Certain professions can leave people guessing as to what a job title actually means, especially when they don’t understand the roles and responsibilities involved. More importantly, they may not understand how the profession can potentially benefit their own business—and one of these often misunderstood professions is a business consultant.
A business consultant is a professional who works hand-in-hand with company owners and managers. The consultant’s job is to help the business grow while also improving operational efficiency, and they also identify obstacles that may interfere with the company meeting its goals and provide viable solutions to help you overcome the problems.
For example, a Houston-based restaurant may hire a business consultant to help them create and follow a strategy to help them stand apart from the rest of the competition. Another business out there may need a consultant to work on helping them improve employee efficiency.
Business consultants can specialise in a specific industry or work in any field. Regardless of where a consultant is applying their skills, there are some common responsibilities.
These include, but are often not limited to:
With a business consultant handling these tasks, company owners and managers have more time to devote to running and growing the business.
Almost any company can benefit from hiring a business consultant, regardless of its years of operation. Some examples of how a business consultant can help a company grow or manage challenges are:
A consultant can provide support when a business adds a new department or expands its existing product lineup. This can include assisting with hiring additional staff and setting up the new area.
Hiring a business consultant comes with multiple advantages that can vary depending on the company. However, some key benefits apply regardless of the industry or business model you need consulting with.
You can perform the same job as a business consultant in your own company; however, it will likely take up all of your time. A business consultant has in-depth industry knowledge and a set of specialised skills. Often, a consultant is more familiar with current trends, business challenges, and emerging technologies that your IT department may be unaware of.
The Harvard Business School states, “Consultants are fundamental in disseminating innovation and new knowledge within their industries.”
You already know hiring a business consultant will save you valuable time. A consultant is familiar with the best business practices and doesn’t need time to research the industry and market trends.
If you were to take the job on, you would lose time familiarising yourself with the information instead of focusing on running your company.
Did you know you only pay consultants for a specific service? Instead of hiring a full-time employee, the consultant is only with your business for a short period. In the long run, you can save on related employee expenses like training, insurance, and other benefits.
When it comes to your company, it’s hard to be objective, and this can also be a problem for employees. Everyone wants to believe their company is the best, even when there is room for improvement.
A business consultant doesn’t have this problem—they’re not emotionally or financially invested in the organisation. They bring a fresh perspective that is clouded by emotion and can more easily make the hard decisions that affect and benefit the business.
When you partner with a business consultant, you’re not getting a one-size-fits-all solution. The consultant will learn about your organisation and the unique challenges it faces.
This allows the consultant to create tailor-made solutions for your business. Whether it’s a tweak to your restaurant’s menu or finding incentives to help offset the cost of improving your facility’s energy efficiency.
Along with ensuring the consultant is familiar with your business’s industry, there are a few additional aspects to consider. To ensure you’re partnering with the right consultant for your organisation, ask to see their references, if applicable.
Reviewing references will give you a good idea of what to expect from the partnership. You can find out if other clients are satisfied with the consultant’s job performance and if they provide benefits for the company. This can also include reviewing the consultant’s past reports. Are the reports in-depth? Do they address issues and provide viable solutions?
You may also want to conduct interviews with multiple candidates, as you may not want to go with the first consultant you meet. Keeping your options open is a great way to ensure you’re getting the right consultant to address your business’s needs. When you settle on a consultant, draw up the contract and get to work!
Competition among businesses is fierce in Houston, and there’s more than one business in every industry actively vying for consumers’ attention. To help your business stand out, succeed, and grow, it may make sense to partner with a consultant.
Just remember to do your homework so you can partner with the right business consultant for your organisation.