We have all been there where we need something done but lack the experience and know-how to do it. This is where a consultant comes in. Hiring a consultant has its merits, and there are many falsehoods about consulting. In this interview, we dissect the biggest merit of hiring a consultant and the greatest falsehood about consulting.
The question we asked them in this interview series was – What is the biggest benefit of hiring a consultant and what do you think are the biggest misconceptions about consulting?
Title: President and Founder of Herbie
1.Energize – An objective consultant can also bring enthusiasm and new energy to a project team. As a project progresses, the energy levels of the team will peak and trough. When a consultant joins the team, a renewed sense of focus, commitment, and confidence is imparted.
2.Affordability – In general, consultants spend very little time on overheads such as meetings, vacations, sick time, or general office chit-chat. Consultants are only paid for the work they perform.
Myth: Consultants are only talkers
Most people believe that consultants don’t do any “real work” or practical work. While consultants excel at advising based on their years of experience, most consultants are eager to help their clients with hands-on work and may be willing to direct, oversee, or execute important projects for your company.
Company: Newpoint Advisors Corporation
The biggest benefit to hiring a consultant is solving a problem that either you cannot solve on your own or would spend more time doing than is worth your effort. For those that cannot be solved on your own, the best you can imagine is what a difference that would make to you and your business if the problem was solved. Then you can imagine the bottom line from the solution. If that image and that bottom are positive, you have the case for calling in a consultant. For consultants solving the problem you might solve, but cannot solve, there is a return on investment to that issue. What would it cost not to solve the issue and how long would it take you to do it. From there you can find a consultant who can drop in and solve that specific scope.
As for misconceptions, let’s lay the blame at the feet of communications. The biggest risk is letting a highly skilled person help you with your business without telling them what you want to be done. Yes, they are smarter than you on the subject matter, but that does not make them clairvoyant. The words you use to describe the situation and the ones they would use are likely somewhat different. Take a moment to lay out the image or scope of what you want done and ask the consultant to clarify that scope or share redacted results from other situations similar to yours. A picture is worth a thousand words, and clarity of communication is priceless. Spelling out your understanding in as much detail as you can muster is the key to eliminating frustration with consultants.
Title: Founder & CEO
Company: Mavens & Moguls
Working with a consultant allows you to access resources exposed to the latest tools & trends and a variety of company sizes/industries with experience and a wide breadth of knowledge they can bring into your business. For example with my clients unless marketing and PR are core competencies it almost always makes sense to hire outside PR talent because relationships with media outlets matter a lot and small businesses can rarely justify the overhead and expense of someone pitching the media on a full-time basis. A PR resource with a great reputation and rolodex can be very effective with a small budget.
The pandemic forced companies to streamline to survive so using consultants has increased over the past 2+ years especially with the Great Resignation. My advice especially for SMBs is to hire consultants for anything that is not a core competency so that you can focus all your resources on what you do best. I use consultants for legal, payroll and accounting services for that very reason and put all my energy into building my brand and scaling my business. To avoid problems give your consultants the goals to achieve then get out of the way. This is their area of expertise so let them find the path, do not micromanage them it will only lead to frustration. Hiring consultants is a smart idea even without a crisis and does not solve all of your growth problems but it sure frees up a lot of time and energy that can be redirected/better spent on things I enjoy doing and can get paid well for.
Some worry you lose control with consultants but I think there is more to gain than lose when bringing in experts. As a mentor of mine once said, any problem that can be solved with money is not a problem if you have the money. Great advice indeed. Why risk wasting your time doing low margin work? With thought and planning using consultants can be managed for maximum impact and results.
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is the clear direction their involvement gives a business. They usually come up with a custom revenue roadmap to amp up a business’ annual revenue and a detailed marketing plan to see it through. By hiring a consultant, a business will be monitored for progress, given feedback, and held accountable. They are given weekly plans of action so that they never have to get stuck wondering what to do next or trying out anything and everything to see what works. Consultant have a proven track record that has shown their actions to repeatedly give results the business owner wants.
Biggest misconception about consulting is that it’s not for everyone. Business owners often like to view their situation as a special case. They think that they can figure it out by themselves. They also think that hiring a consultant is a waste of money. The outcome is that they lose valuable years in pursuit of their revenue goals. Time is money and they lose it because of a misconception.
Company: Payday Deals
What is the biggest benefit of hiring a consultant and what do you think are the biggest misconceptions about consulting?
The main advantage of hiring a consultant is that it speeds up the process for business owners like me in determining what the best course of action is for our organization. Since they are recognized as subject-matter experts, they already have forward-looking strategies and goals on how to help a business expand more quickly.
I think the most common misconception regarding business consultants is that they will just confirm what business owners already know. Perhaps you would only find this to be true if you hired the incorrect consultant.
My own experience has shown that bringing on the top consultant in my field helps my business expand more quickly.
Title: Personal Injury Lawyer
Company: NJ Law Results
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is the objectivity that they can bring to a business. It can be difficult to make tough decisions for your company, especially when you are first starting out. This is because every small thing that has built your business up is a massive deal to you, and you care about all of these details! However, a consultant is there to cut the parts of your business that you may not feel comfortable removing, but they can see that these elements are not necessary to your company’s success.
Title: Managing Director
Company: Psynet Group
The best decisions and strategies come when leaders integrate proximity and perspective. Proximity comes from those who experience the organization almost every day and is abundant within the organization. However, perspective requires an outsider.
Consultants are positioned to generate the most value from perspective. They likely have seen how several companies have managed similar problems or opportunities and are not biased. The best consultants will invest the time to truly understand the business, which sharpens the insights gained from their perspective.
The primary misperception about consultants is that they “borrow your watch and tell you what time it is”. In other words, they tell you what you could have discovered on your own. Effective consultants have tools and processes that allow them to uncover things that insiders could not. Furthermore, the nature of hierarchical organizations is that information is distorted as is moves up the chain, so leaders often have the most distorted view. A consultant clarifies and packages the information in such a way that it translates into executable solutions.
The Biggest Benefit;
The knowledge that a consultant brings to the table is, in my opinion, the primary advantage of using his services. Knowledge, professional skills, and influence are three of the most valuable aspects that consultants bring to the table. It’s possible that consultants have a far broader and deeper knowledge of company trends, industry difficulties, and new technologies and processes than staff working internally due to the fact that they work with a range of different organisations.
The Biggest Misconception:
There are a few misconceptions about the recruiting consultant industry, but the most common misunderstanding is the idea that your company needs to be very large and well-established for hiring a consultant and there is no point in employing consultants if you run a company that is on the smaller side. In my opinion, when a company is still in its early phases, it has a fantastic opportunity to build a solid foundation from the very beginning of its existence. In this regard, a small company has a significant advantage over a large one, as it is better able to learn how to be sustainable. For this purpose, you need to hire a consultant so a small company can achieve a larger scale.
In today’s business environment, it’s more important than ever to have access to the right resources. Whether you’re looking for advice or a new way of thinking about your business, consulting can help you achieve your goals and reach your full potential.
Consulting firms help businesses to grow by providing advice, expertise, and guidance in areas such as finance, marketing, technology, and HR. They also provide mentorship and training to improve their clients’ performance.
One of the main reasons that I started consulting for SaaS companies was to help them grow. When I started, my clients were new and had no idea what they wanted to do. They just wanted to get started as soon as possible. The first step for me was to help them set goals and create a business plan.
Once we got past that initial step, we focused on figuring out how to get their product into the hands of customers as quickly as possible. We came up with some great strategies for marketing, including Google AdWords campaigns and paid advertising on Facebook and Twitter.
Once we had customers, we could move on to the next phase—growing revenue from those customers so that the company could become profitable at an early stage. This can be accomplished by increasing sales or lowering costs through better efficiency or productivity in the organization.
It’s important to remember that a company’s success is based on more than just one product or service; it’s about how well all of its parts work together and help each other reach their goals.”
One of the biggest benefits to hiring a consultant is being able to tap into their wealth of knowledge and expertise for a fraction of the time (and oftentimes cost!) that it would take for you to do the task yourself. Entrepreneurs and business owners need to wear many hats while also avoiding the trap of doing everything themselves. One of the most valuable skills you can hone as a business owner is recognizing when it makes sense to bring on a consultant so that you can spend more time working on your business instead of in your business.
One of the biggest misconceptions about consultants is that they’ll be able to fix everything and that you can go completely hands-off once you bring them in. As a business owner, it’s ultimately your job to define the scope of their work and ensure that their work meets your specifications. You’re ultimately in charge of their work product, so you may still need to stay actively involved in the project to oversee their work and make sure things stay on track.
Company: Beyond Better Strategy and Coaching
Consultants perform a function that is, by definition, impossible to provide for yourself.
No matter how brilliant we are, once we are within an organization for over 6 months or so, we become part of its culture. Cultures all have their own worldviews, and within that worldview, there are fixed assumptions, expectations, beliefs and practices. None of us is independent enough not to adopt those cultural artifacts as our own once we are living in that culture. Even those organizations with extraordinarily empowering, productive cultures still have their own set of limiting beliefs and expectations.
A consultant comes in with only the expertise of her domain –whether operations, strategy, organizational design or something else. She has a massive amount of exposure to different organizations trying to accomplish hard things –but does not share the culture of those who work within the client organization. That newness –coupled to expertise –allows for guiding the client into areas of possibility that would never have occurred to someone within the organization.
It’s not so different to the way in which an athletic coach can guide an elite athlete. Michael Phelps has extraordinary talent. But, he cannot both be in the water swimming and outside the pool watching himself. But, his coach can. In the same way, a consultant takes his experiential cues from an environment outside his client. So, he is free to apply his expert knowledge in ways that someone imbued in the culture cannot. That allows for outcomes that otherwise would never have been possible, because they would never have arisen for consideration by someone operating within the organization’s existing paradigm.
Chris Stock, MBA
Benefit of Hiring a Consultant
Hiring a consultant ensures a business stays at the top of their game. As they reach critical points in a project, objective eyes are needed that are independent of the business and potential politics of the organization. Those too closed in on a project can fail to see the obvious problems that are present. A fresh pair of eyes will have an easier time to spot these issues and help the business pivot towards an improved direction.
Independent from the company, a consultant has uninterrupted focus. They are there to fast-track results and bring outside expertise from working with other businesses. A great consultant brings value that extends beyond formal education– a wealth of industry knowledge and experience.
With this, consultants improve the process and efficiency of a business as they inspire new ideas that can smooth out the workflow and dynamic of existing employees. Ultimately, when a consultant has finished doing their job, the business will have been energized with a refreshed sense of focus and direction.
Consultants have a trained ear, able to listen to the voices of a company and ask the right questions that get the ball rolling. In the end, it may be found that the problems a business is facing is just the tip of the iceberg– and it’s the consultant’s duty to dive deep and discover the root of these issues.
The biggest misconception is that consultants are there to tell you what you already know. The reality is someone might already know, but the decision makers, the executives of the business may not.
I remember working in my early days for IBM. I was talking with a client, and they said, “why do I need someone to come tell me what the time is, when I can also look at the clock?” However, the reality is when consultants first start a project, some of this sentiment may seem true.
The reason these floating ideas don’t get to the decision makers comes down to several factors: politics, competency, competing ideas. The truth is that consultants often answer some of the hardest questions a business must ask. One of the largest parts of a consultant’s job is to facilitate communication and reflection.
The goal is to establish these ideas into an actionable plan that leads the business to a better place. As these ideas are voiced by an independent party, they are seen in a different light and an objective place of expertise. This is what makes consulting unique when compared to in-house leadership.
Title: President and Owner
Company: Spartan Marketing Group
Remember when you were a kid and had difficulty with your math problem and the only thing you could do was to keep staring until the idea popped into your head? A similar experience can be shared amongst business owners which is why consultants are beneficial. These professionals provide an outside perspective on your company and use their library of experiences to solve your problem. They most likely have encountered a previous client with a similar problem and can apply that same methodology to help solve your company’s problem. We understand the hesitation of hiring a consultant, especially those that charge an hourly rate. One way to ensure you get the most out of your experience is to create clear SMART goals so both parties have the proper expectations.
Company: Thrive Agency
“The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is having an industry expert for a trusted partner who can give you sound and feasible advice from regular operations to special undertakings and helps you implement it, as well until you both see the desired outcomes.
This addresses the biggest misconceptions of losing resources over mere Q&A’s and only in cases that affect the health of the business and/or the company’s image.
Consultants work with and for you. And oftentimes, going beyond the delivery of promises. In the long run, your own consultant turns from collaborator to a friend.”
Title: Co-Founder and CIO
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is getting a new perspective on your business challenges. At the same time, you must acknowledge that a consultant doesn’t have all the knowledge about your industry that you possess. Thus, they may be open-minded and, on the other hand, sometimes suggest directions that are not feasible. Hiring a consultant is not about sitting back and relaxing while someone else strategizes for you. You must do your part of the work to distill the ideas you haven’t spotted yourself and guide the consultant along the labyrinth of your market to make the best use of their skills.
Company: Sleepys Express
One of the major misconceptions of working with consultants that I see in my fellow entrepreneurs is the expectation of receiving a myriad of new ideas. The consultant’s role is to help you guide your business towards its strategic goals while not losing sight of significant issues and opportunities. It might be that you were doing great, and the consultant would just reassure you of that, bringing you peace of mind. You don’t blame the doctor if, after the regular checkup, they tell you you’re doing great. The same applies to business consultancy.
Title: CEO and Founder
Company: Dream Chasers
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is their knowledge and experience in the industry. They have been doing this for a long time and know what it takes to run a successful business, which can save you time, money, and resources. The biggest misconception about consultants is that they are not good enough for your company or that you should be able to do it yourself.
Title: Expert Dog Trainer and Co-owner
The benefits of hiring a consultant are vast. They can help businesses in different areas like finance, marketing, and HR. However, the biggest misconceptions about consultants are that they’re expensive and difficult to work with. The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is that they can provide unique insights into your business and industry which you might not be able to do on your own.
Title: Founder and Managing Member
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is that they are experts in their field and can provide insight into how to make your business more successful. They can also help with brainstorming new ideas and strategizing the best way to implement them. The biggest misconception about consultants is that they don’t have any work experience themselves. This isn’t true at all because many consultants have experience in their respective fields, but they might not be working full-time as consultants yet.
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is that you know you’re working with someone who has specialized knowledge and expertise. Bringing in a consultant helps you identify areas in your business that can use improvement that you might not have realized. The consultant will not only identify those areas but provide you with solutions to improve them.
The biggest misconception about consulting is that it’s a quick fix. A consultant’s job is to evaluate your business and provide you with a plan, but it’s up to you to execute it.
Company: A1 Garage
There are several reasons why people have doubts about business consultants, ranging from a few negative interactions with self-described consultants to not coming to grips with an experienced one.
These myths are harmful and can take you down a perilous path, no matter how alluring they may seem.
The most prevalent misconception I have encountered is that “anyone can become a consultant”.
However, not everyone can overnight become a great consultant. Why?
Because the foundation of consulting is your capacity to produce outcomes, address issues, and offer value for organizations. You need a skill that will allow you to go out and produce outcomes for your clients with assurance. People won’t start employing you just because you name yourself a consultant if you don’t have that skill.
Also, consultants are not freelancers. Consulting is not a one time business. . Instead, they usually form enduring relationships with their clients in order to offer personalized guidance, suggestions, and tactics that are appropriate for your business.
On the contrary, If you put in the work, good consultants are pricey but value for the money. There will come a point when you and your company will require outside consulting and assistance.
Hiring a business consultant can help you leverage your business to new heights or have an incredible jumpstart irrespective of the status of your company. In this role, consultants often examine the issue, document the solutions, and then supervise the implementation of the recommendations. The fact that business consultants typically specialize in specific industries means they can provide the in-depth knowledge needed for any given industry or organization. This is likely the biggest benefit of engaging a consultant.
The biggest benefit of hiring a consultant is that they offer an outside perspective. A consultant is able to approach an issue without any prior knowledge, which means they can offer fresh and innovative solutions. This outside perspective allows them to look objectively at a problem, allowing them to come up with a solution faster and more effectively.
A big misconception about consulting is that it’s a one-step fix. A consultant will provide a solution, but that’s just the beginning. You have to come up with a way to implement their suggestions and make meaningful changes in your workplace. This means putting people in charge of managing those changes and monitoring things to ensure that progress is being made, all while still running the day to day of the business.
Joyce De Smet
Company: Ecotel Consultancy
One of my greatest motivations to co-found Ecotel Consultancy (sustainable hotel consultancy) was actually to overcome the misconceptions around consultants, being: they are too expensive, they just write a report without actionable tools, they use a generic approach and don’t take into account a specific case, …
Of course, this might sporadically be the case but these statements cannot simply be extrapolated to all consultants. I strongly believe that as a (sustainable hotel) consultant, I can shed light on problems from a different perspective and bring specific knowledge to the table that creates great value for my client’s business. Next to that, consultants are in a lot of situations cheaper than in-house employees as they are experts in their field and often find creative solutions by thinking outside the box. Another advantage is that consultants are independent which means that they can make decisions more rationally as they are not exposed to internal politics or tensions between employees within the company. Also, great consultants make sure they can understand the bigger picture and underlying structures to offer the best possible results – thus completely the opposite of a generic approach.
Title: Marketing Manager
Company: Home Service Direct
Expanding business profitability and improving efficiency. Business consultants are specialists in the field that have acquired valuable skills and years of experience. Leveraging their professional abilities and experience, business consultants can provide answers and solutions that best suit your business. They have extensive knowledge of strategic management and can offer expert advice on how you can expand the profitability of your business. They can assist you in finding the strengths and weaknesses of your processes and systems and work with you in improving efficiency.
“You hire a consultant only when your business is in trouble.” This is the biggest misconception many entrepreneurs have when talking about hiring a consultant. While a business on the verge of collapse can benefit from business consulting services, successful businesses can also gain valuable assistance to further improve their processes and systems and plan for business expansion.