Here is why small companies struggle to hire consulting services...
1) Lack of exposure. They don’t know when their situation arrives to the critical point where their knowledge is limited to cope with a specific challenge, and thus, they don’t even see a critical situation arriving.
2) Lack of exposure. Frequently having a technical profile and expertise in their field, they lack knowledge of common tools used in the corporate world, for example a buy or make analysis.
3) Lack of exposure. Expertise in their fields goes for quality assurance of their product or service, however, does not guarantee that they understand the elements to consider in a decision making process, for instance to outline what are the steps to evaluate if an external resource is necessary, or what should they expect from hiring a specialist.
4) Lack of exposure. Many entrepreneurs, even though they might (fore)see the need of bringing external knowledge to their mix, explore the possibilities from the potential cost perspective, rather than from the potential benefit analysis. They probably have not been exposed on how larger companies do or how it happens in other industries, and, most likely, their perspective is more tactical than strategic.
5) Lack of exposure. Some how related to the previous one, if business schools teach us the “right mind” towards assuming risk
leadership and the spirit for making it happen, for entrepreneurs who have not been exposed to this knowledge, normally “wait” until their company has grown enough to outsource specialists in terms of a “we can’t afford that at present”. The truth is that the waiting tends to be much longer without the input of a specialist who has seen how things are in different but similar companies.
6) Lack of exposure. I have found some proudly self-made entrepreneurs, who have come a long way. I like these people. However a few of them somehow have a hard time to acknowledge their knowledge-exposure-experience is not enough for solving a specific challenge. It surely is rewarding to crack a nut ourselves after years of struggling, but are we hindering the evolution of our own project?
This article is mostly based in my experience and that of other colleagues in the consulting business, and does not intend to be on the negative side of things. It is surely a challenge for all of us to acknowledge all the things we just don’t know.
If you are an entrepreneur in need of some specialized input, try and develop your benefit cost analysis; with no guarantee that hiring a consultant is the key to success, sometimes the not spending the money is the most expensive of the plausible options. If on the other hand, you are a consultant, under the premise to know your prospects, it is interesting to understand what motivates them, and how they live specific situations; I hope this bulletpoints are useful for you when negotiating your value proposal.