Starting a new business is a very exciting prospect for an entrepreneur. There are numerous success stories about people who have succeeded in businesses. Whereas some of these success stories are awash with accolades, the journey is fraught with many challenges and pitfalls.
For any person wishing to start a small business it is important to make an assessment as to the venture they want to engage in. Most business ventures are not profitable and have a minimal chance of success in the marketplace. With this in mind, it is very critical to establish criteria that will enable you establish profitable business ventures. It is a fact that most small businesses do not go beyond the three year threshold of growth because of how they were started.
Some of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs while starting a small business are the fact that most of them rely so much on their passion to fuel their business ideas. This is a cardinal problem facing small businesses. It is wrong to come to the realization that after establishing a business you realize that it does not necessarily solve an existing need in the market. Whereas it is important to note that you should endeavor to run a business that you are passionate about, most hobbies and passions do not have a place in the market place. This is where most small businesses fail. It is with this understanding that a small business should be carefully crafted and established in a market place on the premise that it is going to solve an existing need.
This brings to focus the need for getting business advice when starting a new business or venture. Business consulting solutions are available to enable anyone wishing to start a business establish the right framework and ground for a new venture. Business consulting solutions are very important as we will see in a short while.
But before that, it is important to define what small businesses are. Small businesses are typically small corporations, individual businesses (sole proprietorships or partnerships) or privately owned businesses whose employees are typically not many. Definitions as to the scope of what defines a small business differ with many industries but it is easy to identify a small business as a venture which exists to make profit and whose membership (which has no universal agreed limit) ranges from country to country.
When looking for a business consulting solution from a consultant, you should typically look for the following key areas:
Advice on Business Opportunities
It must be remembered that all businesses exist to solve an existing problem. If your business idea does not solve an existing or an unmet need, it will not survive in the marketplace. A business consultant therefore must help you establish correctly what opportunities exist in the market and how viable the market is. A needs analysis is a very fundamental step in starting a small business.
Mode of Establishment
Small businesses are defined by their mode of operation. The smallest unit is a sole proprietorship where an individual starts his or her own business, a partnership, which consists of two or more people and small or medium-sized corporations. It is important to select a mode of operation that will enable you start your business well. A sole proprietorship for example can face serious capitalization requirements than a partnership or small corporation.
Most small businesses face challenges when it comes to raising capital. A business consultant can help you identify the best sources for raising startup money or capital. Many entrepreneurs are not able to approach financial institutions well and rely hugely on their savings and borrowings from family and friends as their initial startup.
Business consultants are able to help small businesses identify other alternative sources of funds like angel investors, venture capital funds, crowd funding, accessing specialized business loans through banks and micro-finance institutions among many options. Business consultants who are experienced in this area can help resuscitate collapsing businesses and kick-start new ones.
Sales and Marketing
No business exists until something is sold. Selling is at the heart of every business. It is the most important function of a business. It is the reason without which, a business would cease to exist. Many small businesses are on their death-bed due to the fact that they are not generating any sales.
Marketing goes hand in hand with sales and a successful business will be able to integrate the two functions to work well. Business consultants typically help small businesses identify the problems that exist in their marketing and sales model. This is very important to consider before starting a small business.
It is important to define the management of a small business. Most businesses are operated with the owner doubling up as manager in charge of many operations of the business. There are inefficiencies that are bound to arise since most owners are largely suited to run the role of entrepreneur and may end up getting bogged down with running their businesses and miss growing it. A consultant may help you run your business by identifying where there are overlapping roles and recommend changes to the management of your business.
The advantages of getting a business consultant on board to assist you when you are starting or running your business cannot be underscored. You need to understand the reason why hiring a business consultant will help you grow your business.
A business consultant brings specialized knowledge to your business. Various consultants are able to address specific business needs. If you are starting a new business, and need capital for example, it would be advisable to get an expert who knows how to raise money for new ventures. If your sales are dipping, a sales and marketing expert will help you leverage your business and maximize sales.
Hiring a good consultant will save you the time and hassle involved with experimentation and trying to find the right business model to use. Because of their specialized knowledge, you will be able to get professional advice within the shortest time possible. Who doesn’t want to save time?
A consultant will give you the most practical business advice than your best friend or trusted confidante. Much of the business advice procured from friends and family may not be the best because they may not be properly informed about your business situation.
You may wonder at what stage you should enlist the help of a consultant. The answer is all the time. Your decision however may be informed by factors such as budgetary constraints because some consultants charge by the hour. It is important though that you do your search well before you start your small business and get the best advice.