No two businesses are the same. The challenges, opportunities, and structure of each company are in one way or another unique from its competitors and others. Since each business is different, a unique approach is required when any given business is trying to deal with a current problem or assess their viability in the future. The consulting industry exists to help businesses tackle these issues, but not every consulting job is going to be the same. Small business consulting is going to require a different approach and frame of mind compared to working with big businesses.
What is consulting? Well, consulting is the process of offering expert advice or facilitative assistance to help businesses examine the problems that are holding them back now as well as the opportunities they may have in the near future. The concept behind small business consulting is no different; however the approach may vary from that used with big businesses. A typical consulting approach looks like this:
- Getting to know the business
- Assessing problems and opportunities
- Perform an analysis
- Develop a plan to conquer issues
- Implement, track, and adjust the plan
While many small business consulting firms will use the above process, the exact path it follows may differ from client to client. The process will work much differently with small businesses especially. For starters the process will be much quicker because the initial “get to know the business” phase will go much faster with a small business. Also, when consulting with the client regarding their view of the company there are likely to be fewer individuals to have to spend time consulting with.
Small business consulting is exactly what it sounds like, consulting services that are provided to small or start-up businesses. Many small business consulting firms specialize in working with companies that have 100 or fewer employees and have relatively modest sales figures year after year. Many small business consulting groups focus on providing the following services:
- Design business plans
- Develop marketing strategies
- Create marketing plans
Not every small business consulting group provides the same level or type of support to their clients. Some will go above and beyond to offer other services such as:
- Web design
- Web hosting
- Search engine optimization
- Blog marketing
Many small business consulting groups focus on providing small businesses with a support staff and infrastructure support that mirrors that of big businesses, but which would be impossible for start-up businesses to have given their limited finances.
Small business consulting firms will hire only the best to provide support and know-how to their clients. Consultants aren’t just your Average Joe who walked in off the street. Rather, they are individuals who have vast experience in business and will be able to impart their knowledge to small and start-up businesses. Many consultants have the following experience behind them:
- 20 or more years of on-the-job experience
- Master of Business Administration degree
- Experience in all sectors of business, for example in sales, marketing, and finance
- Experience with businesses facing different levels of growth, for example start-up, growth, or maturity
Lastly, small business consulting is different from other forms of consulting because small businesses are uniquely positioned in the marketplace. Their small size provides them the flexibility to react quickly to changes in the market place and exploit opportunities with lighting fast ability. Small business consulting groups can help small businesses overcome the problems that might be limiting their growth, and prepare them to quickly take advantage of opportunities in the future.