The use of consultants by small enterprises is now an established trend in business. As activities relating to the conduct of business become more complex, the need for outside assistance usually increases. Managers of small- scale enterprises who want to remain competitive need to consider using consultants as they would use other support services, such as bankers, lawyers, accountants and trade associations.
Consultants can play an important role in economic development by assisting people to set up small enterprises. For new entrepreneurs, the start-up phase is the most difficult; consequently, more and more consultants focus on this important aspect of enterprise development. Consultants and small-business development centres often arrange training for entrepreneurs who intend to initiate new enterprises.
Existing small enterprises use consultants mainly to solve specific operational problems. The duration of the consultancy will depend on the specific problem but most consultancies can be accomplished within a few months. Longer consultancies may be required if the problem concerns expanding business operations. Expansion takes time and the consultant may be involved periodically for one or two years.