Many small business owners, particularly those running a one-man show, fall into the pattern of trying to do everything in-house. Hiring people to do all the jobs needed to get done can be expensive, and marketing is an area where business owners are especially reluctant to bring on additional help. Marketing professionals aren’t cheap, and their work relies on a certain level of existing business infrastructure.
Are you generating leads but not closing any deals? Are you having trouble generating leads in the first place? You might consider hiring a marketing consultant on an as-needed basis. Many small business owners recoil at the word “consultant”. Common concerns include the expense, potentially unproductive, and a drain on the budget, but when properly used, marketing consultants can greatly benefit your small business.
4 Reasons to Hire a Marketing Consultant
Let’s take a look at these benefits through the lens of four of the most common reasons business owners do not hire consultants.
“Business is down – this isn’t the right time to bring on additional help.”
The key question to ask here is, why is business down? If it’s down because the quality of your product hasn’t kept up with your competitors, or because you’ve lost key service workers who were the main asset of your enterprise, then a marketing consultant probably can’t resolve those problems. If business is down because of the general economy, your pricing is out of tune with the market, or because your marketing strategy isn’t coherent, then a slow business cycle is the time when you most need the help! If you have a quality product or service, a skilled consultant can help you adjust the way you’re selling it and get the cash registers ringing again.
“I create our marketing strategy myself—who knows the business better?”
It’s true that you know your business better than anyone—but that very familiarity can be a weakness. Almost no business owner thinks their marketing strategy needs help, but the reality is, unless you are the Michael Jordan of marketing, your strategy probably has areas where it could be stronger. A consultant has created dozens of marketing plans and strategies and implemented them successfully, and equally importantly, he or she is not blinded by love for what you’ve already done. A consultant can look at your work, objectively assess the good and the bad, then help you strengthen what’s working and eliminate what’s not.
“The internal politics would make it difficult for a consultant to get anywhere.”
Ah, office politics. If you work with a team, you have most likely had to navigate differences in perspectives and even opinions. One major advantage of a marketing consultant is that they are an objective resource. A good consultant will hear out all of the ideas, suggestions, and perspectives, and will build a consensus based on what’s best for the business. In fact, one of a marketing consultant’s greatest strengths is usually that they are highly skilled at navigating office politics and building consensus among rival individuals. This is due to being perceived as “outsiders”, who have no agenda other than the success of the business.
“I just don’t have time to hire someone.”
Small business owners often feel overwhelmed, a situation which can compound itself as minor tasks turn into a cascade of disasters. However, a good marketing consultant will end up saving you time, even in the short run. Jobs that you’re doing on an amateur basis (and taking twenty hours a week to get accomplished), can be done by your consultant in significantly less time. A good consultant knows that their ability to get rehired depends entirely on your perception of their value, so they have every incentive to get as much done as possible in the time that you’ve budgeted for them.
We’ve laid out the case for marketing consultants here, but we do need to recognize that not every business is a good fit for these professionals. You have to assess your own business, its circumstances, and its needs before making this call. A cost-benefit analysis to determine what you can get out of a marketing consultant, and what they will cost you, is an excellent first step in deciding whether a consultant is the right solution for your business.
Considering getting marketing help for your business? We have a range of offerings that range from providing guidance to doing it all for you. Check out our What We Offer page for all of our services.