Small Business Consultant: Job Description, Requirements Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a small business consultant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary work experience to find out if this is the career for you.

To be a small business consultant, you need a master’s degree in business and experience working in the business field. Small business consultants help business owners improve their business operations. They may specialize in information technology, human resources or marketing, or they may give general advice on all areas of business management.

Essential Information

Small business consultants help a business owner to make his or her business operate better. Becoming a business consultant requires a master’s degree in a business-related field and experience working in business.

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Small Business Consultant Job Description

A small business consultant helps a small business owner improve his or her business operations. A consultant may specialize in a specific area, such as information technologies, human resources, or marketing, or may offer general services in all areas of business. The overall goal of a small business consultant is to help make a business better through addressing problems and recommending solutions.

A small business consultant communicates with employees, reviews documents and watches day-to-day business operations to understand what problems exist and why. Job duties of a small business consultant include forming solutions to problems and presenting those analyses to the business owner. A consultant works closely with the business owner and employees to gather information used to assess what changes need to be made to solve problems, improve the business and reach goals. After gathering and analyzing information a consultant may develop reports for the business owner detailing solutions, such as developing training programs, creating an employee handbook, creating new reporting systems, purchasing new equipment and changing workplace layout.

A small business consultant uses desktop and laptop computers, removable media devices, projectors and standard office equipment, such as copiers and fax machines. A consultant also uses software programs to assist with job duties, such as analytical software, data base software and enterprise resource software.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Small Business Management and Operations

Small Business Consultant Requirements

A small business consultant needs to obtain a master’s degree in a field related to business, such as business administration or business management. Other degree areas that would be appropriate for a career in business consulting include:

Small business consultants need work experience in business management or related fields. Employers look for specific, proven skills in customer service, administration, management, human resources and computers. A person must also have some basic understanding of business operations and various areas of business. Business consultants commonly get continuing education through attending conferences or a certification course.

Small Business Consultant Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 20% of management analysts (the BLS category for business consultants) were self-employed in 2014. The remaining 80% worked for either private firms or government agencies. Most consultants will work a typical 40-hour week, but overtime is common. Small business consultants work mostly in an office environment, but travel is also part of the job. The BLS reported that as of May 2015 the median salary for management analysts was $81,320.

The BLS predicted that from 2014 to 2024, job growth for management analysts would be 14%, with the majority of that in jobs that require specific knowledge or skills, such as international business and information technology. Additionally, changes in the economy may impact job growth as businesses need efficient business operations. The green movement also may have an impact as businesses try to improve their operations to be more environmentally friendly.

Small business consultants typically need a master’s in business administration and experience working in the business field. The BLS predicts a 14% rate of job growth in this field from 2014-2024, which is much faster than average when compared to all occupations. This means that those preparing to begin a career as a small business consultant should find many job opportunities.


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