Consulting: A Key to Success for Small Businesses
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, are you making use of all the available resources to create financial success for your small business? One overlooked aspect that many businesses owners overlook is seeking the assistance of a small business consultant.
While you may be among those who find this idea extravagant, a closer examination of this service may surprise you. In fact, whether you recognize it or not, you already use an informal consultation process. How often do you meet with friends or family seeking ideas and input on how to make your business more successful? Are you a member of a civic business organization? Who do you seek out when you need ideas or suggestions about general business direction?
While these informal networks are very helpful, when you are facing hard business choices, you certainly want the very best advice. In building a sustainable business, you need unbiased, solid, and proactive ideas and suggestions to act upon. Your decision making is best served by adding a consulting service to your team as the source of this information. When considering a consulting service there are three things to keep in mind.
- Select a consultant with a proven background in your area of business (this is the real-world expertise you require).
- Ask for and check his or her connections with the decision makers within your field (if applicable).
- The necessary credentials from an accredited institute
The successful consultant is more than just a specialist within their field of interest. The right business consultant has the knowledge and practical experience to implement the right strategies to make your business run efficiently and profitably.
What Is a Business Consultant?
In the most generic of definitions, a consultant is:
1: one who consults with another;
2: one who gives professional advice or services: an expert.
For most general purposes this definition will work. However, the key word is expert. The consultant is called upon to improve some area where his or her expertise is greater than what is available to the person hiring them.
Selecting a Consultant
Regardless of your business, there are experts in your field ready to assist you. Entering into a successful working relationship with a business consultant makes some unique demands on you. This type of relationship is unique in that your consultant serves as your personal coach.
Just like a regular hiring process, small business owners must practice due diligence when hiring a business consultant for a short or long-term engagement. This means conducting the necessary background check via previous employees (companies such as IntelliCorp can do this for you) as well as verifying that the business consultant has the necessary credentials to actually help your business succeed. This can be in the form of an Accredited Small Business Consultant Certification (ASBC). Such professional certifications are very similar to earning a college degree for a very specialized skill set (assisting small businesses).
Once you have conducted due diligence and narrowed down your selection to a handful of candidates, the next step is to conduct formal interviews with the potential candidates. By going through this process, you ensure hiring the most suited candidate for your specific business needs.