As an entrepreneur, your plate will always be over flowing and it will be difficult to give time and troubleshoot all the issues on a regular basis. Hence, you may need some external advice time and again and a consultant can fit this role perfectly by bringing in the right process, especially if it’s a short-term project. Besides, the fact that they can fill up the gaps that an organization is witnessing at times, they also bring in depth expertise that will help you with the overall growth. Let’s have a look at few pros and cons of hiring a consultant that could help you with this decision.
Expertise: That’s the first and biggest advantage of a right business consultant; they usually operate in narrow areas and bring in a detailed and in-depth expertise required for your organization. They also help in bringing in a different perspective to the table as their skill-set will be aligned with the current need of the organization. Hence, they not only can help you with decision making processes but will also build a structure that matches your organization’s goals, leading to an increase in productivity and investment, andgenerating a direct ROI.
Neutrality: A consultant will always be unbiased and objective, considering that they do not have a personal connect within the organization. This helps in breaking the myopic view, which the full-time employees tend to build overtime. Being in a time-bound assignment, their focus is only on the goal/plan agreed upon in the association/contract.A business consultant always has a clear strategy planned that helps keep the plan on the track without internal/external distractions.
Fixed Costs: When you are hiring a consultant, you know upfront the exact costs that you are going to incur. There are no overheads involved here, and you can also extend the contract based on your requirements and the results achieved during the initial term. You can also utilize the expertise based on the cost involved, for example, move them to another project if the original project is not giving the expected results.
Expensive: A business consultant is always more expensive as compared to an employee. When the project is running on a low budget, a consultant should be hired only if you are sure they will help multiple the productivity/profits. Either way, there is always a financial risk involved in hiring a consultant.
Availability: A consultant usually services multiple clients at one time, which means their availability is limited. There might be times when you may need them on urgent basis and they might not be able abide by your requirements immediately. Also, a consultant only gives you a strategy; they do not execute it, which means you will still need an internal team in place to implement the same at all hours.
Uncertainty: Consultants do not come with guarantees, so there is always a possibility that you might not achieve the results you had planned when you had hired them irrespective of the cost. You can minimize the risk by looking at their past work/record and conducting a thorough reference check, but if you are someone who is uncomfortable with uncertainty, you are advised to not hire a consultant.
Also, as the consultants usually are associated with the organization for shorter periods, it’s difficult for them to be a part of the operating structure of the organization.
First, solve the problems you can solve. Second, work a long term plan; determine the exact role you have in mind for the consultant in this planincluding the timelines. Third, have your finances in order and check your budget thoroughly for this hire,keeping all the risks in mind.
One thing is for sure, a consultant will change the way you think! They bring in perspective, which could result in a big change in the way you run your business, more on the lines of an ‘Out-of-box’ thinking.
Article originally posted by entrepreneur.