Why you might need a consultant...
I remember a famous quote by Ken Morrison regarding consultants: "If you don’t know how to run your own business, it’s time to give up isn’t it?"
Although Sir. Ken was right about lots of things, including how to build a huge retail empire, he wasn't right about everything! (as proven by this quote around internet shopping: "I don’t think it is awfully relevant. People like to smell and see their food before they buy it")
Here are just a few of the many reasons why you might actually need external help:
You need an objective perspective - external consultants have an objective to simply serve your needs. Employees and internal resources can be caught up in politics, relationships, silos and this can create biases. A consultant is free from these influences so can offer impartial, objective perspectives that are critical to better understanding the reality.
You need specialist skills or knowledge - lots of businesses simply don't require some of the specialist skills, that consultants have, all of the time. Your businesses may be facing an exciting opportunity through growth of expanding into a new site. The skills required to manage this project are likely not to be found in a generalist manager
You want to initiate change - a fresh objective and new information will generate ideas. To create momentum for change (whilst still getting the day job done) a consultant can help build implementation plans, provide guidance on communications and complete some of the more detailed parts of the project (process mapping, SIPOC creation etc.) to ensure the project keeps moving alongside normal business operations.
You need temporary support & guidance - some projects or change programmes are required to only run for a period of weeks or months. Consultants give businesses access to skills and experience when it's required without having the burden or recruitment or having excess resource in the business
You are an SME - it's likely small to medium enterprises simply don't need full-time & permanent support in all the areas that consultants provide: safety, sustainability, project management, statistics, process mapping, certification preparation etc. are all examples.
To obtain funding - with the amount of funding available, and the time required to complete the process, it is likely to be more cost-effective and successful to engage with a consultant that has experience in this field. R & D tax credits, energy efficiency grant applications and NPD grants are all great examples of funding projects which are better managed through consultants.
Good luck in your improvement journey!