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      Small Business  »   Operations  »
Business Consultants

Small business consulting is a very crowded field that includes practitioners such as:

  • the "Big 5" public accounting firms
  • smaller public accounting firms
  • consulting firms of various sizes
  • individual practitioners

Likewise, the types of consulting available include:

  • strategy
  • business planning
  • marketing
  • operations
  • information technology, programming, website design and maintenance
  • finance
  • employee benefits & compensation

Some consultants, consulting firms, or consulting practices specialize in certain types of consulting (per the above list) or certain types of small business. Others do not. If you feel that you need a consultant's expertise to help with your business, consider these criteria:

  • The consultant should have a track record of expertise and achievement with businesses in your industry. You do not want to give your consultant "on the job" training at your expense. Instead, you want a consultant who knows all the right questions to ask.
  • When you hire ("engage" is the usual term consultants prefer) a larger firm, make sure you know precisely who will work with you. Larger firms are prone to sending inexperienced staff where they can. Also, be sure that if you pay the higher fees charged for the time of senior staff that you actually get their time.
  • A consultant who also has broad experience outside your industry could be even better.

    Such person might be more inclined to "think outside the box" and develop creative solutions than someone who just works within your industry.
  • Get references. See how satisfied they are with what the consultant did for them.

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