I own a car. In fact, I own two. But I don’t tinker with my own vehicles. Mostly because I can’t afford the tools, the time or the brain-power to know what is needed to fix either one of them. Not only that, but I am so accustomed to my own vehicles, and the way they run, that I overlook glaring issues any new observer might easily recognize.
That is why I take my cars to a mechanic.
Now, you probably think that everything is running smoothly in your small business. You might be right. But even a well-oiled machine still needs a mechanic to run diagnostics, check levels, and red line it for good measure. After all: how do you know that you’re headed in the right direction for the fiscal report? And are you sure the Six Sigma launch you had that potluck around has really made a difference? No matter how well you think you’re doing: you need a check-up.
That is why you need a business consultant.
Business consulting is like car maintenance. For over 10 years business consulting has been a staple in any company worth its weight. The consultant is your mechanic. There to fix and prevent process issues. But more than that: they should make you more money. Like a good mechanic, a consultant will bring changes that translate into a fatter bottom line… But don’t go hiring any old schmuck in a suit. Read on.
Despite a good run since 2003, there was a plateau in business consulting about four years ago, mostly due to costs and office politics (It seems businesses don’t like tinkering on themselves). Internal consultants and managers are too close to the problems to effect real change. This produced lack-luster results, causing business consulting to level out in 2009, along with everyone’s 401(k) when companies were scrutinizing every penny.
Another thing that makes having an internal business consultant a gamble is that there is no way to quantify their profitability. Another person on payroll can easily get lost in the shuffle come payday. Not to mention: certain companies were nothing but consultants.
By now you’re probably saying: “But I thought you said business consulting was a good thing?!” And it is. Only; not in the form it has been in the past. After 2009 internal consultants thinned out. But the ever-present need for checking under the hood brought the next wave in consulting: The Remote Business Consultant.
Having a remote business consultant is like having a dealership mechanic come to your garage.
The consultant from outside can see things that you and your team can’t. He or she is above the cultural radar; so corporate politics and office issues won’t skew the results of their work. A remote consultant can bring change management assistance, they can better implement new technology, bring a host of new methodologies and a fresh perspective all to help your business become more efficient and profitable. And best of all: as with most contractors you can tell where they have earned their keep.
If you want to learn more about business consulting or get your engine checked out; go to CFOAsk.com.