People often look at the wrong side of the coin when it comes to consultants – They’re reluctant to bring in outside help because they think it’s a sign of weakness. What kind of leader are you if you can’t even take care of your own social media, create your own marketing strategy, or even implement a CRM for your business?
But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. There is nothing weak about getting a consultant to provide their expertise in order to grow your business. Before I get into the specifics of why, let’s first all be clear on what a consultant actually is.
What is a Consultant?
The term “consultant” has, for some reason, developed a somewhat negative connotation over the years. Often when I talk to people about hiring a consultant, it’s as if I was waving a string of garlic in front of Dracula himself.
The truth is, just about everyone has acted as a consultant in one way or another at some point in their lives by providing their expertise. The only thing separating you from someone making a living from consulting is getting paid for your advice. That’s all a consultant is – someone who has a greater level of expertise than the average person. Experience which can come from education, self-teaching, but perhaps most commonly, from having worked in that field and done well.
That’s it. That’s all a consultant is. Someone who gets paid to provide their expertise. So, why should more companies look at hiring consultants?
Economics: Specialize and Trade
When I started Becama, I began consulting in sales, marketing and business development. But I’m an economist by education, which I am eternally grateful for as it has given me a different perspective on a lot of things, consulting being one of them.
One of the most basic principles of economics is the idea of specialising in what you’re good at. If you’re the best designer the world has ever seen, don’t lose valuable time by trying to also make homemade hamburgers on the side to sell. Instead, let Bob sell his signature hamburgers, which he’s had tremendous success with. If you need burgers, you go to him, just as he’ll come to you if he needs that 30-year-old sign replaced with something more modern.
If you think about it, this is something we do all the time, but if it’s not our industry, we don’t think about it. We go to restaurants for a nice meal, we go to the bank for someone to handle our money, the car dealership for a vehicle, and so on…
If you look at it, as an individual or as a company, there is very little we do in-house. But that’s easy for me to say, because who would build their own car to drive around in? Right? Not to mention the costs associated with building your own car, both monetary and time-wise.
Why is hiring a consultant any different?
It’s not. Someone who already has the expertise and experience will not only save you time and money, they’ll greatly help your business (depending on the quality of your consultant, that is). If you run your own business, there is nothing more important for that business than you getting to spend your time doing what you do best, rather than spending time trying to do something you feel you don’t have a grasp of.
You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, so if you’re a developer with no prior sales experience, why are you trying to also market and sell the product? Just like a marketer would come to you for development, you go to them to get your name out there.
What if I Can’t Afford a Consultant?
When you’re just getting started with your business, the reason you do a bit of everything is simply because you can’t afford paying anyone for their help. Believe me, I completely understand this and I am not telling you that you should hire someone for their expertise if you can’t afford it.
If you’re in the situation I just explained, I’m happy to announce that Becama has been working on a project which will provide consulting completely free to start-ups. The “BecamAccelerator” will give you the opportunity to strategize with industry experts to help grow your business. I know what it’s like trying to build something with nothing. The BecamAccelerator is simply an attempt to give back to the community which has given me so much over the years.
You may have noticed that this as Becama’s slogan, but what does it mean? Rethink Consulting… It means it’s time to see that getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Focus on what you do best, let others do the same and work together to grow a truly successful enterprise.
If you’re looking for some expert advice for your business, Becama is always here to help. Ask questions in the comments if you’d like some help in growing your business or if you’d like me to highlight something in particular in my next blog.