Business Consulting is a powerful industry and a still strong growing business in the service sector. A dictionary defines consult as “to seek information from” and consultant as “a person whose occupation it is to be consulted for their expertise in a speciality”. However, this only provides one with a rudimentary understanding of what a business consultant is and does.
While it is true that the business consultant is a giver of advice it is how that counsel is given and implemented that makes the role such a vital one in today’s business world. Being a consultant is more than simply being an expert. Most businesses employ their own experts.
How are working Business Consultants?
What separates consultant from expert is perspective and the ability to channel a company’s inherent means to achieve a realistic goal. The methodology that the consultant employs to accomplish the goal can be simplified into four stages.
The first step is the conception of the idea. This is where the consultant assesses the business and then applies his fresh and innovative perspective to the company’s goal. At this stage, the business can obtain a level of honesty that is often difficult to achieve with traditional employees. Then, the company can fully define its goal.
The second level is the process of taking the idea and developing a plan to implement it. At this stage, the business consultant works closely with the decision makers to define a strategy to reach the goal. It is here that consultant ensures that the goal is obtainable so that the business can invest with confidence.
In the third stage, the business consultant is putting the plan into action. The heart of the consultant’s methodology, this is the point at which he or she will don many different masks in service to the company. These roles include speaker, writer, trainer, risk analyser, and even client liaison. The consultant plays or provides for whatever roles are necessary to execute the strategy.
At the finishing stage, the company has reached their immediate goal. However, the consultant must ensure that the new status quo is sound. The client must have confidence that they have met project goals and that they have prepared to face the changing requirements that the future brings them.
At this point, the consultant may have completed their job and move on to the next project. However, some businesses hire consultants on a more permanent basis, working on a continuous series of projects. Other businesses hire fractional consultants. In these situations, consultants have long-term relationships with business to which they provide services to sporadically.