Hiring A Consultant To Help You Grow Your Agency

Considering hiring a consultant? There are many reasons that PR and communications agencies do, not least of which is because business planning for 2014 is about to start. If you’re considering hiring a consultant, here are my thoughts on the benefits of doing so, from the RepMan blog. (Many of you know that @RepManCody is Steve Cody, co-founder and managing partner of integrated communications firm Peppercomm.) I hope you find the post valuable.

Please share a comment about your experience in hiring a consultant in the Comments section.

(BTW, as you can see from this picture, Steve does stand-up comedy. But I hope he was serious when he asked me to pen this post!)

Six reasons why you should hire a consultant


Ken Jacobs* is a good friend and superb consultant to PR firms

“Why should we hire you? My senior executives and I should be able to do for ourselves what you say you’ll do for us. After all, we run a successful PR agency.”

It’s a question I’ve heard, and not infrequently, as a consultant to PR firms and coach for their leaders. I appreciate RepMan offering me this forum to answer that question.
My peers and I can bring much to your firm. Here are six reasons why you should consider working with one of us:

1.    We offer the one thing that’s impossible for you to have about your firm and yourself: objectivity. No matter how smart, insightful, or intuitive you are, it’s impossible for you to look at your business, your executives, and your own leadership style, without bias and with complete honesty. That’s because you’re in the middle of it. Our value comes from our outside-looking-in perspective.

2.    We bring complete honesty. We’ll tell you what you may not want, but need, to hear for your business to thrive and grow. These are the truths that even your trusted employees may be reluctant to share. Why? Because we’re not dependent on you for our promotions, raises or bonuses. We don’t need to manage up, or sugar coat things. Sure, we’ll be diplomatic if we have to tell you “the baby’s ugly.” But we know that our value, and therefore our next assignment, is tied directly to our candor.

3.    One of the reasons we can do so is that your staff and clients will tell us things they won’t tell you. For your firm to grow, become a superior workplace, improve its processes, and enhance its client service, you need critical feedback from your staff and clients. But no matter how open your open-door policy, or how much you encourage your clients to have tough conversations with you, it’s often extremely difficult for these two critical groups to level with you. Because we’re trained in how to get people to share their real views, and we’re perceived as objective third parties, they’ll tell us what they’d never tell you. And then we’ll share it candidly. (Please see #2!)

4.    We’ve (just about) seen it all. We have valuable experience that you might not. Before we became consultants, it’s likely we worked in PR firms that are larger than yours, or helped our agencies grow from your firm’s size to the size you want it to be. We’ll willingly share the lessons learned in the trenches that led to our business success, and those we’ve gained from our “failures.”

5.    We can help you with your toughest problems. One I hear frequently is the challenge of managing Millennials. We’ve got many Boomer and GenX leaders who think they’re being asked to coddle staffers from the largest, fastest-growing part of the labor pool. For the record, they’re not, and understandably, Millennials resent this implication. That’s a potentially incendiary situation.  (If this is an issue for you, this article may help.)

6.    We’re expert in critical areas that can have a major impact on your success. So while you’ve been honing your firm’s strategic abilities, knowledge of your clients’ businesses, and digital and mobile capabilities, we’ve been studying how to  maximize agency profits, have difficult conversations, and foster a more fulfilling workplace environment.

*Ken Jacobs is the principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps PR and related communications firms grow and manage business, improve client service and client relationships, and enhance staff performance, motivation, communication and leadership skills. He blogs at http://kensviews.com.




Ken Jacobs

I’m the principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps public relations and communications agencies and organizations grow and manage business, and enhance staff performance, leadership and communications skills.We do so via consulting, training, and coaching. To learn more, please click on the “Jacobs Communications Consulting” tab on the top.