Few entrepreneurs have the time or expertise to troubleshoot all of the issues their companies face.
Although a lot of business owners like to think of themselves as a jack-of-all-trades, there simply aren't enough hours in the day to attend to the kinds of details that are vital to your company's success.
Even more importantly, there are some business functions should not be performed by owners simply because owners are incapable of maintaining an objective point of view. If you are a small business owner, your passion for your business can blind you to making difficult decisions, especially if those decisions mean delaying or scrapping your personal business goals.
Eventually, you may need to hire a business consultant. Business consultants provide a valuable service to small business owners. In the majority of instances, bringing a consultant onboard will be the right decision. But before you make any commitments, you'll need to think about the both the pros and cons that are involved with using business consultants to perform specific tasks for your company.
- Expertise. No doubt about it, the right business consultant will bring a higher level of expertise to your decision-making processes. Many consultants operate in a narrow business area and are authorities in the nuances of their field.
- Objectivity. Most consultants are objective and neutral participants, free from the encumbrances of personal passions and interoffice politics. Just look out for individuals who pose as consultants but are actually representatives for vendors and distributors.
- Fixed labor costs. When you hire a consultant, you know exactly how much it's going to cost you upfront. Although you can extend the consultant's contract if necessary, you'll offload the risk associated with hiring a permanent employee.
- Cost. Consultants generally cost more than direct hires, at least on an hourly basis. When project budgets are already running dangerously close to the margins, a consultant may not seem worth the investment. Then again if the consultant can multiply the project's impact, the added expense may be justified. Either way there is a financial risk associated with hiring) or not hiring) a consultant.
- Uncertain outcomes. Consultants don't come with guarantees and there is a fair chance that the consultant will not achieve the desired results. You can minimize the risk by conducting a thorough hiring process, but if you aren't comfortable with uncertainty, a consultant may not be the best business decision.