Business owners avoid hiring consultants for a number of reasons:
- They believe they can’t afford one;
- They aren’t sure how they could use one; and,
- They are clueless about what a consultant brings to the table.
Granted, there are consultants in the business world who are more concerned about how much they’re getting paid than the level of service they’re providing. Know they are the exception rather than the rule. A professional consultant will add more money to the company’s coffers than it costs to engage their services.
Think of professional consultants as your external team. You have your internal team, such as your vice presidents, sales managers, bookkeepers, operations manager, and other personnel. The consultant’s role is to augment those internal players with an independent, third party perspective.
So, here are the reasons why you should hire professional consultants:
- Their job is to add value to your business endeavor.
- They can help you enhance your bottom line.
- They can fill gaps and serve your needs.
- They have a strong relationship with you and your team.
- They communicate with you on a consistent, open, and honest basis.
- They complement and advocate for what you are trying to do.
- Their task is to put more money on your corporate bottom line.
- They are a great sounding board for helping you make smart decisions.
Here’s another way to think about it: Imagine your business and how it can be compared to a professional sports team. You pick the sport. Now, to win the championship in that sport – to be the best in your business or industry – you obviously need to have good or great players and a top notch team. You may be the greatest owner, but how would your team fare without a coach? Or an equipment manager? Or someplace to play? Or an opponent?
Your external business team includes a host of professionals, as illustrated on the star diagram. One to add would be an investment representative to handle your retirement, or exit plan, and that of your employees.
One member of the team is your accountant. Their job is to review your financial statements on a monthly basis and counsel you on cash flow, profit-and-loss, or other concerns they see in your income statement and balance sheet. They are also there to assist with payroll concerns and other issues that concern you, so use your accountant to address sales, expenses, and other aspects of your business … instead of letting things merely happen to you.
Your legal counsel is another professional available to you. Unfortunately, most business owners wait until a claim or lawsuit is filed before they contact their attorney. Your lawyer should review contracts, especially employment, confidentiality, non-compete agreements, and sales agreements to protect your assets. Few business owners realize that legal counsel can amend contracts written by a vendor or client to ensure that your rights and property are protected in a fair and equitable manner.
While you would like to avoid the costs associated with an accountant or lawyer, they are legitimate and valuable expenses to make on behalf of your company and the bottom line. Consider the loss you could incur if your accountant was incompetent and failed to discover discrepancies in your reported revenues. Or what damage might occur if you avoided having your legal counsel review a multi-million dollar contract that later resulted in an expensive trial.
Your business and/or marketing consultant can also be a valuable asset for your business. A company such as Brand Irons can augment skills that your company needs, either on a permanent basis or until such time as you hire a qualified and competent employee to fill the specific role. Putting together a financing package that is attractive to an investor is often best completed by an independent, third party such as a business planner. If they incorporate a sound marketing strategy as part of the plan, the odds of receiving funding increase significantly. They can also prove valuable in ensuring your advertising expenditures are done in such a way as to garner results.
Your insurance agent, and banker or private investor are also part of your external team and provide you with valuable insight to tactics that can save on the expense side while increasing revenue on the income side.
Your consultants bring additional resources and relationships to the engagement that you may ordinarily be excluded from even knowing about. They become an advocate for your business and your products and/or services; in essence, going to bat for you against the competition. They can answer questions and explain concerns you may have from a different perspective, and we have found that one of the best perspectives we can offer clients is that of their customers. You must always look at whatever you do in terms of your customers, for without them you are out of business.
Take the time to talk to your consultants and think things through: They exist to help you improve the bottom line and not to take away from it.