Congrats! Your small business is growing. Projects are bigger, profits are up, and you’re headed into the new year excited about the future. You’re proud of the success—but what’s that nagging feeling waking you up at night? Is it time to hire a business consultant?

Business growth has a way of throwing unexpected curve balls like missed deadlines and projects over budget. Also, changed workloads increase employee tension and before long your once efficient work environment begins to feel rough around the edges.

Low performance can sting.

Are you at the point where major changes need to be made in your process improvement? Does it seem like the ‘gods of complexity’ have targeted your business?

You’re not alone. No matter what your industry, there’s a long list of challenges businesses face today including: ever increasing customer demands, complicated regulations and never-ending technology changes.

Turning to an external consultant to meet these challenges is being ‘baked in the cake’ of more and more small to midsize businesses—and they’re often finding help close to home.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “Some of the best people in consulting, work in small firms. The reason is that the best people prefer the autonomy and impact that they can have there.”

A good business consultant helps you understand the impact of change.

Change has consequences. Good consultant services should focus on where you are ‘now’ before moving ahead. That may seem counterproductive—especially if you know what you want to do. However, a business consultant worth hiring knows the hidden costs of ‘jumping ahead’ without understanding your current process.

Hidden costs of moving ahead without good planning can include:

  • Purchasing the wrong software.
  • Creating more employee disruptions than necessary.
  • Wasting more time and resources than needed to achieve your outcome.

Good consultants ‘map’ where you are now.

Mapping provides a current visual of different areas of your business. Think of it as an inoculation against wandering down side roads that lead your business to unnecessary costs. Also, there’s value in getting away from your internal team, who may be too close to the process to give an unbiased perspective.

When searching for an expert strategic consulting partner look for:

  • A consultant ‘unafraid’ to tell you what you may not want to hear. In the end, you make the final decision based on a combination of honest expert analysis and information.
  • Capabilities to prioritize what best meets your goals and objectives for growth. A ‘stumble’ here could be costly.
  • Expertise in defining department and personnel and the ability to formulate department/process goals.
  • Experience pulling together timelines for implementation, training and roll-out.
  • Assistance in project management/deployment, providing updates and task management to keep projects moving forward.
  • Many mapping capabilities, departments, and leadership/management teams.
  • Knowledge in numbers. You’ll need good data analysis, ROI, and RPE (revenue per employee) calculations to help fine tune project and process management changes.
  • Proof of concept development—including software demonstrations.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure the consultant has a proven track record and a list of successful projects—you’ll want to be as selective as you are with hiring key employees.

Choose a consulting service with your future in mind!

The new year is around the corner. Now may be time to consider combining the solid foundation and framework you’ve built for your business with a consultant’s clear, focused outside perspective. Think of it as two ‘complimenting forces’ coming together to take your business to the next level.

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