Challenges in Consulting to Small Organizations (Part 2 of 3)

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    See Challenges in Consulting to Small Organizations – Part 1 .

    5. The organizations are often too small to justify or pay for expensive outside advice.

    Even when struggling with recurring issues, many small organizations hesitate to spend money on what is seen as diverting valuable dollars from sales and services. So when they do hire consultants, it is usually for specific, low-cost technical advice – and that advice had better solve the organization’s problems and fast. So consultants might form relationships with these organizations primarily by promoting their technical skills.

    6. Small organizations usually need low-cost management and technical assistance.

    Because of the tight resources in small organizations, they usually cannot afford high-priced consultants, even if those consultants would be very useful to the organizations. This situation is made even more challenging because Boards and CEOs often do not budget necessary funds for professional development. Thus, these organizations usually seek low-cost consulting services – and hope for the best. So consultants might consider offering a schedule of fees for various levels of services and also plan their projects to include different phases, each with a different fee.

    7. One-shot consulting often is not enough – the same consultant might be rehired.

    While most consultants want to teach managers “how to fish” (to solve problems for themselves) rather than to give them a “fish” (to solve the problems for the managers), management skills are not something that can be learned in one, low-cost consultation. Thus, a management consultant might be re-hired on several occasions to help with a variety of different management activities.

    (The above was adapted with permission from Sandra Larson, previously of MAP for Nonprofits in St. Paul, Minnesota.)

    See Challenges in Consulting to Small Organizations – Part 3

    Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, faculty members of Consultants Development Institute .