A small business consultant is an outside expert you hire to solve an internal business problem. For a small business, consultants can be a very valuable tool. They’re specialists in a particular area providing support for a defined amount of work.
I’ve spent 15 years helping companies improve their efficiency and profits. Today I’m answering the question “What does a small business consultant do?”
Consultants can help you address business needs in areas where you can’t afford or don’t want to hire full-time year round employees to support the work.
What areas do small business consultants work in?
Small business consultants work in a wide range of areas - from accounting to IT to project management to analytics. Good small business consultants specialize in a limited number of areas. This lets them become much more skilled and provide higher value on the topics that they’re experts in.
A small business consultant might design a business plan, marketing plan, or PR campaign. They can specialize in certain areas such as accounting, operations, human resources, management, marketing, or analytics.
As a consultant myself, I specialize in analysis, automation, and management mainly through the use of your business’s data. This means helping you understand your sales data, streamlining your product offerings, creating business dashboards, and much more.
Why do people hire small business consultants?
There are 3 major reasons you’d want to hire a small business consultant. In most cases, you want someone that can help you:
1 - find problems
2 - create solutions
3 - optimize your business
If you’re seeing a decrease in revenue or lead conversions to customers, a consultant can use these symptoms to identify an underlying root cause through exploration, information gathering, and analysis.
Once you’ve identified a problem, a small business consultant can help you find and implement solutions. This could be training you or your team to overcome skills gaps, it could be designing and implementing processes to standardize your business.
Business optimization is all about growth. Most small businesses hit a limit on how much they can grow because they don’t have more time or money to put into their business. Sometimes they’ll solve this by hiring employees. Often businesses can adjust how they work to streamline their operations so that they’re efficiently achieving the same level of performance. This creates room to grow and helps ensure that as new employees are hired, the work they’re doing is adding as much value as possible.
What should you look for in a small business consultant?
Just like if you’re hiring a full-time employee, you’ll want a consultant that has knowledge in the specific area you’re hiring them to work on. They should have demonstrated experience that relates to what you want them to do. Even if they don’t have specific experience in your industry, they should be able to relate similar things they’ve done before. This can come in multiple forms - if you’re hiring someone that’s just graduated from college, they may have experience in classes or on side projects / personal projects demonstrating the skills - think web design or graphic designers. A consultant should be able to comfortably talk to you about what your needs are and how they specifically plan to meet them.
That’s a quick snapshot of what a small business consultant does, why you might consider hiring one, and what you should look for when hiring a small business consultant.
Need help with analytics and process management?
If you’re looking for help to streamline your business and leverage your data, contact me below.