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The multi-billion-dollar world of small business consulting

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Last editedSep 20212 min read

Does the idea of travelling from city to city as a helping hand to pull struggling businesses out of the doldrums, impart wisdom or solve unique problems sound like an exciting prospect? Are you an expert in your field who thrives on fresh challenges and enjoys meeting new people? If so, then you might just be the ideal business consultant.

The size of the consulting market is staggering. It’s worth around $64 billion in the US alone and around $300 billion globally. So if you’re an expert in your field who wants to claim a slice of that pretty sizeable pie for yourself, there’s never been a better time to get involved.

Whether you’re in sales, marketing, IT or finance, there is a major demand for independent consultants, particularly in small businesses that might not be able to afford full-time employees. But what is a business consultant and could it be a career for you?

What is a business consultant?

A consultant is an individual (or a team) that is sometimes quite literally flown in to help a business meet its goals. Those goals could be anything from expansion to saving a company from bankruptcy. The consultant brings a fresh pair of eyes to the table, and often many years of expertise in a specific field.

Depending on the specific goals outlined by the business, they could design business plans, plan a PR campaign or work with the accounting department to sort out finances. Every job is different and that’s what makes it such an exciting career for anyone with a keenly analytical brain and a growth mindset.

Small business consulting services

While larger enterprises might have their own in-house teams of experts, small businesses probably wouldn’t be able to afford to employ such experienced individuals on a long-term basis. That’s why it’s often small businesses that stand to gain the most from third-party consultants.

The goal of any business consultant is to use their skills and expertise to maximize profits and leave the business in a better state than when they arrived. They work with businesses to develop plans, impart knowledge and skills and reach the goals outlined in the initial meeting.

Small business consultants will be expected to:

  • Explore current market trends and apply them where relevant

  • Develop strategies to increase awareness of the business and cultivate a brand identity for the business that reflects its ideals and purpose

  • Settle on long and short-term goals and objectives and set out a plan to achieve those goals in a realistic time frame

  • Build an organizational structure that helps keep the business moving forward with confidence

  • Identify training opportunities for staff and implement practices to both retain current employees and attract new ones where required

  • Go through budgeting and accounting to ensure the business is operating at maximum financial efficiency

How do I become a business consultant?

While a formal certification isn’t required, it can certainly help set you apart from the crowd and will give prospective clients a good idea of where your expertise lies. Generally speaking, however, the path to becoming a business consultant is less about qualifications and more about proven track records, skills and how you go about solving problems. Experience in running your own successful business is always going to help but above all else, understanding and insight are the traits that will get you on the first rung of the ladder.

We Can Help

If you’re interested in finding out more about small business consulting, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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