It is a question you may be asking yourself, even as you view our consultancy website. "Why do I need a consultant for this? I have employees!"
To answer the question, we suggest you think back over the past five years of your business. Is your business growing, leaving you with too much work for your current staff, but not enough to hire more people? Were there times when key employees were traveling, or sick, or unavailable when you needed them most? Was your business hit with something unexpected, drawing your attention away from the task at hand? Did you personally spend more time working to meet deadlines than you expected when you took your own job?
If you are like most managers, the answer to these questions is probably "yes." For those times, you may have hired a consultant. If you didn't, you probably should have.
Companies rely on consultants every day to handle tasks of all sizes. It is a surprisingly cost-effective way to get things done. And it prevents you from having to ask your full-time staff to take on more work or more responsibility for the same pay, avoiding a host of problems certain to occur if you do.
Here is our list of things you may wish to consider when, and if, to hire a consultant:
A consultant arrives when you need him, and leaves when the job is done. No time is spent on hiring and personnel matters, and when the job is finished, parting with your consultant will be pleasantly professional and uncomplicated.
You and your consultant have the same goal: getting the job done. The consultant comes from outside your company and isn't concerned with developing a niche in your company or jealously guarding a position. He won't be involved in office politics. His only goal is to complete your job on time to the highest professional standards.
Consultants don't overstay their welcome. Generally, the time needed to complete your job is determined before it starts. Your consultant works within the allotted time to accomplish your goals. He or she has no reason to extend the job, and is highly motivated to finish on time and on budget.
Consultants are temporary, but they're not "temps." A consultant is an experienced professional hired to assist your company when needed. Often, he or she may be as qualified as your senior employees, but won't be vying for a position with your company.
Consultants are loyal to you and your business. Your consultant signs a confidentiality agreement before work starts, and cannot disclose trade secrets or confidential information to your competitors. Consultants work discreetly, and maintain that discretion long after the job is done.
Consultants bring a fresh perspective to your business. Your consultant is a professional who has worked with many other companies. He or she has seen what works, and what doesn't. A consultant may bring new suggestions to solve a business problem, or may provide independent confirmation that your plan is the best option.
A consultant can bring new skills to your office. Perhaps the most common reason to hire a consultant is to complete a job you need, but that can't be done by your own staff.
Consultants can handle tough or politically sensitive jobs. With no direct personal or emotional connection to your employees, a consultant can be the perfect person to recommend, and even implement, difficult program or staff cuts.
Consultants are worth what they earn. The cost of hiring a consultant is often the biggest concern of any business. The real concern of key decision makers should be return on investment. Is your business going to get what it needs in exchange for the agreed price? If the answer is "yes," you should hire the consultant to do the work.
Consultants often have 20 or more years of experience in their professions. Typically, they become consultants because they're productive and driven to a high level of success. The best consultants view themselves as subject area experts and colleagues of senior management. They want to help.
This unique position allows them to support your organization without being a threat to the key decision makers who hire them. They will do what your company needs to succeed, and move on.
Photo (above) courtesy of pakorn at freedigitalphotos.net