How to Choose a Top Consulting Company for Your Business
26 July 2019
You know that statistic that says 80% of businesses fail? Well, it's cherry-picked, kind of. It's true that most new businesses fail, but that study looked at them in the first five years.
If you can get through your first year, that's a big deal. And it's okay to need help, whether you're on year one or twelve. A top consulting company can help you keep your doors open and keep you from sinking all your resources into one asset.
There are many different types of consulting companies each with specializations like operations consulting or marketing consulting. Want to learn how to find the right one for your business goals? Read below.
Who Needs a Business Consultant?
It's a pretty easy answer: anyone that has a business and is new to ownership or new to a specific niche. Businesses are like children, there's no right way to raise them, but there are generally agreed upon things you shouldn't do.
As they "grow up" they pose challenges that other business owners (or those that help business owners) can get you through.
Not to oversimplify it, but imagine if you faced the parental task of potty training alone. Would you know what to do? Probably not as much as you need to. You ask and read about what other parents did in that situation.
That's no different than when you start to lose customers and can't figure out what's changed in your store/business. You need the help of someone who's been in your situation before.
1. How to Hire a Top Consulting Company
There's a question in the business world: "should you hire an individual or a consulting firm"? We're proponents of the second. Why?
When you work with a consulting company, you have more minds at your disposal. There's no such thing as too many minds working on a problem.
Since they're a team, they know how to work together, so it won't be a chaotic mix of ideas and voices.
If the lead team member on your account doesn't know how to help you with something, someone else on the team will.
If you work with an individual, they can only ask as many people as they know. One network is great, but every employee at a consulting firm has its own network. Sure, some of the contacts will overlap, but there are more people to choose from.
Depending on the town you're in, there may only be one or two firms to choose from. If you don't like either, feel free to look for help online.
Plenty of decisions and meetings can happen over the phone, video chat, or via email.
The best reference you can get from a business consulting firm is one from a thriving business. Showing that someone that worked with them is turning a profit and fulfilling their goals is all the reference you should need.
Since you're intelligent and thorough, you'll want to ask that business owner some questions. What was the hardest thing they faced that the consulting firm helped them with?
Was there ever a time where neither they nor the firm knew what to do? How did they get past that?
Not knowing what to do in business, every once in a while, isn't a bad thing. Even for a consulting business. As long as they know how to ask for help and seek out answers, it'll help you both grow.
2. Read the Fine Print Before You Sign
Different firms work in different ways, payment-wise. You don't want to be unhappy with their services just to find out you signed a year contract.
It's business 101 to read whatever fine print there is before you sign a contract. If this isn't a habit you already have, it's time to make it one. If you don't, you're going to get into some sticky situations, in life and business.
3. Know Your Goals
Your business consultant can't help you achieve goals you don't know you have. The obvious goal is to make money from your business and turn a profit. But that's not why you're running a business, right?
What's the why behind what you do? Finding your why will help you wake up every day and face the challenges that come with being a business owner.
Ask yourself why you started a business in the first place. Was there a gap in the market that you knew you could fill? Who or what are you helping by filling that niche?
If the only thing you can come up with is "my pocket" you're not going to last long in the business world. Maybe you will, but it's easier to avoid burnout when there's a reason to get up in the morning.
Make Sure You Show Up, Too
Your top consulting company can't do everything on their own. You have to be as committed to working with them as they are with you.
That means showing up for your scheduled phone calls, video chats, or whatever you have planned. You'll need to do prep for these meetings sometimes to make sure they have all the information they need.
In the end, if you rush through this, you're not getting your money's worth. Not only are you losing money by not taking advantage of their full services, but you'll probably lose some profit from it too.
Don't be part of that depressing percentage we talked about at the beginning of the article. Ask for help, and make sure you get it from professionals.
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