Building, growing, and maintaining a business is no small feat. Even seemingly simple concepts require a combination of operational, accounting, marketing and human resource acumen. Partnering with a consultant can seem like an admission of failure or an unnecessary expense, but I would like to challenge that line of thinking. The right consultant or business service organization can actually save you money, expand your capacity and bring a fresh perspective, so you and your team can focus on the passions and strengths that have brought you to this point.
According to Gallup, one of the key complaints in today’s workplace is the feeling of being overworked or over-jobbed. Asking team members to take on hybrid roles or functions beyond their skill set can lead to burnout and disengagement if left unchecked. Bringing in a partner to off-load specific aspects of business can expand bandwidth without adding personnel or stretching the existing team. Most consultancies give you access to a team of people for one monthly cost – who if you hired them individually would cost you thousands of dollars in payroll expense. For example, in a marketing consultancy, your team would likely include a strategist, social media manager, content writer and digital analyst. Each of these individually would be upwards of $50K per year, but a consultancy could be the equivalent of half of one salary depending on the scope. Are you leveraging the energy and skills of your team or are there elements of their responsibilities that could be shifted to a strategic partner?
As much as we want to be all things to all people, it’s not possible. We recognize experts for a reason – they have achieved a much higher level of understanding, skill and speed than we possess. Chances are that you are an expert in something, and your organization may be among the best in its field, but there are always aspects of business where someone else is just better – finance, marketing, technology, research, negotiation, legal, etc. Aligning with a consultant who specializes in a particular area could save you money and time. They likely have access to information, resources and processes that would take you years and a sizable investment to assemble. Are there areas where you distort time and resources that could be turnkeyed with excellence by an expert in that discipline?
From pharmaceutical and technology to non-profit and finance, some of the most successful organizations are those that are open to feedback, on-going employee development and analysis. Leaders in progressive companies recognize that they don’t have all the answers and appreciate diverse perspectives and alternative solutions. Good consultants will not disrupt progress and positive culture, but will enhance it by providing accountability, supplemental tools and/or a fresh approach. Sometimes hearing things from a different voice is all it takes for a team to clarify role, communication, process, goals or expectations. Additionally, consultants often work with many companies and verticals, so they are able to provide context and examples of best practices that you may not tap into otherwise. Among the leadership team, coaching to improve communication and candidly revealing blind spots can have an immeasurable impact on the productivity of an organization.
Are their initiatives that could be driven forward faster and more effectively through support and coaching by a professional in a particular area?
Deciding to work with a consultant should feel like an extension of your team. They should not require additional energy to manage but should effectively shoulder the burden and bring value to an area of your organization. A consultant cannot replace your team, but the right consultant can certainly amplify your team’s capacity to achieve great things.