By Mark Polman
Almost every small business experiences a moment when it seems everything is just stuck in time. It seems like no matter what you do you are stuck where you are and taking the business to the next level appears impossible. Right about then is when you should investigate what’s available to you in the way of small business consulting. Being the boss of a small enterprise can be a lonely job and one where a fresh pair of experienced eyes can provide you with the practical and emotional boost that you need. Here are a few benefits that you can expect to receive.
1. Clarifying your vision
Can you even remember what you had in mind when you started the business? Are you so caught up in the everyday issues of receivables, marketing, sales, financing and all the rest that what you really own is a job and not a business? A qualified consultant can get you back on track. He or she can help you to once again identify what you really want. Having a defined mission and understanding how all those independent functions work towards meeting it, makes the business far more satisfying.
2. Map out the way to your vision
Just knowing what you want to accomplish isn’t enough. You need a business plan that maps out step by step how you are going to get there and how you are going to know you have arrived. It must be measurable and realistically attainable. A consultant who specializes in small business can make this process immeasurably simpler than trying to do it yourself.
3. Build to scale
Your organizational structure has to be scalable if you want to handle growth. In many small businesses, outsourcing functions that are not key core competencies like accounting and human resources can be the difference between a company that can accommodate growth and one that simply collapses under the weight. Your consultant can help you design that organization.
4. Professional marketing
Your consultant can realistically analyze your market and estimate its value and use that information to develop short term and long term marketing goals. Developing marketing strategies, including internet marketing which is particularly attractive for small businesses, is another function of the consultant.
5. Freeing you up from the “job” so you can be the leader
An analysis of your operation will uncover those functions or processes that are eating up your time. A talented consultant will find a way around or through those roadblocks to productivity allowing you to do what you do best..run the company.
6. Build a better you
If your consultant also does business coaching you can look forward to a hands on education in how to be a better manager, problem solver and sales person. By assisting and challenging you through the problem solving process you’ll develop practices that allow you to make faster, and more accurate decisions. You’ll gain confidence and optimism and you’ll be a better leader.
7. Brainstorm on demand
Consulting doesn’t end after an analysis of the business. The relationship that you develop with the business consultant becomes a personal one and he becomes your business buddy. He or she is the one you can pick up the phone and brainstorm new ideas. Because the consultant is intimately knowledgeable of your business, these brainstorming sessions can prove phenomenally successful.
Small business consulting, particularly in these difficult times is almost a necessity for many smaller organizations. Isn’t it worth at least investigating the possibilities to see how you can benefit?
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