Whether you need additional seed funding, innovative marketing strategies, assistance with finding the best employees – or all of the above – getting the right advice can be crucial to growing your startup, and one of the best sources of that advice can come from a business consultant.

Business consultants will typically possess expertise in certain areas, so partnering with someone who has success in working with startups or businesses can help to get your company off the ground more quickly, and in the right direction.

There are several key areas where bringing a business consultant on board can help with growing your startup. Here are 5 ways a business consultant can help grow your company or startup.

Market research

A  business consultant can assist you with in-depth research on the market(s) that your company can best serve. Based on the analyses that a consultant brings to the table, a specific marketing plan can also be developed, which can pinpoint where your primary focus needs to be. This can prove to be especially beneficial if your company will be entering into uncharted waters.

The benefit of market research completed by an expert business consultant is that your company’s resources can be focused on a niche that you can actually succeed in. Imagine spending thousands or millions of dollars developing a product or service that ends up being a bad fit for a specific market.

Instead, a business consultant with expertise in the industry you plan to target can ensure early successes that can help fund expansion opportunities down the line.

Furthermore, working with a business consultant can also provide startups guidance with product or service development. In this regard, an experienced consultant will be able to help with steering your business, based on what has – and has not – worked in similar situations, which can ultimately save you time and money in both the short- and long-term.

Business plan development

In addition to researching your company’s target market, and the best ways to reach it, a business consultant can also provide support with creating your startup’s business plan, as well as offering advice on the key actions to take in order to reach specific sales and revenue goals.

For example, if your company will be needing financing to expand and grow, a business consultant may have experience dealing with banks and lenders. By allowing a seasoned professional to develop your business plan and handle negotiations, he/she will know exactly what lenders want to see and how to best approach the process.

Performance

Consultants can help to develop specific performance objectives, which can often be based around certain factors that could affect the way a company operates. For example, if there are any environmental criteria that could hinder your startup or company from moving forward, an experienced consultant can investigate and identify alternate strategies.

Similarly, if you already have a large organization and structure in place, a consultant can help you become more efficient by trimming expenses, streamlining processes, and removing redundant personnel. If a consultant can help you save multiples over what you end up paying him, then the expense of hiring him is justified economically.

None of this means that you, as a business owner, should take a backseat to your consultant. In fact, just the opposite. According to Trevor McClintock, “every leader must aspire to be a change agent”. As an entrepreneur, it isn’t enough just to have a vision. It’s about having the foresight to know what changes are coming, what needs to be done, and to pivot your company to adapt, survive, and continue to grow.

Human resources

Finding the right people to put into various roles can be a time-consuming task as well as one that could slow down your progress in other areas. A consultant can help your business by offering expertise pertaining to employment and hiring practices, as well as attend to the training and management of individuals once they have come on board.

Moreover, business professionals acting as consultants may already have relationships with individuals worth bring on. Looking for a chief marketing officer but not sure the current applicants for the position possess the vision and skills to take your company to the next level?

A business consultant may already know other marketing professionals who have what it takes, thereby minimizing the risk of hiring an unknown who may take your company in the wrong direction.

Time

When it comes to any type of business endeavor, knowing where your focus is needed the most can often dictate the difference between failure and success. This usually means having the time available to focus on the key activities that call for your attention, while delegating others to competent members of the team such as a business consultant. This can allow you to be exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there.

Besides, one of the biggest benefits of hiring any type of help is to allow you, the business owner and entrepreneur, the freedom to direct overarching strategy instead of working on the minutiae. By employing a consultant to solve a specific problem, owners can free themselves to think about the bigger picture and be more productive.

The Bottom Line

A business consultant can bring a wide range of experience, expertise and credibility to your startup or existing company, allowing your business the ability to grow as efficiently and quickly as possible.

This key member of your team can offer you impartial advice, help you make the best use of your precious time, and in the end, avoid costly mistakes that could end up hurting your business’s chance of success. After you’ve justified the idea of hiring a business consultant, the only problem you’ll have is – which consultant should you hire?