Consultants are a luxury
Finding good help can be difficult, but advice is sold everywhere - on social media, by email, at social gatherings, and at network meetings. At a time when we have free access to information 24 hours a day, selling information is a growing activity. Consultants often sell you the information they receive for free.
Talking is not expensive
There are countless consultants out there trying to convince you that you can't live without their brand or their marketing ideas. Almost half of them use the Simon Sinek model, which advises companies to “start with the why”. The information is rarely the original work of the consultant. In addition, there is a lot of similar information on websites such as Medium or Ted Talks.
Before paying a consultant to help you with an aspect of your business, do a self-analysis of your needs. If you are a book writer trying to sell more books, a stationery owner who needs customers, an artist who wants more appearances or a consultant, judge your needs.
Avoid being persuaded by a pitch to pay for a consultant. Consultants are good at launch by identifying the weaknesses of the entrepreneur. Just because a consultant can identify a gap doesn't mean you have the skills to fill it.
Do your homework and be honest with yourself where your weaknesses lie. Then read articles and books and watch videos about your business before hiring a consultant to provide information.
An author shouldn't have to pay a consultant to find out that their book should be available on Amazon. You can pay a consultant to help you place your book on Amazon. The advisor who advises on Amazon is not the same advisor who can help publish a book on Amazon.
Placing your book on Amazon can be a long process. So it may be helpful to let someone else do it for you. Gathering information on marketing books is not tedious. Pay for hard work, information not available.
You do not want to hire a consultant until you have clarified the scope of your requirements (unless you hire a consultant to clarify the scope of your requirements). You don't want to hire a brand advisor if your problem is gaining loyal customers. If you have many unique clients, be sure to hire the right consultant who can advise you on how to bring you clients. This can include product extensions, customer service or even outsourcing.
Hire the consultant who can solve the right problem. If you've hired a brand consultant if you need someone to train you in customer service, you won't get the service. You cannot afford to get involved in the overall growth of your business. Your business has special requirements that need to be taken into account.
No amount of free information makes you an expert in all aspects of a business. As your business grows, you may need a consultant at some point, but not for branding and marketing advice at the Dime store. You want a consultant to work for you.
When to hire a consultant
Free information is great, but if your business needs everyone on the same page, you may need a consultant to create a message and get it out to everyone. For this reason, many companies hire consultants to deal with sensitive issues such as discrimination and sexual harassment. However, the same principle applies to many aspects of corporate branding and marketing.
Consultants are also useful for launching campaigns. You can perform market analysis, create marketing materials and set return on investment objectives. For example, a campaign advisor can take advantage of your business during the holiday season.
When it comes to special jobs, consultants almost always outperform DIY enthusiasts. Writing grants, creating logos and marketing materials and negotiating contact conditions are specialties that have nothing to do with what a business does.
A plumbing company that is trying to bid for a government contract may need to hire a consultant to help you. An author must hire a graphic designer to design the cover of the book.
When you're ready to hire a consultant to meet your needs, don't just go with your friend. The person in your network meeting or special promotion may not be the best option either. Quality is your best option. Buy the best quality you can afford.
Do not assume that someone who has written a book on the subject qualifies as a consultant. The books are full of free information and do not indicate a thorough understanding of a subject. The authors are not always experts. Sometimes they are just good writers. In fact, many authors don't even write their own content. You pay a consultant for this.
Make sure your advisor has real experience beyond writing on the subject. You need to know if you have experience working with companies of similar size and in the same industry as you. Ask about their training and experience.
You want to know if the consultant has formal training from other experts, including diplomas, certificates and internships. The best trained are not always the best option, not even the most expensive or the most experienced. However, all relevant information should be taken into account.
Don't be afraid to ask for references. Requesting quotes, especially for expensive projects, is a good deal. The goal is to compare costs with the service and not automatically pay the lowest rate.
Some quotes are based on time. There is no guarantee that your requirements will be met when the time is used. You could end up paying a lot more than you thought at the end. Other consultants invoice the execution of the order. In this case, you want to make sure that the quote covers the entire scope of the project.
The cost of printing, outsourcing, waste removal, accommodation, general public, facilities, groceries, etc. may be additional costs. Don't assume projects are simple. Read the suggestions or offers carefully to compare the costs.
As an entrepreneur, business is sometimes scary. We want to be saved by the experts. But this wait can keep us in the hole. Knowing when to call the expert and making sure you have the right expert is more important than your comfort.
Unfortunately, small business consultants are a luxury. You have to rely more on the wealth of free information to catch up. Don't let an advisor convince you that spending money without getting information is a good investment.