Starting a business is a challenging endeavor that requires a lot of industry knowledge combined with know-how in marketing, web design and development, sales, accounting, legal activities (to name a few). As a solopreneur or a small team, covering the most out of all areas is expensive, if not impossible to focus on in the early days.
The role of a digital consultant is underappreciated by business owners trying to reverse-engineer the strategies incorporated by competitors and large enterprises.
First-time entrepreneurs and company owners with no practical expertise online have to cover all areas of the digital landscape in order to generate traffic and sales. They have to consider whether a Squarespace website would suffice for their brand or hiring a web developer is the right path forward. Sifting through thousands of low-cost marketing agencies or Fiverr profiles builds the profile of the “Promised Land” and $10 ebooks claim that they teach the full spectrum of B2B sales within a matter of hours.
Digital Consulting is on the rise. Falguni Desai has covered the inception of digital consultancies in various companies in her Forbes article saying:
These acquisitions have given rise to new practices focused on digital transformation, interactive design, customer experience and product innovation. Under the common banner of “digital” these new services are being aimed at marketing, IT, finance and innovation leaders at corporate clients.
Working with digital consultants is an efficient way to grow your business by following a proven strategy in less time and on a budget.
What is a Digital Consultant?
Digital consultants are the link between the business plan and implementation. Established experts profile in different digital fields such as design, web development, marketing, sales, advertising.
A well-versed and experienced digital consultant is in charge of the global digital strategy for a business. This often incorporates different areas such as:
- Unifying the corporate identity of the brand
- Advising on design assets for internal products and the public digital landscape
- Identifying the right development platform for the web solution
- Consulting on eCommerce or Membership solutions for different monetization strategies
- Building a short-term and long-term marketing strategy
- Reviewing the existing inbound marketing efforts and improving the process accordingly
- Suggesting tools, services, and solutions that would automate internal processes and increase efficiency
- Providing support and guidance during PR and networking activities
- Supporting the implementation activities in-house and optimizing the current processes
This is not an extensive list and digital consultants are more experienced in certain areas. Some businesses partner up with 2 or 3 consultants with focus on various areas of the business – like branding and creative, web and technical infrastructure, and sales/business development.
Why Are Digital Consultants Paramount for Small Businesses?
There are many reasons why digital consultants may be the best solution for small businesses looking to build the best online presence out there. Here are some of the main benefits of working with one in your organization.
1. Broad Industry Expertise
Digital consultants are well-versed in all things digital. They are familiar with different platforms and systems for eCommerce, building websites, ERPs, CRMs and more. They have a creative flair for the look and feel of your brand. They know how to sell and can conduct a market analysis. They can identify monetization opportunities and leaks in your business processes that need attention.
The broad business experience is invaluable as they can act on behalf of several different roles in your team. Sure, they have a core specialty or two and won’t be able to build everything for you but digital consultants will translate business to tech for you and prepare the best strategy for your business needs.
2. Cost-Effective Business Mentorship
When you need to tap into the endless digital pool, the alternative is organizing a long meeting with a brand manager, a senior developer, a creative lead, a front-end engineer, a marketing expert, a sales director – and probably a few more industry professionals at the same time.
Let alone hiring all of them for a startup with 2-5 people working on the core of the business.
Working with a digital consultant will give you the right insight on all areas of expertise that the consultant provides.
Most consultants have worked with hundreds of organizations – both as consultants and as representatives, managers, business analysts for various companies over the years. They have been in charge of one or two verticals during the first years and can even help you implement some areas to a T. But they have also worked numerous times with industry leaders with decades of experience in other tangible verticals.
They have experimented and tested different strategies. Some have worked while others have failed. This is a normal part of the learning process and a natural continuation of the R&D flow of most service providers out there.
As a result, you get access to all of that experiential knowledge and can save a ton of money from investing in the wrong strategy or infrastructure.
3. High-End Digital Strategy