant can provide an impartial and external view of a business which can be both informative and extremely beneficial. Or looking at it another way, a business consultant is a cost effective way of acquiring expert business knowledge in an area where it is lacking.
It is important before you choose a business consultant to ascertain why you need one and what you expect to achieve by hiring one. Once you have done this you should do some thorough research to ensure you select a business consultant with the necessary expertise and experience in the specific sector you need addressing. By hiring the right business consultant, the money your business saves or makes should far exceed the cost of the consultancy service. However, if you hire the wrong business consultant you can end up wasting money, time and effort.
In which areas can a business consultant help?
Business consultants can apply their expertise to all business areas, from management and operations, to IT and HR to name just a few.
How much help is needed in the chosen area will depend on the skill base and resources already available in that field. A new business for example, may already have someone in charge of marketing, but they need advice and support in a specific area of marketing such as market research. Therefore, in this case, a consultant is brought in specifically for this and will provide insight and market intelligence into the business’s customers, its competitors and industry trends. Another key area where business consultants are being utilised more often by new businesses is for strategic planning. Here they can devise a strategy and if needed, implement it.
As a new business owner, you may have a perception that business consultants are expensive and at this early stage you can’t afford the services of one. If that is the case, just remember that when it comes to making mistakes in business, prevention is always going to be far cheaper than the cure.
If you would like to speak to a business consultant regarding your business please visit our consultancy page.