Is your company as efficient as it could be?
Are you satisfied with its overall performance?
If you answered no to either of these questions, you may want to consider hiring a business consultant.
People who get into this line of work focus on solutions rather than problems.
And it’s this mindset that allows them to get right down to work and address what needs fixing in your company.
So What Does a Business Consultant Do?
There is not a simple answer to this. It’s rather complex.
In a nutshell, a business consultant partners with your executive management team to look at and improve upon your business processes.
But it’s a multilayered process.
1. The Discovery Phase
During the discovery phase, a business consultant sets out to learn all about your business. He or she will do this by talking extensively with you and your employees and reading all of your company’s literature.
Beyond that though, the consultant will probably want to tour your facility, meet with the board of directors, and analyze your finances. He or she will want to understand your company’s missions and what operations you currently have in place.
2. The Evaluation Phase
Once there is a comprehensive understanding of your business, the consultant will begin to evaluate where change is needed.
He or she will pinpoint both your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as where you could be seeing problems in the future.
Sometimes the problems include issues of which you are management are already aware. But because the consultant has objectivity, he or she is bound to find other issues you may have missed.
From there, a business consultant will identify ways to grow your business, increase your profits, and boost efficiency.
3. The Solutions Phase
This is where the changes are implemented. And this phase can present itself in many different ways – depending on your company’s specific challenges and needs.
In most cases, they will monitor the communication between all your departments – from marketing and sales to commerce and service – to ensure that the service team has the needed information to improve customer satisfaction.
They’ll work with key customers to update them on changes, make plans to capitalize on certain opportunities, and submit regular reports to the management team.
You may even decide to employ the services of a salesforce consulting service who will utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to bring your company and your customers together.
A CRM platform allows all of your departments to have a shared and single view of every customer. This can be hugely beneficial.
Conducting a Productive First Meeting
Whatever route you choose, when preparing for a meeting with a business consultant, it’s important to understand that you’re going to have to step aside to some degree.
And this can be tough if you like to be in control. You want to maintain a good working relationship with your business consultant.
That starts with the first impression. And it helps to go into that meeting knowing what to expect.
So you don’t get caught off-guard, we’ll take a look at some of the ways things could change with a business consultant – and the best ways you can deal with them.
1. Be Open to Training
Consultants love to share their knowledge. That’s why they became consultants!
And a good consultant has a natural ability to train people.
So it’s entirely possible that he or she will want to conduct a training or day-long presentation for your company. If you feel this is something that will benefit you and your company, take advantage of it.
Consultants are well-versed in blending theory and practice so that you and your employees will really get something from the training.
2. Ensure That He/She Can Take the Heat
If your company is in a particularly tough situation, there may well be a need to take some cost-cutting measures.
This could even mean having to lay off people.
Consultants are at the helm to take the blame. In fact, a good consultant understands that a part of their job is taking the blame for the implementation of unpopular changes.
So if this is a possibility for you, it’s a good idea to clarify with the consultant how these unsavory decisions will be handled within the organization. If they don’t have the chops for taking responsibility, then find one who does.
3. Learn from Their Expertise
Consultants should be nothing short of top experts in their industries.
But maybe you consider yourself an expert in your field and therefore think that you don’t need another’s expertise.
This is a mistake.
You may have the same academic and theoretical expertise as your potential candidate. But remember that they’re using that expertise to help you forward your company.
Look for candidates that have proven experience working directly with leading companies to implement positive change.
4. Take Advantage of a Fresh Perspective
Falling in line with what we said above, it can be uncomfortable to have an outsider come in and start telling you what you need to change.
But a consultant will have a fresh perspective on your business. He or she will be able to see the bigger picture that can easily get lost on those too close to the company.
When meeting with a business consultant, ask him or her what sort of insights they’ve used in the past that could potentially add to both your and your employees’ creativity.
5. Remember That She/He is Temporary
You obviously want to have some rapport with the business consultant whom you ultimately hire.
But you don’t have to be best friends.
Your consultant is there to help you see what needs changing, and what doesn’t. And an effective consultant may recommend changes that you don’t initially like.
Upon that first meeting, make it a priority to get a sense of how well you’ll mesh with the business consultant. As we said, you don’t have to like them.
But you should definitely feel confident in their ability to enact positive change.
Are You Ready?
If your company is struggling – or it could simply be doing better- consider bringing a business consultant on board.
To find a wide selection of business consultants, be sure to check our comprehensive database.
You could soon be running a more efficient and profitable company.
And that’s a payoff that’s well worth the investment.