Consulting – Wa$te or Wi$e for the Printing and Publishing Community?
You own a printing or publishing business, a successful one (hopefully). You continue to grow, you continue to move forward with your life long dream of your business. You have scaled it from a small local home-grown idea to something great and even more significant in the print and publishing industry. But as the business has grown, have you flexed your muscles in every area to the same degree? Most would answer, well I would like to think I have, but probably must admit in some areas probably not as well. I put a check mark on it thinking I am up to speed and other areas have been on auto pilot or worse yet there is no pilot in key critical business areas!
Maybe you joined an established print or publishing business already well down the path of growth. You are new to your position or acknowledge you have been there awhile but need some fresh ideas or perspective to achieve organizational goals.
We all want to believe we have the knowledge and expertise in every area of our business to make the most educated, efficient, cost effective decisions for our business. We foster this belief when the company was started by one employee and now has grown to many employees. As we grow we hire experts to be on our staff and to handle certain aspects of the business. We shift from wearing many hats to a fewer more focused hats. Eventually you grow to the point where you each have one hat (if that exists). Different levels of knowledge are brought on board but unfortunately you the business owner must live within the requirement to cover their paycheck each week. Some larger printers and publishers are stuck on the phrase “we have always done it this way”, or their in-house expert has been eliminated as part of saving money. I respectfully want to point out if you are doing something the way you did thirty years ago, you are most likely doing it the wrong way. In fact, I challenged my staff to narrow that down to five years doing it the same way. Continuous improvement must be on the agenda to continue to grow your organizations profitability both now and into the future.
Reality is every business has business pains. Some you feel quite often and some you don’t even know exist in your organizations. Top C level folks may not have or feel the same business pains that the in the trenches folks have. To understand the business pain, all the stake holders need to be at the table.
This puts businesses in kind of a circular vortex. We need the top knowledge to be successful, to solve our business pains and to be competitive, but we don’t generate enough profits (yet) to afford the top talent of our larger competitors. Worse yet you are stuck with that old school thinking we have been doing things the same way for thirty years scenario.
Give up, get help or status quo? Well certainly just continuing the status quo and expecting different results is the true definition of insanity. Why drive yourself insane? We all have enough distractions in life that help in that area without us heaping on this ourselves. Giving up is certainly a way to reduce your costs, solve your pains since your business may eventually go out of business. So, what does a company do to bridge that gap and run like the big dogs without having to pay like the big dogs? You hire a consultant, an industry expert in the field you need help with. Maybe it’s accounting (an important one), maybe its operational efficiencies to streamline your process to reduce touch points and related costs, maybe it’s an expert in the materials you use and need to buy. It could be a one-time quick fix help me out need or a more longer term strategic partnership for ongoing needs.
Now you are at the point, yeah but if I can’t afford the full-time position’s salary, how would I afford the consulting fees? Maybe it’s a larger organization that eliminated your in-house expertise as a cost cutting measure in years past. Excellent question, but the question should be can you afford to not doing anything or can you really acknowledge and agree with the philosophy we have always done it this way? Hiring a consultant is like having an in-house expert in an area you need that resource, but you only have to pay for the required help and time you need. You get all the knowledge and help you need as if you had the person on staff, without having to pay their entire yearly salary and benefits. They also bring a fresh and new perspective in solving your business pains.
So, if a consultant is the way to go for a specific need how do I know which one is the right one to help me in that area? Another excellent question, so we at least know you have excellent questions.
Here are some key points to consider when looking to help your business reduce costs, improve efficiencies and facilitate growth.
- Are they an expert in their field? Not that they just say they are but have they longevity and proof they are an expert.
- How many years of experience do they have, personally handling the areas you are looking for help with?
- Do they continue their personal learning in their area of expertise as the industry evolves? Are they current in market trends, do they maintain any certifications, memberships in associations or societies relevant to their field of expertise?
- Are they in the right field you need help with? You wouldn’t hire an accountant to prepare a company customer appreciation dinner, nor would you hire a chef to handle your accounting, unless you were trying to cook your books and in that case, you’ll want to read an article on hiring a great attorney.
- What does their reputation in the market place look like?
- Are their core services in alignment with your needs?
- Can they help you in multiple areas? Some consultants will provide larger block discounts for additional time or services grouped together.
- What does their contract look like, including costs and other terms?
Certainly, a lot to think about and you may be even pondering the question, should I hire a consultant to help me find the best consultant? I may have created a new field of opportunity for a consultant in that statement.
Need help with finding the right consultant in the Printing and Publishing Industry? We’ll help you for free (of course there is a catch but really no help, no cost) Contact our team for more details.