If you run a business then your job boils down to making decisions, and more often than not, making decisions about money. How will you make money, and more importantly, how will you spend the money you’ve got? How will you turn it into more customers, better products, more money?
Consultants, of various different kinds, often offer themselves as the answer to the many questions facing you, promising to turn your investment in their expertise into quantifiable, bankable results. But do you really need their help?
Today, we’re taking a look at how you can tell if you really need that input from consultants: if they’re a wise investment that’ll give you a good return.
Ultimately, however good your funding, your connections and your ability to sell, what your business lives or dies by is knowledge. If you have the knowledge to identify the markets to sell into, to reach the customers who need your service with persuasive adverts, to optimise your processes so they’re at their most efficient, you can run a successful business.Lacking knowledge in any of these areas, or one of a hundred more can leave you open to being floored by an Outside Context Problem. Also known as Black Swan events these are issues that you don’t have the institutional knowledge to even imagine, let alone plan for.
It’s unrealistic for you to have all that necessary knowledge, about your own industry, about your market and your competitors, about the financial forces that move the world, and more built into your institutional knowledge – especially if you’re a small business!
Consultants can fill that gap, supplying legal expertise, financial forecasting and HR insight when it wouldn’t be practical to either hire a full-time staff member or learn a complex subject in detail yourself.
For example, writing a solid strategy for your business is an important early step to ensure you’re building for the long term, but a really effective strategy requires a far broader and deeper base of knowledge than you can realistically expect to have, or that it makes sense to acquire at short notice. A strategy consultant makes sense in this case: someone who has made their career specialising in precisely this field, who can fill the gaps in your own knowledge, leaving you free to specialise in your own business. If you’re looking for strategic business consultants UK specialists run the gamut from big corporate firms to individual sole traders, with agencies at every level in between. This is another useful point: you should look for the consultant that fits the development and size of your business as well as the resources you have available.
You need consultants when your own lack of knowledge leaves you exposed. It’s well worth paying for the expertise you need rather than be caught out by the much greater cost of the disaster you didn’t know enough to foresee.