“Finding the right business consultant may be the most difficult part for the owner or management. The consultant should have a passion for their work, a drive for excellence, and an eye for organization and detail.”
Business consultants provide management consulting to help organizations improve their performance and efficiency. These professionals analyze businesses and create solutions while also helping companies meet their goals. Business owners should consider hiring business consultants when they need help or perspective on their chosen path or a catalyst for change in their companies.
What does a consultant do?
There are several reasons business owners should consider hiring consultants. Consultants offer a wide range of services, including the following:
Supplementing existing staff
Teaching and training employees
Reviving an organization
Creating a new business
The first step for any business consultant is the discovery phase, where the goal is to learn the client's business. A good business consultant takes the time to learn as much as possible about the business from the owner and employees. During this process, the business consultant will uncover the details of the company’s mission and what operations are in place.
Once the business consultant has developed an in-depth understanding of the company, they enter the evaluation phase, where the goal is to identify where change is needed. This phase includes identifying the company's strengths and weaknesses, as well as current and foreseeable problems. A business consultant should also identify opportunities to grow the business, increase profits and boost efficiency.
Once the owner and the consultant agree on a plan, the consultant should enter the third phase of consulting. This is the restructuring phase or the implementation of the plan. In this phase, the consultant builds on assets and eliminates liabilities. They also monitor the plan's progress and adjust it as needed.
How to find a business consultant
Finding the right business consultant may be the most difficult part for the owner or management. The consultant should have a passion for their work, a drive for excellence, and an eye for organization and detail. Also, make sure they have solid referrals. You should vet the consultant through their website and materials. It's a good idea to request examples of past successes and to speak to those businesses.
What is the typical background for a consultant?
If you want someone to help your company develop new proprietary software or computer-based workflow, you may want to engage a technical consultant. Outside of specific needs, companies usually work with management consultants when they want to improve their bottom line, customer satisfaction, or employee morale.
Regardless of the type of consultant you work with, their background is critical. It helps you understand how likely they are to improve your business. Here's what to consider when reviewing potential consultants:
Do they have hands-on experience? This can be especially important in the business world. Consider looking for consultants who have successfully owned or run small businesses, enterprise organizations, or specific departments.
What's their track record with consulting? You don't just want a consultant who has the right experience; you want a consultant who has demonstrated success with companies like yours. Ask for a portfolio or list of brands the consultant has worked for, and request references.
How do you know when to hire a business consultant?
Business consultants don't come in one size that fits all, but an advising group could have all these specialties under one roof. You will need to evaluate your company in these key areas:
Compliance and regulations
If your business struggles in any of these areas, then it's a good idea to seek out a business consultant. If you note any declines in profits that you can't explain, this could be another sign that it's time to hire a business consultant, who can pinpoint potential reasons for the decrease and ways to remedy them.