Have you ever started a consulting firm?

7 reasons why your company needs a consultant

If you ever feel like something is missing from your company, it may be time to bring in an SMB consultant to fill that void.

SMBs are used to making all decisions about their businesses and overseeing all aspects of business development and day-to-day operations. However, sometimes they do not see the "forest for the trees" - that is, they see the problems that only outsiders can objectively observe and understand.

One solution is to use consulting services for SMEs, either by a company or by an individual consultant. I keep hearing from founders that a consultant is helping a small business focus more on growth by getting those "trees" out of the way.

How do consultants most often help small businesses?

As a company, you may only need help in certain key areas. That means hiring a part-time consultant or two rather than hiring a full-time consultancy that provides comprehensive advice and tips for small businesses. Here are some common areas where counseling services can be of significant benefit.

1. Business development and planning

Whether you've just started a startup or have run your own business for years, the path to reaching the next level of growth may not be clear.

By working with accredited consultants for SMEs, a company can get help in choosing the best business model for specific products or services. Qualified consultants can also help create a business plan that can boost fundraising and help with the startup and growth processes.

2. Business strategy

A consultant for SMEs can also serve as a brand strategist. One of the most challenging aspects of owning your own business is knowing exactly how you can help your business grow, develop, and mature.

For example, should you expand your business domestically, or go beyond that and settle in other countries? Does it make sense to add more product lines or work with another brand? A management consultant can help you answer such questions. In addition to helping you plan your SMB growth journey, a consultancy can recommend specific tactics to help you achieve those goals.

3. Sales and Marketing

A consultant who specializes in small business marketing and sales can help you create a marketing plan, including how to approach social media, influencer marketing, SEO practices, sales tactics, and content marketing.

It helps if the consulting practice knows about your industry or niche and understands which tools, platforms and tactics work for your target group. You should also have a successful track record of creating and managing campaigns.

4. Human resources and recruitment

Talent acquisition and personnel issues have become more complex and critical to the success of a company. The talent pool is not always as big as you would like it to be. It is therefore helpful to work with a management consultant who has the connections and talent referrals to fill the skills and experience gaps in the company.

Nowadays, the HR department also has to deal with other complex issues, such as: B. How to properly deal with inclusion, diversity, sexual harassment and new types of benefits, as well as new workplace policies that address remote working, teleworking and freelance talent.

As this small business role has become more complicated, a consultant who understands the problems and possible solutions will help your business cope with much-needed efficiencies.

5. Crisis management and problem solving

Some of the most seasoned entrepreneurs, were not prepared for all of the unexpected and even anticipated situations and problems that would arise over time.

The pandemic is a dramatic example of the kind of situations that can arise out of nowhere, leaving you at a loss on how to properly manage the crisis and keep your business going. Other examples could be a security breach, natural disaster, industrial accident, customer injury or illness caused by your product, and more.

While you will never be fully prepared for every possible crisis, a business consultant who specializes in crisis management can help you address the problem. If nothing has happened yet, consider yourself lucky, but know that it is only a matter of time.

A business consultant can also help you manage contingencies by creating a business continuity plan, identifying your weaknesses, and suggesting ways to address them before the disaster strikes. This kind of proactive help will position you better in case of another year like 2020.

6. Finance and Cash Flow

From small business accounting processes to high-level financial and cash flow analysis, corporate finances can be a complex topic. Hiring an accountant eliminates many of these headaches.

Certification provides the necessary credibility so that you can trust an advisor to handle your finances. He can point you where to reconsider your spending, while also giving you tips on building an emergency fund, retirement accounts, and better tax planning processes.

7. IT and security

Another critical area of ​​your company is information technology and security management. From an expansive online presence to the need to work remotely - combined with an increase in data breaches - taking care of your IT systems is more important than ever.

You and your company can bear significant financial responsibility when hackers steal customer data. You also need to know about the new data protection regulations, including that of the European Union, as your business could attract customers from all over the world.

A management consultant who specializes in IT and security can help you close your knowledge and skills gaps in this area and help you protect your own data and that of your customers. In doing so, you can ensure that your hard-earned earnings are not lost in fines, fines, and security breach lawsuits.

How to determine if your company needs a consultant

There's a ton of support out there for your startup or small business. It's helpful to know, but do you really need a consultant right now? Here are some signs that it is time to seek help from an expert.

Hopeless situation

Whether you are just starting out or have been in business for years, you may feel stuck or lost. The map you used for your growth journey is blank with no specific destinations, signposts, or even an end point.

Lack of skills

The many hats you've worn have served you well, but as your business has evolved you have realized that you are lacking in some skills. These lack of skills are now beginning to affect business performance, affecting your competitive advantage or increasing your business risk.

Crisis mode

Do you know it when everything gets out of hand? Well that happened and now you don't know how to solve the problems. They won't just go away if you ignore them. This crisis can affect your bottom line, your brand, your sustainability, or all of these factors.

The good thing about advising small businesses is that you can find plenty of subject matter experts to help you in one or more specific areas. From security and strategy to financial planning, you can find a business consultant for every need. Now is the time to get the help you know you need. Not sure where to look? Start with other entrepreneurs who will give you recommendations. Also look for consulting firms and specialists on professional network sites and in online directories. Once you find the advisors who suit your needs, not only will you see the forest for the trees, but you will also be able to enlarge it.