Running your own business. It may sound like a dream for most people, but the reality can often be quite different from what we’ve imagined. Of course, there is a massive sense of achievement that comes with being a self-made business owner. You have autonomy over your own life, there’s no irritating boss to answer to and it’s down to you to make your own money. If you are a natural self-starter who works well under pressure, clearly you are going to excel as a business owner. But, at some point, many business owners find that they are struggling to keep up with demand. Perhaps this happens a few years into running your business – or maybe things have gone full speed ahead right from day one, and you’re already swamped with clients. Whatever your situation is, doing absolutely everything yourself is quite a big challenge. So what’s the alternative?
The main way you can alleviate the pressure on yourself, and thus bring your business back to life, is by employing other people. You may already have a couple of admin staff, or perhaps someone to help with accounts on an ad-hoc basis. But if you’re still feeling like you’re drowning under a mountain of work and pressure, it might be time to change things. Of course, it can be very intimidating letting other people into the project you have worked so hard on. It’s obvious from day one that they are not going to value the business as highly as you do, simply because it isn’t theirs. You also run the risk of essentially letting strangers into something you’ve worked for all your life on. So, could outsourcing your staff from agencies be the answer? It can certainly benefit you. Having full-time staff who work for you five days a week isn’t always the right thing for everyone. First things first, you may not simply have the hours or the work to allocate to regular, in-house staff on a daily basis. It is always difficult when your work is too much for just you to take on, but not enough to justify a whole team of people. This is why your business could hugely benefit from hiring a consultant. Also, you could be working on a particularly big project, meaning you need help for perhaps a couple of months at a time. Most employees won’t come and work for you just for a short term basis, so this is where external staff can come in really useful.
When you hire a marketing consultant, rather than a marketing employee, you can be sure of a number of things. Firstly, you will probably save money in the long run. Yes, upfront fees for marketing consultants don’t tend to be cheap. But, think about the yearly salary you would have to pay an employee. Making any sense yet? Plus, to equal the same level of experience that a consultant has, you would need to hire a senior marketing professional. That, of course, comes with a senior level salary. Marketing consultants tend to be productive from the word ‘go’ too, in comparison to employees. This is because they already know how to do their role; there is no ‘learning on the job’. Secondly, marketing consultants are true experts in their field. This is partially why so many of the most renowned consultants are so heavily sought after by their clients. As they are from outside of your business, they will be objective, which means they can give you a whole new view on how your business is operating. They will sit down with you and discuss a strategy that will hopefully eradicate your marketing issues one by one. If marketing is completely alien to you and you have been doing it by yourself since opening your startup, chances are there will be a lot to learn. Marketing consultants can also advise you where to save money in the future, such as avoiding certain types of advertising scams you may have fallen for in the past. Another plus of externally hiring marketing staff is that there are no additional overheads. The consultant will already have everything they need, as, after all, it is part of their job. So, you won’t need to provide them with a laptop or stationary – all things which can quickly eat into your company budget.
IT can be something that makes every business owner groan. It’s something we all hate having to deal with, yet it’s absolutely integral to the running of our company. Before you start messing about with databases and software, it is probably for the best that you employ an IT consultant to take on the task for you. Why? Firstly, IT is incredibly complex. Perhaps you take it upon yourself to try and solve an ongoing technical issue with a system you are currently using. Something goes wrong and that’s it – you’ve lost over half of your data. If you’ve backed all your data up, this isn’t the end of the world. But, it’s still a major hassle and can impede your progress. This is why it is always best to hire a professional to undertake IT jobs that you are not sure about. Just as with the marketing consultant, you might not need full-time, in-house IT staff that you need to pay a salary too, especially if you are a small business. But, you may require professional help from time to time. If this sounds like you and your business, why not look into IT consulting? One of the benefits of hiring such a firm is that you get collective expertise. IT can be a bit of a minefield, and different people will specialise in different areas. Therefore, hiring from a consultancy firm can provide you with the specialist care you may need. The IT professionals will also have extensive amounts of experience under their belts. Although it may all look like a foreign language to you, there are only so many systems and types of code in the world. So, chances are, your outsourced staff will be able to handle anything you throw at them. You can also save a lot of money by using an IT consultant. Most consultancy firms are partnered with some type of technology industry leader. For example, this could be a desktop manufacturer or a software company. Therefore, they will have a number of products at hand that you would have had to source for yourself otherwise.
Hiring a management consultant can be a touchy subject for the independent business owner. After all, this business is yours, and you manage it – who’s to say that you need someone to come in and help you with that? But, if your business has been at a stalemate for the past few months, it may be time to bow to pressure and invest your money in a management consultant. Perhaps you are struggling to handle multiple clients at once, or maybe you have a small team under you who don’t really know what they are doing. A management consultant can be brilliant in these situations as they will open your eyes to a completely different way of doing things. The point of a management consultant is that they will help you overcome common problems and enable you to grow as a company. Many will be able to draw on a huge backlog of resources such as market research and data analytics to help you to overcome common business issues. They may also be able to help you on a more personal level too, just as working on your ability to function as a leader and how to engage your team more. You may find that productivity goes through the roof and, as a result, you see a greater return on your investments.
In our modern world, money is often considered a private matter. We don’t like to pry in other’s finances, and we aren’t overly keen on the idea of someone looking at our’s either. But, when it comes to your business, biting the bullet and hiring a finance consultant might be the best thing you ever do. The consultant will look objectively at the money you are shelling out, versus the money you are bringing in. This is important, as you may look at it from a more emotional point of view. For example, you could have let yourself off for poor figures in August because it was a ‘tough month’. A financial advisor will make it clear to you what could happen to your business if you keep on having a ‘tough month’. Financial problems can also get you and your company into a lot of trouble. You might have had trouble surpassing a low-profit margin, or you may have repeatedly failed to pay bills on time. A financial consultant can stop these negative processes in their tracks. Most of the time, people are aware of their financial difficulties, but because they do nothing about it, the problem snowballs. Hiring a financial consultant means you are accountable to someone, and this is one of the best ways of getting your money back on track.
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