Businesses today use consultants more and more for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that every business will at some time come to crossroads and will not always be sure which direction to take.
Even though a person has been running a business for many years there always comes a time of uncertainty, caused by a decline in the business, or difficulties due to the economic climate.
Sometimes we all get a period in our life when we are drained of inspiration and new ideas and this is the time when an external consultant can be of great value.
Another reason for using a consultant is to get confirmation that what you are doing in your business is correct. This is a worthwhile exercise as it gives you renewed confidence in yourself and the knowledge that you are still doing a good job.
What a business consultant does is take a detailed look at a business without having the passion that often causes business blindness especially when harsh decisions are needed.
A simple analogy: how easy it is to tell another person their child is doing wrong when you can see no fault in your own child!
If you choose a business consultant who has experience in the business issues that concern you most then his advice should be helpful and put you in the right direction. Other types of consultants may be specialists in a particular industry, or in one particular aspect of a business.
Then there are general business consultants who have run a business and their knowledge differs because they know exactly what you’re going through, having been through the problems themselves when they were in business.
I have started, operated and sold many businesses in different industries. To me there is no difference in running a business irrespective of the industry as everyone has the same objective, to make money.
Business consultancy has grown rapidly over the years simply because they are providing a reality check, similar to having an annual health checkup to see that everything is working correctly.
Having a consultant look at your business is a worthwhile exercise; it is the checks and balances that every business should do from time to time.
Another way of using a business consultant is as a mentor. Many companies, after having an initial consultation period, use the consultant on a monthly basis either by an office visit, Skype, or telephone. Some even go further by making the consultant the chairman of the business so that he can give direction, not only to senior management but to the staff and overall business in all its operations.
Consultants bring with them not only their own business experience but the additional experience they gain on a regular basis from other companies they advise.
Using a business consultant is clearly a win – win situation for everyone.