By Amy Collett.
Entrepreneurs are known for wearing many hats, but are you taking on too much? A DIY approach saves money while launching a business, but at some point, running your company as a one-man or one-woman show only stifles its growth.
That’s not to say you should race to hire a full staff the second a business becomes too much to handle alone. Hiring prematurely puts a stranglehold on cash flow at a time you need it most and leaves companies vulnerable to bad hiring decisions.
Why Hire Consultants?
Consultants provide much-needed expertise to organizations without the long-term commitment of an employee. Because consultants are highly-skilled in their field, they’re efficient at diagnosing problems and devising practical solutions to solve business problems. They’re also a valuable source of objectivity when making important business decisions.
4 Types of Consultants and Why You Need Them
Strategic consulting clarifies a business’s long-term goals and defines the short-term steps required to achieve them. Strategy consultants work closely with the executive team to ensure the organization’s goals, finances, and infrastructure are aligned.
When to hire a strategy consultant
Are you creating a strategic plan for the first time, revisiting your strategic plan after a period of growth, or struggling to execute a strategic plan? A business strategy consultant is the right person to call. Strategy consultants also help organizations identify opportunities and develop strategies to optimize performance.
Business consultants examine a company’s organizational structure, internal operations, and workflows to solve productivity challenges. The best business consultant will have expertise in your industry or with the specific problem you’re trying to solve.
When to hire a business consultant
Take productivity problems for example: Is productivity dropping even though staffing has remained the same? It could be the result of inadequate technology or training, or cultural issues could be giving rise to a lack of accountability. A business consultant will examine how employees spend their time and set you up with tools to track time effectively and make sure off-site employees are clocked in only while working.
Your business consultant will also take a look at other time inefficiencies and suggest solutions accordingly. They may recommend, for instance, that you implement ERP software to automate key functions of business like accounting and product delivery, which keeps you from having to spend the time it takes to input numbers and generate reports.
Working with a financial consultant is a must for businesses without a CFO. Financial consultants are experts in all things money — something the majority of US adults admit they don’t know enough about. They examine how money moves in and out of your business to improve budgeting, cash flow, and tax planning and keep your business solvent.
When to hire a financial consultant
A lot of business owners turned to financial consultants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did pandemic-related business closures call for new financial strategies, businesses also sought out consultants for help navigating pandemic relief funds.
Information Technology Consultants
Information technology consultants are among the most-in demand professionals in today’s business environment. Businesses are undergoing a rapid digital transformation and need the expertise of IT consultants to implement new technologies and bolster cybersecurity.
When to hire an IT consultant
Cybersecurity is a topic that’s been on executives’ minds for several years now, but as companies embrace remote work, the need for stronger cybersecurity practices has grown urgent. If you still have a bring-your-own-device policy, are using single-factor authentication, or let employees work remotely without a VPN, it’s time to talk to an IT consultant about how you can protect your organization from undue risk.
No one is an expert in everything. Whether you need to get to the root of a problem, improve your bottom line, or build a roadmap for your company’s future, consultants can help. The next time you need help with a tough business decision, hire a consultant and let experience guide the way.
Amy Collett is creator of Biz Well, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand.
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