A financial consultant can be an important part of your team when you are running a retail business. However, making the decision to bring in a consultant can be a complicated process. Consider the following tips to assist you in growing your retail business with a consultant’s help.
What Does a Financial Consultant Do?
Whether you run a luxury apparel store or sell organic goat milk, almost every retail business can benefit from hiring a financial consultant. In general, a financial consultant is a qualified and experienced individual who can look at your business objectively and make suggestions to improve it.
Since financial advising is a large industry with $22 billion in revenue, it is easy to find a consultant who specializes in retail and your type of business. The services that a financial consultant provides can vary. Some companies hire them to launch new products, grow store networks, evaluate the shopper’s journey, improve costs, cut costs, or help them avoid the dreaded middle.
Finding the Right Consultant
The right consultant for your business will have a background that aligns with your retail goals and the ability to understand the details of what you want to accomplish. Although it is not a requirement, most companies prefer to pick consultants with a finance background and education.
For many companies, cost plays a major factor in who they select as a consultant. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find an affordable financial consultant. According to Maryville University, the average salary for a financial manager is $121,750 and $90,530 for a personal financial advisor. You may be able to save some money if you do not hire a consultant full-time and instead use them on an independent contractor basis.
When you are evaluating consultants, you have to consider multiple factors. First, is their website professional and helpful? For instance, Deloitte offers a detailed list of its services to show its expertise in retail. Ground Floor Partners breaks down the types of businesses it helps by making it easy to select services based on the size of your company. Both of these examples illustrate that the consultants understand the market and how to help you.
One of the best ways to evaluate a potential consultant is to ask for a previous client list or case studies. Successful financial consultants should be able to give you examples of their work that show how they helped other retail businesses. If they are vague and refuse to give details, consider looking for someone else.
Keeping Your Information Safe
Some business owners hesitate to hire consultants because they worry about sharing sensitive information with strangers outside of their companies. Fortunately, this concern is easy to fix with solid contracts and mutual nondisclosure agreements that both parties sign before work begins. These documents will protect you and the consultant.
It is important to pick someone you can trust from the beginning. Transparency is essential for the financial consultants to do their job properly. You cannot hold back information from them out of fear because it will affect their ability to evaluate your business and make the right suggestions.
Setting Realistic Timeframes
You must have realistic expectations when you start to work with a financial consultant. You cannot ask them to complete an evaluation and make changes in less than a week or a few days. In general, most consultants spend several months or more working with one company. This gives them ample time to provide recommendations that will actually help you.
For retail owners, consultations usually involve creating store, marketing and sales plans. If you have multiple store locations and want to expand, the consultant may spend more time traveling to these locations or looking for new ones. All of this means you have to be patient when you are working with a financial consultant.
Some businesses make the mistake of planning for short-term goals without realizing they need long-term ones at the same time. A consultant can help you figure out plans that look at the next 10 or more years for the company. First, a financial consultant can tell if you are moving in the right direction with your business. Are you set to grow or stagnant?
Second, a financial consultant can help you take advantage of industry trends and try to predict future ones. Third, they can figure out what is holding your business back from seeing the growth and profit you want. Fourth, they can formulate strategies that help you get to the next level.
Hiring a financial consultant is a big step for a retail business and should not be taken lightly. This person will have access to many areas of your company, so take your time choosing the perfect match. After all, you are hiring someone to help you and not hurt your business.