Six Reasons Smart Leaders Engage Independent Professionals for Consulting Services

Discover six reasons that working with an independent professional can help you grow, improve, and sustain your business or organization.

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As the leader of a small to mid-sized business, you may feel as though securing “consulting” support is outside your reach. That may have been true decades ago when the consulting industry revolved around the “big four” and consulting services were designed for big firms with deep pockets.

However, the market has shifted. Today you can access an amazing array of temporary talent in a consulting or freelancing engagement by tapping into what is the fastest-growing employment sector in the US – independent professionals. (Growth has been 4.7% CAGR)

Here are six reasons that working with an independent professional can help you grow, improve, and sustain your business or organization:

1. Expertise

Keeping up with current technology, innovations, and best practices is difficult, no matter what the area of specialty. Independents can provide needed expertise to an organization without making a hire. This can work especially well when the skill set needed is more cutting edge, and employees have not been exposed to or equipped with the new skills, methods, or tools.

It can also work well when a client needs a certain skill set for a fixed point in time. For example, they may need help coding or customizing some software, but once that is done, they have no long-term need for those specific skills. In that case, it makes perfect sense to contract for what you need when you need it.

2. Outside Perspective and Objectivity

Perhaps the greatest thing an independent consultant offers is objectivity about your situation coupled with a breadth of experience from other organizations. They can see things that you, immersed up to your eyeballs in the day-to-day, cannot. They can put things in perspective for you. They can offer ideas beyond the paltry few your staff can come up with. They assess and provide candid recommendations, something that those inside an organization might struggle with.

An independent consultant brings a less emotional perspective. This does not mean they don’t care. It just means they have less baggage attached to the status quo. This enables them to bring more objectivity than internal staff typically can.

3. Cost Effectiveness

The ability to hire the right skills at the right time and in the right amount means that hiring a consultant is often your highest value spend. It eliminates the overhead with a W-2 hire (benefits, taxes, training). You are able to access a deeper level of talent and expertise that would be out of reach if you were hiring. Independents can begin offering value, often even through the contracting and proposing process. And consultants, based on their expertise, can often help you avert risk and minimize the wasted effort that comes when you are in new or unfamiliar territory.

4. Getting a Fast Start

Hiring talent takes time. A lot of time. Contrast that with hiring an independent, which can happen much more quickly. It may take weeks, but seldom months. There is still search and vetting, but the search is more targeted, and independents typically respond quickly. If they are available, they will also be able to start quickly.

Even better, once there is an established relationship (typically with a master contract and other procurement requirements in place), it’s relatively easy to bring that consultant who works well with a particular client on board for other projects. These independents are trusted. They work effectively with their clients, and they know the organization and how to get work done. I’ve often gotten big projects started with my repeat customers in a matter of a week or two—and when time is critical, this is a real advantage.

5. Jump Starting a Needed Capability

Here is the key question if you are considering an independent: “Do I need this skill or expertise over time?” If the answer is yes, then make sure that part of the independent’s role involves training and equipping your folks with the skills they need to know.

There is a growing market for fractional roles – in which a consultant provides needed services, develops the framework for the new capability, and then steps away once the organization is prepared for the new functionality.

Beware of independents who guard their knowledge and are reluctant to help others do what they can do. My mantra is always to equip my client partners with higher-level skills in the area I’m helping them with. Client independence is the goal, not client dependence.

6. Being Fully Vested in Your Success

All the independents I know really want to make a positive difference for their clients and their organizations. They want projects to succeed, sales to soar, and employees to thrive. There are three factors that lead to this: 1) They are doing work that they are really good at and, in most cases, passionate about; 2) Their success is linked to their clients, and they cannot survive as an independent doing mediocre work; and 3) They have a strong desire to serve and to make a difference.

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Looking for great consultants that are committed to your success? Apeiron provides a one-stop shop to access some of the best consultants in the central Indiana area. Want to learn more? Simply submit the contact form below and we’ll find a time to learn more about your situation and how we might work together.

About the Author: Kris Taylor

Fueled by their shared passion for people-centric organizations that achieve business results, Kris Taylor joined Joe Indiano to found Apeiron, where professionals join together in an abundant, entrepreneurial community to grow sustainable businesses by collaborating together. Bringing together highly skilled consultants across functions, Apeiron is creating the “workplace of the future”, where talented professionals come together to service clients with an agile, collaborative approach to tough business problems.

Kris is also the founder of Evergreen Leadership in 2004 and has worked with over 80 companies across the US to develop customized leadership development programs focused on 21st-century skills.  Evergreen Leadership is known for its high-impact retreats, coaching, and learning programs, specializing in fostering agility, collaboration, relationship building, accountability, creativity, and innovation.

Kris writes, speaks, teaches, and coaches leaders at all levels, from the C-suite to high-potential emerging leaders. She is committed to giving back in meaningful ways, most visibly with Evergreen’s Annual Community Builder Award. Since 2015, fifteen leaders across the mid-west have come together for the Connect and Create Retreat.

Her many years of work experience are rich in variety – beginning in education and non-profit for ten years before making a career change with RR Donnelley. In this Fortune 200 company, she fulfilled many roles from Human Resources to Operations to a corporate role in Learning and Development over fourteen years.

On the faculty of Purdue’s Certificate Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation for seven years, Kris developed and taught a course on consulting, as well as a course entitled Your Entrepreneurial Career. Kris is also the author of author of Owning It: Take Control of Your Life, Work and Career and  The Leader’s Guide to Turbulent Times: a practical, easy-to-use guide to leading in today’s times. She holds a Master’s Degree from Krannert Business School at Purdue University and did her undergraduate work at West Virginia University. 

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