|Where a Business Consultant can save your organization|
We’ve started our business, we’re growing our business and everything appears to be on the right track, correct? At first, we do everything ourselves. We wear every hat imaginable. When the time is right, we hire employees, we watch our business grow and stress over whether it’s growing too fast or too slow.
Does this sound familiar? But there is another side – the uncertainty for the small business owner of whether or not they’re doing the right things at the right time. Is now the time to bring on new employees, seek out this large customer or project, or launch this expensive marketing campaign?
For many organizations, this may be the point your business either makes it or ‘jumps the shark.’ It may be the exact right time to bring in a consultant who can help you in some of the following key areas for your business. We're of the opinion that there are four key areas that an outside consultant can come in and bring immediate aid to your organization. If you have a need in one of these key areas, then this is likely the right time to call for help:
If you’ve grown to the point of having a decent sized customer base, but are uncertain at any given time whether your current resources can meet your current needs as well as your planned needs for the next few weeks, then it’s time to do serious work on your resource management techniques.
If you have the expertise to do this, that’s great. If not, then an outside consultant – such as an experienced Project Manager – can come in, utilize existing tools, and help you build processes to manage and forecast your resource needs across all of your current and future commitments. Ensuring you can keep your customers happy by having the proper resource – both personnel and equipment – ready when needed will go a long way in ensuring the success of your business.
Business Process Engineering
Your business processes can be anything. How you hire and onboard new staff, how you let staff go, how you process your monthly financials, how you forecast your work out over the next 6 months, how you manage your projects with your customer, and even how you manage your network security.
For any business – even the small business – processes need to be reviewed regularly because as the business grows, the processes that support that business will likely need to change. And with startups, the processes aren’t even there – they’re often ‘made up’ as you go along and what worked last week even may not work this week.
There’s no shame in calling in a Business Consultant who either has general expertise or specific expertise in your current area of need.
Leading a New Strategic Project
You’ve gotten your small company’s feet wet with a few small customer projects and you’ve been successful. Now you’re faced with your biggest challenge – a ‘name’ customer has heard about you and is coming your way with their business. Failure is not always a bad thing because we can learn a lot from our mistakes. See our article on "We Learn from What We Screw Up". But we don’t really want to start by experiencing failure with our first high-visibility customer because that kind of bad press can kill the small business and even bring down a larger organization.
It’s ok to bring in an expert to handle the first large initiative. We’ve been called in to help startups in this very scenario and they are now successfully managing high-visibility implementations a few years later with the same processes we setup to save them the first time around.
What your organization can learn from the consultant’s expertise and the processes that can get set in motion can potentially carry you for years. Or you may find you need this person as a permanent part of your organization. Either way you win.
Likewise, strategically planning where your organization is right now and where it is going in the next 6 months or 6 years is critical. Getting ‘outside eyes’ to look at the market, the competition, the potential customer base and consulting with you to help determine the best courses of action to take to get you to that 6 month and 6 year goal can be a real lifesaver.
Especially for the small business owner who has been the lifeblood of the organization since it’s inception, it’s easy to have blinders on. An individual with expert knowledge in customer relationship management, strategic planning, and managing large and long-term initiatives can provide very valuable insight into how to grow your business, stay on track and successfully move forward to even more profitability.
Sometimes we don’t like to ask for help. Actually, most of us never like to ask for help. But when we’re trying to help our organizations – whether it’s our own small business or a much larger organization that we are a part of – it’s ok to seek wise counsel from the ‘outside.’ An experienced business or IT or project management consultant can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run and quite possibly save your business (or your job!).