Bridging the Gap: The Value of Hiring Consultants to Grow Your Business
Striving small business owners are often skeptical about the benefits of hiring consultants, “Isn’t outsourcing something that only top earning companies can afford to do? Why pay a consultant for services that my business can do for itself?” Even the savviest of small Government contractors can get caught in the trap of neglecting customer-focused core competencies to attend to the necessary day-to-day operation of their company.
Managing operational functions can become a full-time job which leaves little time and attention for the reason you got into business in the first place — to provide Government clients with your special skills and high quality services. Often easier to focus on, these necessary distractions from the “real” work jeopardize a company’s success. Large companies are often well staffed with experts who can focus on just one competency (e.g. internal IT support or proposal writing). Small businesses must handle everything from IT issues to human resources, in addition to managing all customer-focused core competencies.
I have spent 30 years working for the Government, as well as for both large and small Government contractors. Small companies quickly learn to do lots of jobs to create success for the company — there is no choice in the beginning but to handle all the work with a limited start-up staff. In large organizations, your role is more clearly defined and you can often focus on servicing external clients while others focus on internal operations requiring competencies with great depths of talent.
Small technology companies often start out relying on SBIR contracts or working as subcontractors to one of the established prime contractors like Raytheon or Lockheed Martin. However, to make the critical leap from subcontractor to prime contractor, growing from $5 to $10 million in annual revenues to $100 million, one must win bigger contracts and deliver products directly to the Government. It is a mighty gap to bridge independently, in fact it is time-consuming, costly and frustrating.
Small companies that try to exceed in too many areas struggle to grow a sustainable business. It is best to focus. As companies grow, the successful ones begin to zero in on those core areas that will create the most value for their customers. If, for example, you are in an innovative engineering company that provides products or services to the Government, then you know precisely what your Government customer is paying to receive. That knowledge is what is essential to the future success of your company – therefore shed the responsibilities that do not directly enhance your performance and distinguish your business among competitors. Shedding is not the same as not doing them; it means hiring out to those with special expertise.
Consultants with the right experience and know-how can help you win those bigger contracts by absorbing portions of your workload, as well as developing new internal processes for helping you build and implement an effective Business Development approach to achieve steady long-term Revenue Growth. The right consulting partner can help you bridge the gap to becoming a bigger company with a prosperous future.