Small Business Marketing Consulting – What is a business advisor? Why hire a business consultant? What does a business advisor do? Types of business advisors What about consulting firms? How to choose a business consultant Drafting a business consultant agreement or contract How do you measure the success of a business consultant?
Running a small or medium-sized business is challenging due to the large number of tasks required to be successful. From accounting to human resources to technical support, it’s nearly impossible for business owners to do it all themselves. But thanks to the convenience of hiring consultants, they don’t have to figure it all out on their own. We explore what a business advisor does and how one can help your business grow.
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A business consultant is a professional with a wide range of skills that helps entrepreneurs in their endeavours. Consultants are experts because of their education and previous experience.
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In addition, business consultants provide management advice to help organizations improve performance and efficiency. These professionals analyze businesses and create solutions as they help businesses achieve their goals.
Entrepreneurs should consider hiring business consultants when they need help or perspective on their chosen path, or a catalyst for change in their business.
There are several reasons why business owners should consider hiring consultants. Consultants offer a wide range of services, including the following:
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The first step for any business consultant is the discovery phase, where the goal is to learn more about your business. A good business consultant will take the time to learn as much as possible about a business from the owner and employees. The adviser will do the following:
During the discovery phase, the business advisor reveals the details of your business mission and current activities.
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Once the business consultant has developed an in-depth understanding of your business, they enter the evaluation phase, with the aim of identifying where change is needed. This stage includes identifying the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as current and foreseeable problems.
When your company and the consultant agree on a plan, the consultant must enter the third phase: the restructuring phase or the implementation of the plan. In this phase, the advisor builds on your assets and eliminates liabilities. They also monitor the progress of the plan and adjust it if necessary.
A business consultant can help you carry out a competitive analysis to obtain relevant information about market saturation, new opportunities and best practice in the industry.
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Business strategy and management consultants can bring industry expertise to your business to help you scale, capture new opportunities and generate revenue.
Business consultants specialized in operations can help you improve your daily processes. These business consultants take stock of your current business model and figure out the best way to produce the same high-quality results at a fraction of the cost and time. These consultants also help with quality control and understanding how to adjust and optimize production for better results.
A financial advisor can show you the broader scope of your company’s financial health. Most importantly, they help you with investment decisions and help you find the best way to manage your company’s assets and liabilities. Financial advisors can have even more specializations, including financial planning and advising your business on taxes, day-to-day expenses and the best retirement plans.
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The best HR outsourcing companies and independent HR contractors can help you with your HR functions. These consultants can take over your day-to-day HR tasks, such as recruiting and retaining employees, processing payroll, performing administrative tasks and managing employee performance.
Marketing consultants help companies identify and expand their brand strengths to create brand awareness and exposure. Whether your business needs a new logo or a social media strategy, a marketing consultant can be beneficial in expanding your business’ reach.
While you can hire an independent professional, you can also get the services of a specialist firm for your consulting needs. Large firms such as McKinsey & Co. and BCG doesn’t necessarily fit the needs and budget of a small business, but a local business can work well.
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To get started, do a Google search on your pain point and location—for example, “Seattle brand strategy firm”—and see your results. Your search will likely turn up companies you’ve never heard of, but a closer look at their projects and customer reviews can help determine if they’re a good fit. Plus, hiring a local company means you have a better chance of finding someone you know or have met before on their client list.
Whether you should choose a consulting firm or an individual depends on your business needs and preferred work style.
Choosing a business advisor that suits your company’s needs can be a daunting experience. Whether you’re looking for someone to help you with your high-level strategic needs or a niche, solution-oriented specialist to improve your SEO or product sourcing processes, it’s important to know where to start and take it step-by-step. to go to work.
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Finding the right business consultant is perhaps the most challenging part for the owner or management. The consultant must be passionate about his work, strive for excellence and have an eye for organization and detail. It is important to find a consultant who has expertise in your industry or experience with the type of problems your business is facing.
If your potential advisor’s references are excellent and proven to be reliable and effective, talk to them to make sure they are the right person for the job. Clearly state pain points and expectations and see if you are comfortable with their style and personality. If the advisor ticks all your boxes, it may be time to move on.
Once you’ve found an excellent consultant, done your due diligence and research, received satisfactory and verifiable references, clearly outlined pain points and expectations, and made sure you’re comfortable with their style and personality, it’s time to confirm the deal.
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Consultant agreements or contracts are usually entered into for three to six months with the possibility of renewal. Agreements typically include details such as the names of the responsible parties, consulting parameters, compensation structures, payment schedules, outlined deliverables, and set deadlines.
A defined and confirmed deadline ensures that your consultant has enough time to deliver the promised results and make progress on time.
Design your contract in phases, ensure logical stops in the workflow. This way, if the partnership turns out to be a bad match, you can always say goodbye to your consultant on friendly terms.
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Unlike an employee review, there is no universally accepted, objective method for measuring consultant performance, but it is reasonable to set goals and measure results. This process is similar to Peter Drucker’s management by objectives and SMART principles for managing employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a management consultant was $87,660 or $42.14 per hour in 2020. However, consulting fees tend to be higher to cover business costs.
Consultants do not always charge by the hour. According to a survey of advisor fees by Consulting Success, here are some popular fee plans and the percentage of advisors who prefer them:
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According to the survey, 40.5% of consultants earn up to $5,000 per project, although some earn more than $100,000 per project. The project’s size, scope and length determine the cost.
Business consultants are a significant expense, but their feedback and planning can help you grow your business and increase profits, while solving problems and identifying opportunities to ensure future success.
You measure ROI by examining specific key figures to determine the consultant’s work. Most companies look at the net profit in the quarter before they hire the business consultant and then evaluate the net profit in the next quarter or two after implementing the consultant’s recommendations. You must deduct the cost of the consultancy before calculating the ROI.
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Assessing ROI is a critical part of hiring a business consultant. If you pay a business consultant more than $5,000, you will see a definite return after the project. Established business advisors should be able to show past ROI data to potential clients.
According to The Predictive Index, 27% of companies surveyed chose not to hire a consultant because the consultant failed to demonstrate ROI. This is the most common reason why companies do not use consulting services, and it is up to the consultant to use big data to demonstrate past ROI. [Find out more about big data solutions for small businesses.]
Hiring a consultant can be a significant expense. As fees vary, it is important to establish a realistic and reasonable budget. Consider establishing the consulting fees as a fixed percentage of total sales. For example, if your monthly income is $10,000, it may not be advisable to pay a monthly advisor fee of $5,000, which is 50% of your income. A 5% fee on $100,000 of income seems more reasonable.
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Defining clear phases for your consulting project will help you reduce costs and risks by assessing the progress of each phase. For example, if you use your consultant’s marketing expertise to promote a variety of products, evaluate their efforts accordingly
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