Understanding the Benefits of Small Business Consulting
Are you a new entrepreneur that needs help growing your business, helping you getting unstuck, or getting your business off the ground? Whether you’re new business or have been around for years, small business consulting can be an excellent way to get to the next level and grow with less stress.
What Is Small Business Consulting?
Business consultants offer their guidance and a wide range of skills to help your company with problem-solving so you can grow and optimize your results. As a small business owner, you have your hands full. You’re likely wearing many hats. A good small business consultant will help you escape the day to day traps in a business and help optimize your business ideas so you can have a greater impact in the market.
Small business consultants are not full-time employees that you keep on the payroll. They are independent contractors that you can work with for a set period to help your business overcome specific obstacles. The experience and knowledge of a professional consultant provide invaluable insight for your company and ideally buy you speed and results. Their purpose is to evaluate your company in the area, or areas, where you require help to identify problems and create solutions that can be implemented to see real results.
Consultants assist you in achieving your goals and growing your business. They supplement the staff you have and teach valuable skills to initiate positive changes. You can of course get a generic consultant, or with a consultant that has a specialty in an area of concern such as marketing, accounting, sales, finance, or public relations.
There’s also a new type of hybrid-small business consultant that combines a powerful track record of success helping their clients, with a focus on helping it’s clients get more new clients, sales, referrals, and a heavy focus on business development.
Why Use a Small Business Marketing Consultant?
Marketing is an area that many small business owners can struggle with, yet it is essential to achieve success. A marketing consultant provides you with the strategic thinking and solutions you need to elevate your sales and cut unnecessary costs.
Your consultant will usually start with a focus on market research, your current marketing plan, workflow to generate leads, sales, and profits, and then give a custom blueprint and direction to help you see results.
A new hybrid type of small business consultant can also go way beyond traditional management consulting or coming up with a marketing or business plan. In addition to providing guidance or recommendations, these new hybrid small business consultants provide a team to help you implement.
Because things are changing so quickly in business today, hiring this type of small business consultant can make sense for Founders and CEOs.
It gives you access to the resources you need to more quickly adapt to all the marketing shifts in the market today and the pricing is typically a fraction of the cost of trying to hire a full time team member. It’s like having a co-pilot working with you side by side to help you eliminate the bottlenecks, find the hidden blind spots, and help you connect the dots more quickly than going about it on your own.
And, when you hire the right small business consultant, you also eliminate some of the traditional human resources costs which not only serves established, fast growing companies, it also can be valuable for a start-up.
Consultants are an affordable solution that comes at little risk. You can immediately benefit from their professional assistance and create momentum for your company.
Small business consultants that specialize in a particular field, such as marketing additional, deeper insights. They can assist with identifying your ideal customer base and use data, machine learning, and AI to help you develop the right growth plan.
In addition, a good marketing consultant will help you develop methods to track your results. This is often called your Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs).
Your marketing consultant should have a proven track record helping its clients and experience in digital marketing, offline marketing, and inbound marketing. As you get started, they should be able to show you how a new marketing campaign will help you grow in less time.
Beware of marketing consultants that only offer to provide results in things that are vanity metrics. Today’s landscape makes it easy to portray success when it’s not really helping your business grow it’s revenue, sales, and profits. Make sure that your marketing consultant can provide you the tools to help you create models and campaigns that impact your revenue, growth, impact, and profits.
In fact, the right type of marketing consultant will act more like a Fractional CMO and provide you a team to help implement. It goes beyond traditional small business consulting or a traditional marketing agency. It brings the best of a marketing consultant, a Fractional CMO, and a marketing agency as a solution to your biggest problems with growth, client acquisition, sales, and profits.
And, in addition to the ideas, this new breed of marketing consultant meets Fractional CMO, meets marketing agency, can help you implement things like: email marketing, content writing, SEO, web development, tech integration, graphic design, copywriting, paid advertising and traffic, and more.
Types of Small Business Consulting Services
While small business marketing consulting may be the most common area to seek small business consulting services, there are other areas you can get help. It’s possible to find a consultant for almost any aspect of business and any niche. Beyond a marketing consultant, here are some of the many types of consultants to consider working with:
- General finance: Financial advice can come in handy and allow you to maximize your profits and potential. You can discuss asset acquisition, investments, and so much more.
- Legal: Legal consultants are crucial to make sure you comply with regulations, receive help on important documents and contracts, and quickly resolve legal matters.
- Accounting and bookkeeping: Get assistance with creating budgets, processing payroll, completing your taxes, and more.
- Sales: Learn how to manage your sales team effectively and choose appropriate marketing to increase numbers.
- Project management: This is another common reason to hire small business consulting services. Get help to improve your efficiency or launch a new product.
- IT: Most businesses can’t run without technology. This type of consultant will help you get set up and connected so you can get your work done. Regular maintenance is a good idea to stay updated and get the latest software and protection available.
- Reporting and data analysis: Learning how to gather your available data and analyze it is a skill necessary for making good financial decisions.
- Strategic planning: The core purpose of small business consulting is to identify problems within a business and then plan out actionable solutions to correct them.
- Forecasting and predicting trends: All businesses, especially those just getting started, need to make projections for the short and long-term success of the company.
- Operations: Take a closer look at your daily operations to find ways to make them more efficient.
- Social media and online marketing: Having an established online presence can be the key to success. Modern life revolves around technology and connectivity. You can reach a greater audience and expand into new circles by participating in social media and taking your marketing campaign online.
- Creating an eco-friendly business: Concerns about the environment are getting more attention these days. Many businesses are looking to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and have a lower impact on the environment. Going green is a wonderful way to do your part to help the planet. Find ways to reduce waste and choose eco-friendly practices while lowering business costs.
- Minority or woman-owned businesses: These types of consulting services are excellent to help you get your new business running. Get help obtaining a loan or receive the training and counseling you need to turn your new endeavor into a successful business.
Think about the types of problems you are experiencing and what areas you need help in the most.
Do your questions and issues span several areas or are they limited to a specific operation?
Depending on your needs, you can hire a consultant with more general knowledge to act as an advisor. If you are trying to set up a new business, look for someone with experience doing so. For more specific needs, it is best to work with an expert with a more focused specialty.
Remember, you get what you pay for. The most expensive hire for your business is a bad hire. So make sure to choose wisely.
Benefits of Working with a Small Business Consultant
Small business consulting provides your business with a great many benefits. You can save time and money by buying speed, experience, and a track record. The strategy, information, and solutions they bring you is tried and tested, so there is minimal risk to your company. This lets you make fast changes that can deliver near-immediate outcomes, breakthroughs, and results.
Consultants with a proven track record of owning their own businesses can more easily understand the needs of a small business owner, founder, and CEO (maybe like you).
They can help you to avoid costly mistakes and make improvements based on quality, well thought out decisions, instead of guesswork. They are flexible, so you can hire a consultant for a project or specific timeframe. Once the agreement has been fulfilled, you part ways.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a small business consultant, aside from their professional knowledge, is the reduced stress you will experience. Trying to fulfill all the roles of a business is time-consuming and exhausting. The workload can be overwhelming and cause you to carry a great burden while attempting to get everything done. Not to mention the stress of navigating through a business process that is unfamiliar to you – or changing everyday. Consultants ease this workload and alleviate the stress.
A key factor in getting the results you want with a small business consultant is to get customized solutions to your problems that can be tailored to work for your company.
Beware of a one size fits all approach.
The consultant you work with will make suggestions based upon your specific challenges and problems, and provide you with a custom blueprint of what you need to succeed – instead of following a generic business model that can’t possibly work for every company.
What works for you may be different than what has worked for other businesses in the past. A good consultant will recognize that and keep your business values and goals in mind when constructing and implementing solutions.
How Consulting Services for Small Business Works
Small business consulting services typically follow the same model, no matter what types of services and aspects of your business are being addressed. Once you select the consulting firm you want to work with, choose a service or package that fits with what you are looking for. This could be setting a period to work together, or securing the consultant’s services for the duration of a specific project.
After you hire your small business consulting service, the individual or team gets to work. The first stage involves a lot of research to learn about your business and to get a greater understanding of the current market and industry standards. Discuss your goals in advance so the consultant understands what to pay close attention to.
Next, your small business consultant begins to evaluate your business to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They will take a 360 degree view of the business and look at every aspect to understand what is working well, what could use some improvement and any potential bottle necks and blind spots.
The main benefit of a consultant is their ability to look at your business and processes objectively and develop solutions that work. As a CEO, Founder and business owner, it is sometimes difficult to see your own blind spots or bottle necks. As Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.””
A small business consultant can bring you new solutions to help you grow with less stress.
Discuss the findings with your consultant and listen to their ideas and the actions they recommend.
Together you can design a new business blueprint and implement the necessary changes.
How to Select a Small Business Consulting Firm
There are many types of small business consulting firms available, so how do you choose what is best for your company? Follow these steps and criteria when selecting the right consulting firm for your needs.
Before you meet with any prospective candidates, you must first take stock of your business’ needs and decide what you want to accomplish. Get clear about the areas of your operations that you want to address and how much input you require. Make a list of both short-term and long-term goals that you want to achieve.
Another consideration is the length of time you require assistance. Do you have a timeframe that you need to stick to or are you more flexible? If you are working with a hard deadline, such as the intended opening date of your new business, then the availability of your consultant is a major concern. Find out when they can begin working with you and if they will be available to you full time once you reach an agreement.
Do your research when you are searching for small business consulting services. Check into the background and qualifications of any service you are considering. Find out how long the individual or firm has been in the business, where they gained their knowledge, and what kind of experience they have.
When you find a promising candidate, set up a meeting to speak together and ask all of your questions. This is a crucial step to determine whether or not you will be a good fit. The consultant you hire will be working closely with you and in charge of sensitive and important information about your business. You need to be able to trust them and feel comfortable with their role in your company.
Find out more about the candidate’s specialty areas and past successes. Ask if they have experienced success in the past with a company similar to yours. You can also discuss the methods that the consultant prefers when doing their work to determine if they seem like a good fit.
Superior qualifications and skills are essential in a good consultant, but so is their character. Get a sense of your candidate’s personality and communication style. They should have excellent interpersonal skills as well. These qualities can make the difference between a good working relationship and a tense one.
Also, the new hybrid small business consultant brings the combination of consultant, agency, and Fractional CEO or Fractional CMO team together as one to help you. Many times, you can also find a small business consultant like this that has smaller fees monthly with performance bonuses based on the results they create.
This helps you further eliminate or minimize risk. And, in this new hybrid model, if you’re largest portion of fees is from the results your small business or marketing consultant are bringing you, then any fees are just a small percentage of the gain you’re getting.
More and more specialty consultants are moving towards this new model.
If you would like to get helps to get more clients, and grow your business with less stress, Breakthrough3X can help. Schedule a Custom Business Blueprint session or contact us with your questions. We’ve helped over 5,000 Founders and CEOs from 180 niche industries, in 13 countries. Let’s talk and see how we can help you grow your business and escape the day to day.