When you are looking to scale your business, you often get told that you should hire a business coach or a service provider. The business gurus tell you that you need both to scale your business, and while I don't disagree, there is one type of professional that doesn't get spoken about as much - consultants.
Huge corporations hire consulting firms to help them scale their business. Consultants are professionals who study business as a science, learn how to analyze and find trends, and overall give guidance and support for businesses to scale, add new income lines, or become more agile. They are hired for specific scope - meaning they are brought in as "hired guns" to do a job, make recommendations, sometimes execute, and then help put service providers in place if necessary for the long term success of the company.
They aren't meant to be a part of any business long term, are independent entities, and are results-oriented. Occasionally, consultants are brought on as executives or on the board to make recommendations as the company grows, but it is mostly because they have expertise in the field of the corporation, or have experience creating trajectories that businesses need to achieve their long term goals.
There are also smaller consulting firms that work with smaller companies, but they still produce results. They sometimes have specific areas of expertise like software, management, sales, and so forth. They often do some of the heavy lifting in a business - but only for a short time. They aren't meant to be long term "service providers".
I share this because oftentimes, service providers and consultants get confused. If you are scaling your business, you may hire both, and may even hire a coach. As both a coach and consultant, I can further make the distinction between a coach and a consultant.
A coach is someone with a proven track record, expertise in a given area, that works with business owners within a framework. Their scope is limited to digging in to what you need, providing recommendations and a framework to achieve the results that you need - but they rarely offer services directly unless they add a consulting component. They still have a very strict scope, and sometimes get hired in executive roles, but the details of specifically implementing recommendations are sourced to consultants and service providers.
When looking at investment levels, consultants probably have the largest investment potential. Really because they are doing two things - analyzing and providing recommendations AND also performing strict-scope implementation. The good thing is that while there might be maintenance involved long term, the high-investment portion of the consultant working with a business tends to be a short period of time. What to look for in a consultant:
- consultants should have experience in your type of business - either running their own or consulting for businesses in the same field. Formal Training
- while we live in a world where access to education is unprecedented, there should still be some formalized training that the consultant has gone through. Whether studying business, being certified in business structure, or completing a program devoted to the consulting they are offering, they should have taken some type of formal training. I am a huge believer that you learn by doing, but the larger your business is, and if you have potential for attracting investors, you want to show that your business has been structured accordingly. Working Knowledge of Your Business
- when interviewing potential consultants, you want to be sure that they can have a conversation about potential pain points that you are experiencing, They may not know all the intricacies of your business, but they should understand concepts in your industry and business types. Examples of Work
- not every consultant has formal case studies, as they are often under contract not to disclose specifics, but they should be able to give you examples of improvements they have made in businesses. Personality
- you will be working closely with a consultant for some period of time, so you should probably mesh with their personality and look forward to working with them. No matter how good they are at their job, if you don't enjoy working with them, it's not going to be a pleasant experience.
I hope this gives you a little more insight into working with a consultant. If you would like to know more about how I help businesses, or would like to chat about your specific needs, you can find out more here