Many business owners scoff at the idea of hiring a consultant. Sometimes it’s a matter of pride. Oftentimes hiring a consultant means admitting that there’s something inside of your company that you don’t know how to do. Most entrepreneurs and business owners are jacks of all trades. They can do a lot of things well, so they’re used to being able and having the knowledge to handle all tasks inside their organization.
Sometimes, it’s a budgetary concern. Consultants are a cost, and companies are always looking at ways to cut costs, not add them on. Most often, though, the hesitance to hire a consultant isn’t about pride or budget, it’s about not understanding the value of a consultant or consulting firm.
So, why would you need a consultant? What are some of the types of things companies hire consultants to do?
Different Types of Consultants
There’s a vast network of consultants spanning different niches. You can hire a consultant for just about any purpose. By definition, a consultant is simply a person who offers expert advice. Often, consultants also offer additional implementation services, too. Here are a few different types of consultants you can hire.
- Business Consultants – These are probably what most people think about when they think of the word consultant. These are people who are experts at all things related to business. You can hire them to offer their expertise in the start-up phase of a company or at a stage where you’re looking for growth. Anytime you need some holistic, custom-tailored business advice; a business consultant is who you hire.
- Management Consultants– These consultants are a little different than business consultants because they specialize specifically in management. If you want to improve your executive teams and leaders and how they impact the company, a management consultant can do just that. These types of consultants are often hired when companies are experiencing high turnover rates or poor employee satisfaction ratings.
- Strategy Consultants- This one’s a big one, because strategy extends to several sectors. You can hire a marketing strategist, a branding strategist, a growth strategist, and more. Any area of your business that’s lacking a strategic foothold or plan can benefit from a strategy consultant.
- Operations Consultant- This type of expert is who you call when you need to improve efficiency and quality. If you’re running into productivity issues, deadline problems, or quality control challenges, these are the people you call in to help. They’re able to look at the organization from an outsider’s perspective and see how to improve inefficient operations.
- Sales Consultants– Sales is usually the heart of any organization, and when sales are plummeting, so is the company. Sales consultants come in and create processes, fix training issues, and offer techniques and tips for getting your sales back on track.
- Marketing Consultants- Like sales, marketing is an essential part of a thriving business. If your marketing initiatives aren’t working, you can call in a marketing consultant who can fix existing marketing efforts and implement new ones.
- IT Consultants- This one is by far the biggest consultant industry, and it’s growing. IT Consulting is a $376 billion industry, and it’s no surprise. Business tools are becoming increasingly more technical and digital, and often require expert integration. The umbrella of IT consulting covers everything from network security consulting, to data processing consulting, to Salesforce consulting, to full digital application integration, to computer programming, and more. Anything related to or revolving around the broad technology and software field, has consultants. More often than not, these digital advancements require expert implementation and oversight.
Do I Need a Consultant for My Business?
There are several reasons to hire a consultant.
- If your business is struggling in any fashion, it might be time to consider calling in an expert.
- If your business is doing great, but you’re finding that you don’t have enough time, it could be time to hire a consultant.
- If your profits have been plateauing for a while, it could be time for some outside perspective.
- If you’re struggling with training issues, a consultant could be just what you need. Consultants are teachers and trainers by nature and are sometimes the tool you need to train your team effectively.
- If you need to hire an expert but can’t afford a full-time staff member, a consultant is a great alternative.
- If you’re implementing any new technology or software that you don’t understand, you’ll need to hire an expert.
- If your company is struggling with automation or a lack of technology, it could be time to hire a consultant.
Do you need a consultant for your business? Take a hard look at where you’re at and see if there’s any area of your business that could use an expert’s opinion. If you’re integrating sophisticated software like Salesforce or implementing anything technical, you’ll need to hire a consultant. Outside of IT consulting, where it’s almost mandatory, other consulting is a personal decision based on your company’s needs, goals, and budgets.
Before you dive in, be sure to research and find the best consultant or consulting firm. Have clear questions and objectives. Set a timeline for your goals, and then watch the benefits roll in. There’s no shame in getting outside help for your business if it means bigger profits for your business in the long run.