The idea of hiring a consultant might seem odd to some. Why go to the trouble of hiring someone for a one-off or long-term project when you could use the resources you already have? The reality is that by bringing in an outside perspective, organizations large and small gain access to a host of benefits that can provide a significant competitive advantage and improve their bottom line.
Reasons To Hire an Outside Consultant
Businesses that operate intelligently bring in consultants often, and they’re a steadily growing trend in the business world. According to data from Statista, the number of business consultants hired in the U.S. has steadily grown from 2012 to 2019, with over 700,000 hired just last year.
A few key reasons for hiring a consultant include:
- People from outside the organization provide a fresh perspective.
- An outside specialist can bring expertise you don’t have.
- Consultants can fill a temporary position or need.
- Outside consultants bring relationships and connections in certain markets you might not have.
- Your stakeholders might require a skill set your company doesn’t have.
- You need help handling a large workload.
While it’s true you may be able to address issues with in-house talent, you might not be able to do it as effectively as you could by bringing in an outside perspective.
A Fresh Perspective
Sometimes you’re too close to the problem to see an effective solution to it. It’s then that outside expertise is especially helpful. In a piece for The Muse, business consultant Alexandra Nuth puts it this way:
“You know how sometimes when you’re dealing with an issue in your life, you turn to friends and family for their opinions? Companies often need this, too, especially when making tough decisions.”
If everyone at a company is used to doing things one way, operational inefficiencies might go unnoticed for years simply because nobody ever thought to question whether there was a better way. An outside perspective can reveal fresh angles that never would’ve been considered otherwise.
Whether it’s operational efficiency, finance, or creative talent, sometimes the skills you need just don’t exist in-house. And that’s when a qualified consultant can really help.
Especially when it’s a one-off project, hiring an outside consultant with exactly the specialized skills you need helps get the job done competently with minimal effort on your part. A specialist can hit the ground running and doesn’t need to go through a lengthy onboarding process.
Provide a Qualified Temporary Hire
Say someone at your company in a vital position resigns or has to move on for whatever reason. You can’t afford to leave the position open and its duties unfulfilled. So what can you do? Hire a qualified consultant to staff the position in the interim.
Consulting firms often have standing relationships with a pool of qualified people and can draw on them to help you get through the period between hires. Because the person being brought in is already skilled in the job, they can help you operate seamlessly until you’re ready to bring on someone permanent.
A Network of Connections
Outside consultants often have a network of professional connections they’ve built over their career that can benefit your business. For example, say you sell a certain product, and the consultant has experience in an adjacent market. That consultant has a group of contacts in that market who already know and trust them, and they can introduce those people to your product.
This benefit doesn’t begin and end with sales, though. An outside consultant can have connections with a group of excellent contractors you need for your next construction project or the efficiency expert your city’s government badly needs to revamp its outdated policies.
Your Stakeholders Require It
Bringing in someone from outside your company is sometimes as simple as a preexisting relationship with stakeholders. Since those stakeholders already know the person or the company doing the consulting, they trust their work. Sometimes they won’t go ahead with a project unless that consultant is on it.
Maybe they’re an HR consultant that handles hiring and firing, or they’re fantastic at securing new device contracts but whatever it is, no one does it like they do. If a consultant has proven repeatedly valuable—especially at fixing problems and dealing with difficult situations—your stakeholders will want to keep them around.
Help Managing a Large Workload
Maybe you’re temporarily short-staffed or a smaller company trying to get off the ground—whatever the reason, sometimes you need an extra pair of hands.
Bringing in an outside expert with the necessary skills to do the job well doesn’t just free up your time. It gives you peace of mind and can help your business run more efficiently.
This situation could arise with one-off projects, transitions, mergers, or just a certain time of the year that’s especially busy. In those situations, it makes sense to give yourself some extra bandwidth. And your staff will thank you for it.
Additionally, an outside consultant won’t feel subject to the internal politics of your organization, making them more likely to maintain an unbiased view of issues facing your company.
If you’re wondering how to determine when it’s time for your company to hire a consultant, learn more here.
What To Look for in a Consultant
A good consultant should focus on what we call the four P’s:
From the human systems that run your business to the policies you implement to keep those systems running smoothly—every piece is important and should be addressed. And those are the areas we focus on at Bellewether, Ltd.
First and foremost, we focus on the human beings that make your business run.
That could mean training and development through micro learning courses that keep your people sharp. Or it could be leadership development to make sure management is setting the best example they can.
The people at every level of your business should feel heard and have the skills they need to bring their best selves to the job. That means investing in skills education, building trust, and enhancing communication.
Company-wide processes can be difficult to navigate. Good consultants will have expertise in honing processes like change management to make them go smoothly, and are often brought in to navigate tricky situations like mergers.
Streamlining your everyday processes means bringing everyone on board. We help you learn about your teams, figure out what’s helping and what could be holding you back, and implement change.
The best consultants bring a fresh perspective to your practices and help you figure out what isn’t working. If you haven’t kept up with the times, chances are you’re missing out on more efficient and productive ways to run your company.
We provide clients with everything from diversity hiring practices consulting to management training to make sure they’re working like a well-oiled machine from the top down. And we never use a one-size-fits-all approach.
Whether it’s through better management training, more efficient hiring practices, or happier employees, the end goal when bringing on a consultant is always better performance in some way.
A good consultant will be able to thoroughly examine a company, find the weak points, and provide solutions to mitigate those weaknesses or make them into strengths. They’ll be able to track those goals, check them against benchmarks, and iterate when something isn’t working out as planned.
Want to Know More?
Bellewether has decades of experience in consulting services. Specializing in government, transportation, healthcare, and construction, we’ve helped our clients improve their businesses across the board, and often form lasting beneficial partnerships with them.
If you’re looking for a consultant that cares about results and people alike, reach out to us to find out more about how Bellewether, Ltd. can help.