Three Features Every Great Small Business Marketing Consultant Should HaveApr 18, 2023
Are you considering hiring a small business marketing consultant or agency to help grow your business? Are you wondering if a marketing consultant is right for you? But are unsure what criteria to use when selecting a marketing consultant for your small business.
In this article, we’ll share what to look for when choosing your marketing consulting partner and how to know if you’re ready to make the leap.
You may be wondering:
Do small businesses hire consultants?
The short answer is yes!
While not all small businesses hire business and marketing consultants, many choose to invest in additional support and knowledge.
In my experience, most small business owners started their businesses because they love (or have a passion for) what they do, whether it's running a gym, being an accountant, opening a bakery, or something else. Not because they can’t wait to do sales, operations, or marketing.
It’s common for small business owners to partner with business support firms to take things off their plates or fill in gaps in knowledge or experience.
What does a small business marketing consultant do?
When you envisioned running your business, you probably didn’t see yourself spending your time figuring out which social media platforms were right for you or why your blog isn’t bringing any traffic to your website.
You might have thought that you NEED to have a social media presence but didn’t realize how time-consuming it would be. Social media management can be a full-time job in the marketing world.
Even if your marketing has been going ok and you’re managing your small business marketing demands, you may not know what you don’t know. Small business marketing consultants understand that any investment you make needs to generate results. A marketing consultant will review your business and identify gaps and opportunities that are holding your business back from reaching the goals you’ve set.
Your goal could be to attract more clients, retain clients, increase profitability, work more on your business and not in your business, etc.
Small business marketing consultants bring clarity, focus, and expertise to support your business growth.
Be sure to consider these three things when choosing your marketing consulting partner.
1) Will take the time to understand YOUR business.
I know, I know.
Which marketing is best for small business? You want a playbook.
The truth is each business will benefit from different marketing strategies and tactics. While there are fundamentals of marketing to consider, it’s not one size fits all. To get the best results, you should work with a consultant or agency that will take the time to understand you, your business, and your marketing goals.
When you ask the prospective consultant or agency what they will do with you in your first few sessions, be sure they tell you that they will be:
- Getting to know you
- Doing a deep-dive into your business, or
- Gaining an understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish.
After all, how can they help you if they don’t know what help you need? Steer clear of small business marketing consultants who promise quick fixes or overnight improvements. Each step you take in creating better marketing strategies, programs, and tactics will lead you closer to your goals, but no one can snap their fingers and grow your business.
2) Has a wide range of knowledge.
If you’re ready, willing, and able to run a specific tactic in your business, for example, Facebook ads, and you want help doing it, you should look for someone with experience running ads. But if you are hiring a marketing consultant, they should have a range of skills, knowledge, and experience; that can help them identify what may work best for your business.
When you hire a consultant, you are hiring long-term strategic thinkers to find the gaps in your current process. And pinpoint and suggest solutions. Not an agency to execute tactically to implement the day to day of marketing operations.
Some firms have both - tactical and strategy services. If you’re unsure where to start or where your gaps are, hiring an experienced marketing consultant can help you can tap into that experience across a wide range of topics, ultimately saving you money and time in the long run.
3) Willingness to learn and grow.
As stated above, a good marketing consultant will offer expertise in many marketing areas. They must be invested in continually learning and growing their capabilities to bring you the most up-to-date information within the many different marketing areas.
You’ll want to look for a small business marketing consultant that invests in themselves and their business the way you are going to invest in your business. Do they understand the rapidly changing environment? Do they value education? What experience do they have? Have they taught courses or worked in marketing?
The best consultant will stay on top of changes in the environment and value learning. Knowing that their investment in training and education will be knowledge they can pass down to small business owners.
Should I hire a marketing consultant for my small business?
You may be asking yourself if you're at the point in your small business journey where you should hire a marketing consultant.
When NOT to hire a small business marketing consultant.
- No validated market - if you haven’t verified a market for your product or service or are just starting, it isn’t the right time to invest resources in one-on-one marketing consulting.
- Cost-Prohibitive - If you don’t invest and sales and marketing because you don’t have the cash flow or funding to support the investment. Don’t push it! There may be a point in your business where it makes sense to hire professionals to support your small business, but in the meantime, it makes sense to wait a little longer. No one wants to create a situation where the consulting is causing added stress.
- If you don’t like change or are not open to different ideas, opinions, or opportunities - Sometimes we have to hear things we don’t want to hear and do things we don’t want to do. It’s hard to move forward if you're stuck in park. To see what works best, you’ll have to do things you haven’t done before; otherwise, you’ll continue to get the results you’ve always had.
- You aren’t personally invested in your business - to convenience your target market that your product or service will help them, you need to believe it yourself. If you don’t believe in the value of what you’re offering, you should fine-tune that offering until you're comfortable with it and excited about it.
When you should hire a small business marketing consultant.
- Knowledge and experience gap - You’ve recognized gaps in your marketing knowledge and want to tap into marketing expertise.
- When it’s time to get laser-focused on your marketing and the marketing monster has you running in all different directions, you’ll find that a small business marketing consultant can help you set direction.
- You’re open to ideas and change - Are you at a place where you’d welcome new ideas and are open to making changes to get outcomes? You understand adapting and testing for proof is part of marketing. After all, you don’t want to be the next Blockbuster.
- You’re willing to learn and adapt to changes in the marketing environment. You want to know what works - and what doesn’t for your business.
- You are comfortable investing in your business - the right time to invest in your business is as soon as you can afford it. Investing too soon will add stress, and investing too late could result in you leaving money on the table.
- You understand how this will impact your personal life and business - you realize that you are not available to your family and friend because you're worried about how you market your business.
With a small business marketing consultant at your side, you can put that worry on pause and feel empowered, knowing you are taking the right steps to create better connections with your target markets and grow your business.
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