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 eyesand 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.”