When to hire a small business consultant?

Updated: Nov 6, 2019

Small businesses have plenty of reasons for considering small business consulting—small business consultants can help you save time and money, provide specialized advice, navigate changing workloads, and plan for the future, among other things.

Some consultants are more like mentors and advisors, who work with small business owners on broad planning and strategy work. Others provide more specific, specialized services as subcontractors. According to Forbes, "rather than hiring for a position that maybe just part-time, like a marketing strategist or legal counsel, instead, consider retaining a consultant that is an expert in their field."

I am looking for a small business consultant. If that's your question, there are several essential and specific resources for small businesses in search of small business consulting.

As we all know, entrepreneurs, or at least most that start their first small business, often are do-it-yourself types. These individuals would prefer to be involved in every aspect of their operations, from choosing the toilet paper, staying up all night to keypunching the business tax returns. Business management is an essential aspect of any business. Still, many business owners find it difficult to delegate tasks to their employees and possibly towards the business consultant that they hire. However, time management is an essential commodity of owning a small business. If you're wasting too much time on a task that doesn't affect your bottom line, those non-essential business task, you can find assistance from a business consulting individual or firm.

What is one of the top 3 reasons a small business owner may not source the services of a consultant? Most small business owners face some financial strain, a situation that plagues most small businesses. As a result of these financial restraints, small business owners are often required to be jacks of all trades during the first months or years of operation. So when is it an excellent time to hire a small business consultant? Our answer is, anytime during the many business phases you encounter. However, as businesses mature and profits increase, many needs are better served by experts in the discipline. The ever-increasing complexities of information technology, the tax code, and the regulations and other legal aspects surrounding a business can be complicated to stay abreast of.

I know what you're thinking; how do I find the right business consultant? Word of mouth referrals are a common way to find good consulting help once you've determined you need it. If you're new to a particular area, local business groups or chambers of commerce might provide referral assistance. You can always reach out to a business consultant for a price quote, business specialty and more, if they pass you off as another number, then that may be a business consulting company that you want to blacklist. Once you've interviewed and selected a consultant, draw up a contract that addresses the areas in which you want to hire them for their services. Ensure your contract outlines the terms (time frame, description of services to provide, etc.) conditions of termination of the agreement. Maybe even a Statement of independent contractor status, confidentiality clauses, and non-disclosure clauses. If you are starting in business and cash flow is tight, but you need a consultant, consider bartering your services. If you run a restaurant, for example, you might agree to cater to a consultant's event for free or for a reduced rate in exchange for their services.

At the end of the day, it is your business and your choice, but just as you turn to a trusted friend for advice and sometimes they are not the expert on the subject at hand. If it's affordable, you should turn to a small business consultant that has the experience, knowledge, skills and network that can provide your small business with the assistance you need. As the client to that consultant, their only mission is to assist you in being successful, it's all about finding the business consultant that fits your business needs.

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