Let’s face it, hiring consultants used to mean one of a few things, and most of those were objectionable. You spent a lot of money to learn next to nothing, you were sold one thing and another was delivered, or you were sucked into an endless series of up sells that never really brought any good to the bottom line.
Sound about normal?
For too long, it has been.
That’s why more and more companies are careful when hiring consultants.
When should my small business hire a consultant or contractor?
That answer is different for all companies, but the short answer of when to bring in contractors or consultants is when your business may have exactly the right amount of staff for handling daily activities, but an upcoming project may require additional people and skill sets. If your current staff is unable to manage the day-to-day activities and take on additional projects, you may need to hire a contractor for the duration of a project. If you are experiencing growth and need to see how that growth can impact your business – and where you need to be spending time – that is exactly the time to start meeting with a consultant
If your business is very small, however, you may want to hire longer term consultants and contractors. Startups often hire bookkeepers, graphic designers, project managers and legal counsel as consultants or independent contractors. These professionals will be around for the long-haul to provide necessary services, but they are not full-time members of your staff.
Which tasks should my company hire a consultant or contractor to handle?
Generally, smart small businesses focus on what they do best. What is your core business? Hire full-time employees for these areas first, and then consider outsourcing other tasks that aren’t in your niche.
Most businesses outsource tasks that fall into two general categories: highly skilled and highly repetitive. Highly skilled tasks include financial analysis and IT support. Highly repetitive tasks include data entry and accounts payable. Which tasks in these categories could you delegate to a consultant or contractor?
How do I find the right consultants or contractors for my business?
Now, here’s the easy part. Whether you need help with business and financial advice, market/competitor research, expansion strategy, business plans or financial models, you can always locate the professionals you need, and, even better, you can fully vet them and save yourself a lot of hassle. You carry out a google search or even go by word of mouth recommendation.
Now, of course, the key question is always going to be
“What areas can the consultant help me in when it comes to consulting and planning?
The short answer? All of them. As a small business owner, you know that you need help not only in the business, but also in the business strategy, growth strategies, financial planning, professional development, risk assessments, you name it.
There are only 168 hours in the week, you need to make the most of them, focus on your strengths and let the experts help you with theirs!