Running a business can be an isolating position. It’s difficult to both be in charge and have friends at work in the way you can when you’re down in the trenches with everyone else – however open you are, however reasonable and fair you strive to be, the reality is you’re the one taking the decisions that shape everyone else’s week, and at times awarding promotions or making job cuts.

It’s no surprise then that founders and CEOs can be at risk of burnout and depression. It’s hard to draw a line under work and you spend much of your working life without true peers. In this context, it’s more important than ever to understand that help is available for CEOs – help with this burden of decision making. If you look into the many boutique consulting firms London hosts you’ll find not just people who’ll tell you how to run your business, but people who can broaden and deepen your understanding of the decisions you have to make every day, as well as occupying a unique position in your business. People you’ve brought in as experts, existing outside the usual relationship of employee and boss, can act much more as trusted peers and sounding boards, offering not merely advice but community and support.

Deciding When You Need Consultants

With all that on offer, it can be difficult to make informed decisions about when to hire consultants. It’s very easy to spend money on business consulting services for the sense of getting something valuable out of the relationship, without being able to put a financial value on the return you’re getting, and being able to compare the cost with the return is an imperative for making responsible business decisions.

If you’re evaluating your choice to get consultants in for a project, you need to look at two important things: what exactly you want to achieve, and what you can already do.

What Can You Do?

One part of running your business efficiently is knowing what you can already do. Make sure you’re tracking the skills and expertise of your hires and how applicable they are to projects you’re pursuing. If you already have the capability in your business, failing to trust the people you’ve hired in favour of consultants is a bad decision for your finances and for morale!

What Do You Want?

Before entering a consulting relationship, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to get out of it. All projects should have clearly defined endpoints, with success and failure states. If you can’t say when something has failed, you risk spending much more than you should, throwing good money after bad.

If you take these simple precautions you can confidently make sure you have all the additional help you need as a business leader.