A specific, but very energetically developing area of management consulting is consulting on the management of small businesses. Attracting consultants to small businesses is a new trend in the business world. Every year it becomes more and more difficult to do business around the world. Hence the need for outside consulting is constantly increasing. Managers of small enterprises who strive to be competitive are increasingly considering the possibility of using consultants along with such representatives of special services as lawyers, accountants, etc. Since the sphere of small business is the most dynamic, actively participating in the organization of small enterprises, consultants are able to play an important role in the economic development of the whole society. For beginners in the field of entrepreneurship, the initial phase is the most difficult, however, only a few consultants concentrate on it. At the same time, training business groups that intend to establish new enterprises could attract many consultants to solve small business problems.
It is known that a small enterprise is usually such an enterprise in which the administrative and operational management is concentrated in the hands of one or a maximum of two people who make the most responsible decisions.
A small business is usually funded primarily from personal and family savings, with very limited use of external financing at the formative stage. The head of the company is almost always in close contact with all his working team. The operation of the enterprise usually occurs in a limited geographic area. These factors, of course, significantly affect the consultative process. The specificity of counseling small businesses is determined by the range of tasks that they face. The main problems of a small business can be divided into general and specific.
General problems include:
Difficult access to credit resources.
Lack of qualified technical and managerial assistance.
The complexity and instability of existing legislation.
High taxation and others.
The specific problems that consultants pay special attention to if they are discovered include:
The lack of modern information systems as a result of cost savings.
Difficulties in recruiting highly skilled labor as a result of the inability to pay high wages.
Low job security and limited opportunities for career advancement.
The inability to vigorously expand the range of products or services produced, due to the extremely limited possibilities.
The lack of a developed marketing system and many others.
According to the DSP of Yekaterinburg, legal entities of various forms of ownership applied to him for advice on the problems of small enterprises: LLP / LLC – 45%, AO – 14%, ICHP – 11%, IPFL – about 30%. Most were interested in possible sources of capital – 41.7%, the rest – problems of the initial stage of entrepreneurship – 12%, marketing – 10.9%, accounting and auditing – 2.5%, problems of production premises – 5.6%, recruitment – 2 , 7%, problems of exporting products – 4.5%, searching for business partners – 10.1%, other issues – 10.0%.
From the above data it can be seen how wide the range of management issues related to small enterprises is, therefore, the consultant must in this case be largely “universal”. Counseling here is the widest. The consultant is expected to receive real practical solutions for a wide range of specific problems, such as financing, sales, manufacturing, and procurement. Often, counseling is in the nature of informal training for the first manager and others involved in the management of the enterprise. The consultant, as a rule, works in the mode of an acute lack of time, since usually they turn to him only when a crisis is already developing and the manager himself is not able to solve the urgent problems.
Currently, this type of management consulting is just beginning to develop. Many SME managers do not want to seek help from external management consultants for the following reasons:
They believe that only large enterprises are able to afford the large costs of consulting fees.
Managers are very reluctant to acquaint outsiders with specific materials relating to their business.
Inviting consultants for psychological reasons is often considered by the manager as recognition of his own incompetence and helplessness.
Also characterized by the difficulties of attracting a competent consultant with practical experience in their field.