Creative Genius Podcast

Season 10 Episode 1

Why and When to Hire a Consultant (Brian Kerlin)

Why and When to Hire a Consultant (Brian Kerlin)

Every entrepreneur and small business owner needs help now and then. Peer groups can be a great source of information and support. Books, blogs and podcasts can provide new approaches, strategies and valuable lessons learned. Sometimes, though, your best option is to seek out an expert who can work with you one-on-one to identify the source of the problem and create a plan to move forward.

In this episode, Gail talks with Brian Kerlin, founder and chief executive officer of Optitude, a business consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado. The firm primarily focuses on assisting professional services companies that are entering their second stage of business development and looking to grow their revenues, profits and client pool.

Gail asked Brian, from the perspective of a small business owner, when is the right time to hire a consultant. Brian said that it’s when you recognize that you have a problem. Maybe your business isn’t growing because it’s not generating sufficient revenue. Or maybe you’re having difficulty attracting and retaining new clients. Whatever the issue, you want to look for an experienced individual who has that specific expertise and a proven track record of helping other business owners.

Businesses go through different stages of growth, Brian explained. What may have made the entrepreneur or owner successful at one stage may not guarantee continued success at a later stage, when the challenges and needed skills change. Owners need to be constant learners, he said. They need to acknowledge what they don’t know and seek out the information and insights that are required to grow the business at each stage of its development.

Working with a consultant is a commitment of time and money. Gail asked Brian for his advice on how to get the best results from working with a consultant. Brian said his firm performs what they call a “collaborative diagnosis.” They work closely with the owner to understand what is the current situation with the business. When they have identified the issues that need to be addressed, they then establish a scope of work for how they will be resolved. The scope of work includes checkpoints and milestones, to ensure the plan stays on track and meets its goals.

Whatever the situation, Brian said, it’s best to learn by doing rather than searching for the perfect solution. His firm has found that one of the factors that make great companies have better results is that leaders are willing to act and go quickly while making mistakes, but keep moving forward. In other words, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

For more on those and other insights, listen to the entire podcast.

If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, read the full shownotes here:

Mentioned in This Podcast

For more information about Brian and his firm, go to his company website at

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