For smaller businesses--with maybe 50 or less employees--having a 3rd party consultant who you retain to come into your business on a regular basis and as needed can be good strategy. Rates could be from $50 - $150 per hour. As your business grows you'll find you need a full time person to handle day to day business tasks and help you grow for the future.
Even if you hire an outside consultant, make sure you have someone in-house who can work with them on the future of your business and to know what technology is available that could serve as a competitive advantage for you.
Editor and Technology Evangelist,
Ramon Ray is editor of SmallBizTechnology.com and author of Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses.