The most successful entrepreneurs in the world have all said, in one way or another, that one of their greatest strengths is knowing what they don’t know and surrounding themselves with a team of experts that do.
As a small business owner, you have many core competencies, which allow you to wear the many different hats your business needs you to wear. But as all businesses grow, new challenges emerge that require different skill sets, and you will no longer be able to ‘do it all.’ If you are currently living this reality, feel that your business is “stuck”; or your business is starting to suffer setbacks, these are signs that your business needs an outside opinion on what’s holding it back by an expert whose expertise is businesses.
At a high level, that is what business consulting services offer your small business: expert advice tailored specifically to your exact business needs, a step-by-step strategy that will take it to that next level and the resources you need to get there. In other words, a small business consultant provides solutions.
What Are Consulting Services?
There are consultants in every aspect of business operation, including:
- Business development and planning.
- Business strategy.
- Project management.
- Human resources.
- Sales and marketing.
- Reporting & forecasting.
- IT & cybersecurity.
Consultants fulfil a crucial role for businesses of all sizes and benefit them in three vital ways:
- Providing subject matter expertise needed by the business.
- An outside perspective that itself provides numerous benefits.
- Cost-effective support that pays for itself several times over.
Small business owners often retain small business consultants to give them advice on strategy and problem solving and to help them avoid common business mistakes.
What Does a Business Consultant Do?
In general, there are three phases during a consultation, discovery, evaluation and implementation.
The first step in a business consultation is the discovery phase, where the consultant’s goal is to learn as much as they can about the business by :
- Visiting the workplace.
- Meeting with management and employees.
- Analyze the business’s finances. This is one of the benefits of hiring a consultant who is also in accounting for small businesses.
- Read all company materials.
During the discovery phase, the business consultant analyzes the business’s mission and current operations.
After the discovery phase, the consultant has an understanding of the business and is then able to work to identify where change is needed. This phase includes identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses while identifying foreseeable problems.
The consultant also examines established issues identified by the owner, management and employeees .
The business consultant will then find solutions while aiming to grow the business, increase profits, and boost efficiency.
Communication and Feedback Are Crucial
During the evaluation phase, your entire team must keep an open dialogue with the consultant.
During the feedback phase, It’s understandable that feedback may freel like a personal attack, especially considering how much everyone has invested of themselves into the business. But that is precisely why a consultant is needed, to provide an unbiased outside opinion. This absence of a broader perspective can stifle positive change and growth;
It’s also understandable for people receieving feedback to feel afraid that the problems the business is facing will be “blamed” on them. It’s extremely rare that one single individual is entirely to blame for the business’s poor performance, just as the business’s success is not due to one person.
Once your company and the consultant agree on a plan, which may also require creating a financial plan, your business should now enter the third phase: implementation of the plan. During this phase, the consultant revisits, monitors and evauluates the plan’s progressto make any necessary amendmendts.
How a Small Busines Can Benefit From Consulting Services
Hiring a business consultant can provide many benefits to a company. One of the most important is leveraging insights and expertise learned by studying and consulting other clients and industries,.
Some small business consultants can also provide:
- New business setup
- Register your business with the Government of Canada, CRA, WSIB.
- Provide you with llicensing resources.
- Strategic business decisions.
- Design new campaigns and business plans.
- B usiness mergers and acquisitions.
- Staying on budget is crcial to a company’s success. A small business consultant can find areas of capital waste in your spending and provide more efficient solutions for those expenses.
- Analyze your current consumer base for the most profitable demographic and find ways to duplicate it in other demo or realize further growth in that demo.
- business planning and implementation to
- A professional and objective business valuation.
- The purchase, sale or reorganization of a business.
- Shareholder and partnership agreements.
- Matrimonial settlements and estate proceedings.
- Accounting software selection and implementation,
- Business valuations
- Buying/selling a business
- Business process improvement
- Computer systems
- Financial & retirement planning
- Estate planning.