5 Considerations When Choosing a Small Business Consultant

By Robert Half May 20, 2015 at 2:00pm

You run a small business, and controlling costs is paramount. But that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the support and guidance of a small business consultant.

For small businesses, teaming up with a skilled financial consultant who understands the needs — and sees the potential — of your company can pay off significantly. But how do you choose the right professional for the job? You’ll need to consider several factors, including these five, when choosing a small business consultant.

1. Your goals

Why do you want to use a small business consultant? Here are four questions to ask that could help you decide.

  • Are you interested in reducing inefficiencies and costs?
  • Are you focused on growth?
  • Do you need to fill gaps on your team?
  • Do you need to free up some of your time for strategic planning by delegating some of the fiduciary oversight of your business?

2. Industry experience (or transferrable expertise)

Depending on your type of business, you may have to address unique regulations or tax scenarios. So, seek out a financial consultant with knowledge of your industry. For instance, if you own a small IT firm or software development business, you can look for a consultant who has worked for a similar company.

The industry match doesn’t need to be exact, though. If you operate in the foodservice industry, for example, a financial consultant who has expertise in determining cost of goods versus cost of labor could be a valuable asset for your team.

3. Subject-matter expertise

One of the benefits of working with consultants is they can provide expertise not currently available in your organization.

Their experience is also highly specialized, allowing you to look for professionals whose knowledge ranges from general accounting to navigating fast-growth periods to proficiency with the most current financial systems.

Robert Half Management Resources specializes in providing businesses with skilled senior-level accounting, finance or business systems professionals on a project or interim basis. See the management consulting roles we place.

4. Your post-engagement needs

The value consultants bring to your firm should last well beyond their engagement. Prior to their departure from your company, find ways for consultants to share their legacy knowledge with your full-time team.

5. Recommendations

Tap your network, including your employees, for referrals. Also work with a specialized staffing firm that places experienced professionals in consulting roles for businesses small and large. They’ll likely have access to experts you may not be able to locate on your own and can ease the administrative process for you.

With the right match based on these considerations, you and your financial consultant can begin to steer your small business toward new success.

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