Dysfunctional management. Tricky transitions. Stalled growth. Some situations require immediate reinforcements, even for the most successful leaders. That’s why a growing number of companies are turning to consultants to navigate their toughest challenges. Learn how consultants can help support your most important business objectives.
Consultants come with as many specializations as there are unique business needs. They offer highly specialized knowledge, skills, and experience to improve outcomes or to make changes for future growth. Whether you opt for a big-name firm or an independent contractor, consultants fill those critical gaps in your strategy that can change the direction of your business.
Areas of Expertise
Business consultants account for more than half of all consultants worldwide, and while many services overlap in terms of disciplines, there are four broad-stroke categories that define some of the most common areas of expertise.
>Strategic consulting focuses on big-picture planning and tends to be analytical and advisory. These consultants look at your situation from a bird’s-eye view.
>Operational consulting plays a more hands-on, advisory role, where oversight in specific departments, such as sales, finance, and production, might help to improve or consolidate old processes or create new ones.
>Human Resources consulting can impact an organization through restructuring, RIFs, recruitment, retention, and training, to name just a few areas.
>Information Technology consulting, as the fastest-growing category for mid-size businesses, handles technology infrastructure, design, security, and implementation.
>Marketing is a rapidly-growing consulting service that offers everything from a new logo design and social media strategy to turnkey marketing services and public opinion research.
Role of the Consultant
Whatever the area of expertise, consultants are often considered thought leaders in their fields who can implement innovative solutions for your project or situation. They not only possess theoretical expertise, but they’ve also worked directly with similar companies to drive growth and change.
Whether you’re in search of a one-off report or you need to survive a crisis, there are a host of ways consultants work to drive business strategy. Finding the right fit for your particular project or
challenge will ensure a more successful outcome.
>Fixer. What consultants do well is identify problems and implement solutions. Under the guidance of the fixer, misaligned or misallocated resources get sorted out, the patchwork of old processes gets revamped, and organizational charts get a much-needed overhaul.
>Facilitator. Post-merger integration, drastic cost-cutting measures, and major layoffs can derail a thriving company, but these consultants help facilitate those changes, and can even take the heat for unpopular decisions.
>Teacher. Consultants are natural teachers, adept at delivering information in a way that blends theory and practice. Consultants that support companywide implementation of systems, programs, or protocols can be the difference between a vague or confusing process and one that drives productivity and growth.
>Advisor. Sometimes companies just need a second opinion or a sounding board from someone with more experience and skill in a specific area. New businesses lack experiential knowledge, small businesses don’t have the layers of key personnel, and existing companies might just need to rent an expert. These consultants provide practical advice on a host of business challenges.
>Visionary. No one can change the game like a visionary consultant. With a fresh, outside perspective, these resourceful innovators identify creative ways to approach old problems. Whether you need to launch a new product, adjust to a changing market, or identify untapped opportunities, a visionary consultant will make it happen with a creative approach.
No two consultants are exactly alike, and finding the right fit might take some time. Consultants offer a range of expertise and services that just might give your strategy the boost it needs.