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Hiring a small business consultant can be one of a business owner's best moves. You went into business as an expert in what you do and offered your customers a fantastic product or service. Still, business involves many disciplines, and we can't always be an expert in all of them. So what is a small business consultant? If you've wondered what one is and what they do, this article will clarify.
A small business consultant is generally defined as someone who gives business owners advice on specific business areas, developing skills, and problem-solving. When hiring a business consultant, a business owner has identified areas of the business that can be improved or where the owner might feel they lack the necessary skills for that aspect of the company.
Sometimes we don't know what we don't know. A small business consultant might also come into a business to look over the company as a generalist and identify areas that deserve a further look or deep dive as improvement is likely.
The result of hiring a great small business consultant will always show on the bottom line. Whether the business becomes more operationally efficient, brings in more customers, or increases employee engagement, it always results in higher profit and happier owners.
The wonderful thing about business is that it is multi-discipline, which makes it always interesting, a great challenge, and new ways to improve can always be found. At the same time, the multi-disciplinary nature of business can be a very difficult or even bad thing about being in business. Owners can be outstanding at one thing and struggle in another area that severely impacts the business' viability.
When asking yourself, "what is a small business consultant?" think of someone who can improve the company's specific areas. There are many different types of business consultants, and they can range from an outsourced CFO to the online marketing expert that has created your web presence. Here are the various business areas that business consultants might have as their specialty.
A finance business consultant can find things hidden within the company's income statement that owners might not often know exist. If costs are trending in the wrong direction, you are growing beyond your ability to finance it, or company cash flow is tight, your finance pro finds those issues and helps resolve them. This consultant's primary purpose is to identify trending issues before they become big problems and set the company up for continued success. They can be one of the most extraordinary things for your company.
Pulling in more customers more efficiently is the name of the game. Not only does a marketing consultant strive to bring in more customers but also higher quality customers that perceive your brand positively and are willing to pay more for your products or services.
Marketing consultants can range from generalists to a specific focus, like online marketing and branding. A great marketing consultant works to up brand your company and capture more business at the lowest cost. You might be currently spending on forms of marketing that are expensive and inefficient that your consultant will replace with more efficient alternatives.
Operations can almost always be more efficient using methods you might not know yet. Lean operations, just-in-time manufacturing, and statistical modeling are just a few terms you might hear from your business operations consultant. When it is all said and done, they can move things more efficiently through the business, find ways to minimize inventory efficiently, cut costs, and better serve your customers.
Human capital is one of, if not the most important, part of your business. Employee satisfaction, pay scales, conflict resolution, and management structure can impact you across every function in the company. An HR consultant can help you find and retain the right people, train them, and make sure your business complies with federal and state employment laws.
Technology is pervasive in every type of company. It improves the quality of customer service, scheduling, operations, and data analytics are all areas that an IT consultant can change for the better if not add to the business in the first place.
You're always selling. If you have a sales team, training salespeople on workflows, new sales strategies, and new sales opportunities can grow your business and produce happier customers.
These are just some consulting disciplines and are generally the most important for your business. Other business consultants can get as specific as environmental, social media, and risk and compliance consulting.
Business consultants are usually business school graduates trained as generalists and having a specific discipline in which some additional training, education, or experience has been applied. Many have previously worked in their particular fields and moved to consulting to make a difference for business owners while doing what they love.
While they specialize in one area, they also know its impacts on other business practices within your business and how improvements in what they do can cascade across your entire company.
So what is a small business consultant? Think of them as one of the best investments you can make. Whether you know an area that needs improvement or are just curious about what improvement to certain aspects of your company might look like, great consultants can guide you, institute positive change, and improve the bottom line.