Should You Hire a Consultant
Or Become One Yourself?

The Success Margin

Monday, January 23, 2006

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Perhaps you should become a consultant in your
field of expertise. Or hire one or more to help
you in your business.

I'm a long-time fan of bringing outside
consultants into your business, well before I
became one myself.

Why can consultants make such a positive
impact on your business?

The real reason is startlingly simple. As an
entrepreneur, you are often much too close and
emotionally involved with every aspect of your
business. It's tough for you to identify problems
that can either be solved. Or turned into great
opportunities which are present in nearly every
business.

When I am brought into a business, I almost always
see enormous opportunities immediately. Often
with some simple actions, sales and profits
explode. And costs can be slashed, which of
course increases profit margins.

My clients have described me as "a magician who
walks on water." But this is not true.

Of course, my experience in starting numerous
successful companies of my own is a big help to
me. But the reality is this. It's not magic at
all. I simply view the business with fresh eyes
and without a deep emotional involvement. And
it can be surprisingly easy for me to uncover
business opportunities in which the company can
cash in.

In your area of expertise you can undoubtedly do
the same.

While starting and operating 23 companies of my
own to date, I have often engaged outside
consultants. And continue to do so to this day.

Here are a few examples of the types of
consultants I've engaged that my companies
benefit from every single day.

** Telemarketing **

We've benefited enormously in areas of
compensation, hiring, training and technical
improvements.

** Internet **

We work with a webmaster who keeps our
worldwide sales activities going as well as
keeping up to date technically in all areas
such as search engines, Google, Yahoo, eBay,
marketing, etc.

** Tax Advisors **

Lawyers, accountants, and experienced
entrepreneur advisers have been instrumental in
legally reducing our tax obligations.

** Driving Force **

Nearly every business does not even know, let
alone utilize, their biggest arsenal of strength.
An outside consultant really opened our eyes by
looking at our business in a whole new way.
(Originally we thought of our business as
publishing. But a real driving force has always
been direct marketing.)

Indeed, most businesses spin a lot of wheels
unnecessarily. They mistakenly spend time and
money on the weakest part of the business while
overlooking the strongest.

For example, I'd be willing to bet a lot of money
that 80% of your business profits come from 20%
of the things in which you invest time and money.
This is known as Pareto's Law.

Imagine what would happen to your business if
you invested 80% of your resources on what
brings in the most profit.

** Legal **

After searching long and hard, we found lawyers
and legal consultants who can help tell us not
only what we can't do (an area in which most
lawyers are expert), but what we can.

** Time Management **

Employees, including top executives of nearly
every business I know, do a poor job of managing
their time. Yet, if you really want to increase
productivity, there is no better investment than
teaching yourself and your people time
management.

Effective time management can make your
business and your life far richer and more
satisfying.

** Product Development **

Two terrific consultants come to mind.

1. Technical. While in the candy business, a
gentleman by the name of Clifford Clay (who
has since passed away) helped in developing
several new and successful confectionery products.

2. Editorial. An outside editorial consultant
helped my organization, Enterprise Publishing
Company, develop several new and very successful
books.

If you market a product that can become more
saleable if improved, you may want to invest in
outside product development expertise.

In many cases a new marketing strategy can
revolutionize a business quickly, almost
overnight.

In other cases the business model upon which
a business is built is flawed and must be
discarded.

This is especially true if the basic challenge
facing any business has not yet been solved. New
customers must be recruited and retained cost
effectively. That is, of course, the underlying
premise of all successful marketing.

Looking for some new, fresh ideas to grow your
business? The answers could be uncovered with
the help of one or more specialized consultants.
You could save untold years of expensive trial-
and-error time.

Of course, when considering any consultant, as
with all people you consider doing business with,
you should do some basic due diligence at
minimum. Talk with a few past and present
clients. And check business references as well as
the Better Business Bureau and similar agencies.

Or perhaps you could become a consultant yourself.
Are you good at helping increase income? Or
cutting costs? Or solving problems of others?

Dedicated to helping you relentlessly improve
your success margin,

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

P.S. Do you have expertise that can help a
business make or save money? Want to join
the lucrative consultant profession yourself?
A manual I wrote with the late Howard
Shenson, a man who was known as
The Consultant's Consultant, can be a big
help to you. It's called "The Complete
Guide to Consulting Success."


© Copyright 2006 Ted Nicholas