When Is The Right Time To Hire A Business Consultant?
What a tough question, and one that we get frequently. Some form of “when’s the right time to hire a consultant”, which is usually followed up by some variant of “and how much do you think that should cost?”
A lot of consultants and consulting agencies keep things intentionally vague when it comes to process and pricing and pretty up front about when to write the check: now.
Which doesn’t do you much good as a business owner. Ultimately, you’re the one who knows when is the right time to call in the consultants, and you are the one who actually makes the call. And Champion is here to help you better gauge when that right moment is to make the call for your business.
Why Most Businesses Wait Until It
There are a number of reasons professionals and businesses might need consultants, but lets first examine the biggest motivation people may have for not wanting to hire a consultant or a consulting agency. The biggest reason is simply that many people don’t want to call for help until its too late. They feel weak. They feel incompetent. They feel replaceable. They feel like a failure. They feel uncertain. Any or all of those feelings lead to further inaction, which perpetuates and exacerbates whatever problems brought about those very same circumstances in the first place.
It’s tough to admit things are out of control or out of your scope of expertise. It can be even harder to admit that something you’ve committed your time and energy to accomplishing just isn’t starting or working out as well as you’d have liked or as well as you’d have hoped and planned. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.
And just like the mouse in Robert Burns’ poem, sometimes things just got out of hand because of a plow you couldn’t even see or foresee coming. Regardless, you still have to deal with the consequences before they derail your project, goals, or business. That starts with admitting that somewhere along the line, there was an opportunity to do it better, and when moving forward, the same holds true.
But admitting that you’re wrong or that things aren’t going as you’d planned is not defeat. It’s realistic. It’s assessing a situation before it becomes too dire and then making a turn to save the ship before it crashes into the proverbial iceberg. After all, seeing the “iceberg” in your path and ignoring or denying its existence is just delaying the inevitable. Just like a huge ocean liner, it takes time to turn around your business through implementing the changes a consultant or consultancy brings.
Think of a consultant as a “situational captain”, there to help you navigate the treacherous waters ahead and arrive at your desired destination faster, cheaper, and safer than you’d be able to get there yourself (and most importantly, avoiding the major icebergs along the way.)
How Some Businesses Win From The Start
There is tremendous value in preventative consulting or consulting for success. Businesses that recognize in advance that the mission ahead is out of their league call in a “situational captain” to get the job done and get it done right the first time. An experienced third party can bring valuable insight into preventable problems and mission critical activities while reducing excessive risk for your next project, product launch, advertising or PR campaign, new sales process, service program, etc.
Often times, the investment on the front end for quality consulting pays tremendous dividends in the execution of any business endeavor. Whether it’s through smarter resource management, better client acquisition process, superior brand positioning, or something else entirely, consultants can help you maximize the opportunities available to you in your business.
If success is absolutely critical and you are even mildly unsure of what success looks like or how to get there, schedule a consultation with a qualified consultant to discuss your business’s specific issues. Get a handle on the task at hand – before you waste valuable time, money, and resources going down the wrong path. Most agencies will offer an initial consultation free of charge, though some may require a refundable deposit to reserve your consultation time.
When To Call A Consultant – A List
The right time to call in a “situational captain” is entirely unique to your business. Certainly no list of questions will encompass every situation where consulting is appropriate, and these are to be taken simply as suggestions for business consulting situations only. We’ll leave the accounting to accountants, legal stuff to the lawyers, etc.
If you find yourself or your business in the follow situations, you may want to consider bringing in some outside help:
- You find yourself asking if consultants would be the right option or have the best solutions to a critical problem
- You feel your business is overwhelmed by the challenge ahead or the challenge at present and you can’t afford to just cut your losses and abandon the ship
- You don’t have the people on your team that can get the job done up to standard or navigate the path ahead
- You or your team lack the time to gain the necessary technical expertise or hire a full time solution in advance of a critical deadline
- Your mission is beyond the scope of your existing team but more affordably executed by an agency than by hiring a full time internal employee
- You cannot afford to make a misstep in moving forward from a financial or branding standpoint
- You want an expert’s objective opinion for a valuable launch, PR move, sales or ad campaign, product creation, or other issue
- There are significant risks to a potential undertaking for your organization from a PR, marketing, advertising, sales, legal, or other standpoint
Choosing the Right Consulting Relationship For Your Business
At the end of the day, a consultant’s job boils down to one thing: get you better results than you would be able to get on your own through leveraging knowledge, experience, connections, and other resources. The right consulting relationship can not only position your business for greater success around a specific goal or project, but also continue to bring dividends to your business year in and year out.
Ultimately, the relationship between your business and any consulting agency you work with should be additive to your bottom line – either directly or indirectly. And if a qualified consultant can help you build a better brand, a better bottom line, and a better business, then what are you waiting for? Schedule a consultation today.