If you’re consulting small business owners, here’s a reminder: Way too many consultants think that what they do is tell people what to do, and, perhaps, why and how to do it.

What most business owners want (and need) is to have it done, not to be told how to do it.

Yes, there are business tasks and functions that can’t be easily outsourced or just done for you by consultants. High-level strategy and planning, for example, don’t work without deep participation by the business owner.

But there are also business tasks and functions that owners just want done for them, and done well. As my business grew I outsourced bookkeeping, product assembly and shipping, sales representation, and even telephone answering services at one point. As the business grows, an owner looks to take on fixed costs to bring some of these things into the regular in-house operations.

Consultants should always remember that what business owners want for many parts of their business is to just have something done, rather than the knowledge of how to do it.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.