Most small business owners are very hands-on and want to be involved in all aspects of their business. They find it difficult to delegate tasks to employees or outside consultants.
However, as their company grows, they may find that too much time of their time is being spent on activities that others could do just as well or better, so they should consider hiring a consultant. They need to decide what their time is worth vs the cost of contracting out some tasks.
Bookkeeping and Accounting
For those who find bookkeeping tedious or if the business has a large amount of transactions it makes sense to let a professional handle it. A bookkeeper can usually keep your record keeping up to date in a few hours a month. They can pay your bills, do payroll, submit invoices, pay government taxes and get your accounts ready for the tax season.
An accountant will keep you updated on tax laws, make recommendations such as when to incorporate and give you financial advice to grow your business. You may only need them for a few hours a year, but it may be well worth the cost.
Information Technology (IT) Services
Technology changes at a rapid pace and most businesses need the help of an IT consultant to keep up and to solve issues with hardware and software. They will back up your data, set up cloud computing services, install hardware and software, provide training and advise on upgrades to technology to streamline the business and improve productivity.
Human Resources Services
Most business cannot afford a HR individual or department to deal with personnel issues, so they hire a consultant to deal with employee relations. HR consultants are knowledgeable about recruitment of new staff, dealing with discipline and terminations, planning training and orientations and managing employee safety and welfare.
Attracting and retaining customers is an essential requirement for business growth. A marketing consultant can implement an overall marketing strategy and design and implement marketing campaigns. They are experienced in social media, email blitzes, website and blog promotions, press releases, flyers, and arranging educational seminars for clients. In addition, they can set up charity event sponsorships that give your company publicity and cross-promotions with other businesses.
Although many legal tasks such as setting up a business name, incorporation and setting up contracts with vendors can be done by a business owner. More complex legal issues such as partnership agreements, share allocations, lawsuits, real estate or franchise agreements, and trademarks require the services of a lawyer.
How to Hire a Consultant:
- Assess your needs – whether you will need weekly or monthly service or on-call emergency assistance (especially for your IT consultant).
- Make a list of potential candidates – word of mouth is a common way to find a good consultant. You can also get recommendations from the local Chamber of Commerce and by networking with other people in your business.
- Meet with the candidate to discuss your requirements and their qualifications to see if you are a fit. Ask questions about familiarity with your business, when they are available especially when needed, how you can contact them and of course their rates and how they bill.
- Once you have decided who to hire draw up a contract for their services.