Need help growing your business? Tap into outside expertise
New year, new focus.
As we embark on this new year, you are probably thinking about ways to improve your business and create new opportunities for growth. By taking the opportunity to lift your head from the day-to-day minutiae of running your organisation, you can concentrate instead on some creative thinking that will open up new possibilities as well as capitalise on your existing strengths.
And that may mean recognising you need help from outside experts.
5 ways to benefit from outside expertise, and the available types of external help
Skill gaps. Some areas of the expertise you need may not be covered in-house because your employees don’t have the necessary qualifications or experience.
Types of help: Skill gaps could be filled by consultants with recognised expertise in areas such as finance, accounting, law, IT, change management, and human resources.
Intermittent or seasonal needs. Your need for a particular skill set may not be constant, so it would be uneconomical to hire a permanent employee.
Types of help: Intermittent or seasonal needs may occur in areas like logistics or customer service at busy times of the year (for example, Christmas). End-of-financial year is also generally a time when external expertise can assist with meeting deadlines.
Special projects. Outside experts with a successful track record in a particular field could kickstart and then develop your project before handing it over to an in-house team to implement and sustain.
Types of help: Special projects, such as digital transformation, organisational restructuring, implementation of new enterprise systems, new product launches or rebranding could benefit from abilities and know-how not currently available internally.
Cost benefit. It may be cheaper to hire external experts for a project, rather than trying to comprehend the changes required and cover it in-house.
Types of help: Cost benefits can be derived from using services such as tax advisory, payroll or cleaning. These types of services often work out to be less expensive than the cost of a permanent employee.
Free up you and your team to focus on business growth.
Types of Help: Freeing up time helps a team to strengthen their expertise, and offers opportunities to tap into professional advice from consultants like those mentioned above.
How to find and choose outside consultants that best suit your needs
Successfully choosing and onboarding external consultants requires just as much thought and effort as hiring a permanent employee. These are the steps you need to take.
Step1. Define your needs. Specify exactly what you need the external consultant to do. This may involve identifying a skills or knowledge gap, recognising an overstretched employee, outlining a special project or business goal, or simply providing a list of tasks for completion.
Step 2. Determine the length of the proposal. Do you need a permanent solution (e.g., cleaning, payroll), a repeating short-term contract (e.g., tax return preparation), or a single proposal (e.g., a special business project or defined goal)? Spell it out in weeks, months or years.
Step 3. Source your consultant. Look for external experts by first canvassing your own business network. Referrals from similar businesses are a reliable way to find professionals that understand your needs. Search engines are another efficient approach (e.g., search “tax agent in Brisbane”). You can also us social media like Facebook and LinkedIn (possibly posting the job on your personal or company page) and freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer to find experts.
Step 4. Check track record and references. Make sure that your chosen consultant has the skills you need and has successfully completed similar previous projects.
Step 5. Appoint and onboard your consultant. Welcome your new associate, give them access to the tools they need – especially technology – and all necessary information about their role and the organisation.
Step 6. Allocate your internal liaison team. Assign the responsibility for communicating with and, if necessary, collaborating with the outside consultant to a permanent employee or team.
Maximise the financial benefit derived from outsourcing talent
There are many financial benefits to using external expertise, particularly when the services are straightforward – such as payroll, cleaning services, or fulfilment – and the outcomes can be easily measured and quantified.
For more complex projects or business needs, it may be trickier to identify the financial benefits upfront. You may need to do some analysis on the relative costs of using internal versus external resources, and factor in how your business measures return on investment (ROI). (You may find you also need some external expertise to help with calculating ROI!)
There may be more than just financial considerations. For example, other benefits may include:
- Bringing in outside assistance for an overstretched individual or team can help avoid employee dissatisfaction and burnout, and ultimately the costs associated with high staff turnover.
- Alllowing your experienced and talented permanent employees to focus on their area of expertise, instead of distracting them with extra duties, lets your business play to its strengths.
- Applying an external expert eye who can identify inefficiencies or issues which may not be obvious to long-term employees can introduce new solutions.
An external partner to help you find others
Using external support for the completion of a new project or strategy can accelerate your business growth and success. Our MBA Advisors can provide you with the external expertise you need in accounting, tax, audit, finance, IT, offshoring and business strategy. We can also help you to source experts in other fields including legal and insolvency.
Thank you to Tony Sacre from Bentley’s for preparing this article. Outside Expertise can help you to grow your business (bentleys.com.au)
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All material contained herein is written by way of general comment. No material should be accepted as authoritative advice and if you wish to act upon the material contain herein, you should contact The MBA Partnership for properly considered professional advice which will take into account your own specific conditions. No responsibility is accepted for any action taken without advice by readers of the material contained herein.