Small consultants often find themselves being referred to as service providers rather than business advisors. The client is left with the burden of managing the entire business process, instead of being expected to give advice. Instead of mutual satisfaction, there is mutual dissatisfaction.
These results are not mutually beneficial for both parties. However, they do happen all too often in small business consulting where the consultant fails to keep his position as a consultant.
In such cases, there are three options: the client pays up but is still upset with you; the client doesn’t pay your bills, and you are angry with the client; or, both of them reach an unsatisfying compromise.
You will soon realize that consulting is not profitable after a few of these mix-ups. You know that this is false. Your approach must be transparent and can change from one case to the next.
You may be asked to perform most of the work directly if there are urgent circumstances such as time constraints, limited resources, or other factors. In such instances, the client must understand that their immediate situation requires a service provider with your expertise, not just consulting power.
If you are providing direct services, the client should have an idea of what the costs will be. Or, they can hire another provider to save money. You can bill as a consultant even if you only offer a few suggestions since the client is unable to understand the situation. You are not creating a situation that is difficult to understand.
The oldest and most traditional businesses in providing consulting have traditionally modeled themselves as consultant-cum-service providers, take, for example, law firms, or Accountant firms.