Business consultants provide management consulting to help organizations improve 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 need a catalyst for change in their companies.
There are a number of reasons why business owners should consider hiring consultants:
- Expertise and experience;
- Identify problems;
- Provide objectivity;
- Second & coach an existing manager;
- Teach & train employees;
- Get the ball rolling on change;
- Revive an organization;
- Restructuring the business;
- Create a new business;
- Influence other people, like stakeholders.
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. This can include touring the facility, meeting with the board of directors and employees, analyzing the finances and reading all company materials. During this process, the business consultant will uncover the details of a company’s mission and what operations are in place.
Once an in-depth understanding has been developed, the business consultant will enter the evaluation phase, where the goal is to identify where change is needed. This includes identifying the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as current and foreseeable problems. These can include problems already seen by ownership and management, and new problems seen thanks to the business consultant’s objectivity. The business consultant will also identify opportunities to grow business, increase profits, and boost efficiency.
In addition to identifying these problems and opportunities, the business consultant will also develop solutions to problems and plans on capitalizing on opportunities. Perhaps a company has a particularly strong sales department but weak marketing department – this is an opportunity for the company to increase marketing resources and capitalize on the sales staff. During this phase, it’s important for the consultant and the company’s employees to maintain open and clear communication.
It’s important for a business owner to take the consultant’s advice at this stage as constructive criticism, and not as a criticism to how the owner has been doing things. The business consultant brings objectivity and a fresh viewpoint, whereas the owner is personally close to the business. The owner should certainly have feedback and provide opinions to the business consultant, who should take the owner’s reflections and revise plans as necessary.
Once the owner and the consultant agree on a plan, the consultant will enter the third phase of consulting, which is the restructuring phase, or the implementation of the plan. In this phase, the consultant will build on assets and eliminate liabilities, as well as monitoring progress on the plan and adjusting as needed.
Typically for temporary senior hires, an interim manager is favoured over a management consultant as they have similar levels of expertise and experience, are able to contribute strategically but are also prepared to roll their sleaves up and get hands on.
Both, Consultants and Interim Managers can provide your company:
- The latest thinking with ‘can-do’ attitude;
- Short-term access to top management talent;
- Strategic capability;
- An independent, fresh eye;
- The ability to fast-track a critical project.
Go for a Consultant if you:
- Have a punctual problem to be solved;
- Don’t have knowledge in your organization to develop the concept;
- Have the required resources in your organization to implement and deliver.
Go for an Interim Manager if you:
- Need a fast, turnkey temporary replacement for a missing management resource;
- Estimate that solving your problem will take couple of months – usually 3 to 6, or even more;
- Don’t have in your organization the required resources and skill set to deliver;
- Need someone to do the conceptual part of the project and also to implement it;
- Look for a more flexible and cost effective solution for your project.
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