When to Hire a Consultant for Your Business

Many businesses reach a point when expert business advice is required to drive growth or overcome a significant organizational challenge. Do you feel as if your company is in this position, but you are unsure if professional expertise is worthwhile? Identifying when a consultant could help your business is critical. Below, we explore seven significant signs that it may be time to pursue the assistance of a business consultant.

What is Business Consulting?

A business consultant provides guidance in a specific area of expertise, often falling into one of five major categories: strategy and management, operations, tax and succession planning, human resources, and sales and marketing. Some consulting organizations offer multiple services.

  • Strategy and management consultants operate with specialized knowledge, guiding businesses towards growth, organizing for efficiency, navigating downturns, and ultimately increasing company capabilities.
  • Operations consultants primarily focus on process improvement and efficiency.
  • Tax consultants have grown in demand as more and more CEO’s see the benefit of reducing their tax burden.
  • Human resources consultants often emphasize employee needs, helping businesses solve challenging recruitment situations or refine communication development.
  • Sales and marketing consultants assist with marketing-related projects, from building advertising campaigns to coaching sales teams.

When to Hire a Consultant

1. You Need an Outside Perspective for Idea Generation

Are you stuck in a rut, unable to make an informed business decision? Is your business in need of a breakthrough? Consultants provide fresh perspective, and oftentimes, have a broader understanding of the market. Therefore, they can offer holistic insight. This perspective can assist with internal brainstorming, idea generation, or innovative breakthroughs.

Alternatively, you may have a good idea but require additional insight before making a significant decision. Consultants bring a unique viewpoint and a wealth of experience to the table. Perhaps your general idea has failed before in the consultant’s experience. The consultant may guide you in another, healthier direction.

2. You Need Additional Assistance

Sometimes you need additional manpower to solve internal challenges. While the hiring and training process is extensive, time-consuming, and costly, many businesses do not have the resources to hire additional staff when an immediate challenge arises or, alternatively don’t want to hire on an FTE to tackle a short term challenge that requires significant expertise.

In such cases, a business consultant may be hired to serve as a “temporary,” highly skilled asset to complete complicated projects or solve challenges. Additionally, utilizing the services of a consultant eliminates the need to pull employees from their positions and disrupt productivity.

3. You Require a Special Skillset

Beyond needing additional manpower for challenging situations or projects, you may occasionally require a specialized skillset from a group of professionals without the resources or necessity to hire a full-time staff member. Without a long-term commitment, professional advisory resources can be utilized as needed.

4. You Require an Unbiased Advocate

Consultants can provide an unbiased, external perspective into potentially controversial situations. If you feel emotionally compromised in a problem or project, making the best business decisions can be difficult. A consultant can be your saving grace in such situations. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask an unbiased expert to perform more emotionally charged and difficult tasks.

5. You Need Expert Insight

Pulling from the resources and experience of a professional who understands the nuances involved in significant business decisions can be critical. Are you considering changing from a C corporation to an S corporation? Are you contemplating a buyout or bringing on a new investor? Consultants can protect you from an unwise business decision or wasteful usage of company resources.

6. You Need a Natural Trainer

The act of sharing knowledge and experience-driven insights often makes business consultants natural teachers. Thus, if you’re entering uncharted territory and embarking on new challenges, asking a consultant for assistance may be an ideal choice.

7. You Need Help with Process and Operation Optimization

As a business owner, you should be consistently seeking to optimize business processes as it improves both the companies ROI and net profit. As your business expands, the ability to complete tasks effectively and efficiently has a multiplier effect since, as your business grows, you should be operating at the same or slightly lower overhead as a percentage of revenue – we can show you how. As mentioned in the first point, an outside perspective is healthy for a business – occasionally requesting the assistance of a professional business consultant to diagnose the health of company processes is important. For example, consider sales and marketing communication regularly sent from your business. Do you know the precise wording of your sales outreach campaigns? Are your materials up-to-date and optimized for conversions? Do your sales and marketing team members spend time reviewing their own work?

These oversights do not indicate a lack of competence; however, as a business continues to scale and grow, it becomes increasing important to have processes and systems in place to help manage this for you. Thus, hiring a consultant to provide external feedback on the core processes that define your organization can be critical.

What is the ROI of Consulting?

Measuring the return on investment of business consulting is notoriously challenging. According to the Annual Consultant Report, many consultants list ROI measurement as a primary hurdle. However, evaluating return is not that difficult!

Following a few specific steps while in relationship with a business consultant can help gauge benefits and success:

  • Set goals at the very beginning of the partnership
  • Ensure each initiative is listed that the consultant will work on for you, along with the estimation of hours to complete that task and the estimated ROI (annualized)
  • Follow up weekly on results to plan. Insist on weekly update reports that are metric-driven to gauge progress.
  • Identify means of measuring benefits (key performance indicators)

Your key performance indicators will change according to your specific goals. For example, if you hire a consultant to track job costs more effectively, you may expect improved profit/job in this area. If your consultant is helping with business communications, you should expect to see increased open rate, leads, conversions, responses, etc.

The principle is the same: setting goals and measuring performance are tried-and-true methods of measuring ROI in partnership with a business consultant.

Ionji Consulting

As a business owner, it is okay to acknowledge limitations – no one knows it all! Business consultants are trained to fill knowledge gaps and drive business growth without the long-term commitment and expense of onboarding additional staff.

At Ionji Consulting, we are dedicated to solving business problems through a tried-and-true five-step process. Our team of experts bring over 60 years of experience in organizational management, tax planning, operations management, marketing and sales, financial management, and strategic planning.  

Are you interested in how we could rejuvenate your business? Contact us to schedule a free and confidential business consultation today!