The advantages of working with a business management consultant
Posted on 14th April 2020 by Phil Ainley MCIM CMktr
In the modern world increased sales are key to business survival and usually take precedence over any other aspect of the daily operations of a business.
The need for increased sales is aligned with improved profit margins which means cost-efficiencies and clear forward planning are vital components to achieving business targets. That is when the value of hiring a business management consultant comes to the fore.
What is a business consultant?
Business management consultants hail from a broad range of industries, disciplines and skills sets.
They are typically hired for their expertise in a specific part of a business that might need improving, either in terms of increased sales, efficiency, risk management, or future planning and business continuity to name but a few. They are primarily engaged to solve a business’ problems and encourage growth.
Business consultants come from a range of industries, including marketing and PR, finance, HR and employment, recruitment, health and safety, risk analysis and risk management, IT, operations and management, and many more.
These professions can be split into 5 main categories:
- Strategy and Management Consultants
- Operations Consultants
- Sales and Marketing Consultants
- IT Consultants
- HR Consultants
Why hire a business management consultant?
Business consultants are hired for their expertise in a specific discipline on a temporary basis. This allows the hiring company to only pay for the services it needs, rather than needing to incest in technologies, and potentially retaining full-time staff whose skills may not be required on a daily basis.
The hiring business also benefits from not having to pay taxes and National Insurance contributions. Nor do they have to provide employee benefits or a company pension.
Consultants provide a significant amount of value to an organisation and can help to develop strategies for growth and even manage ad-hoc projects from end-to-end.
One of the main advantages of hiring a business consultant is their independent objective viewpoint. This can allow for a more diverse set of ideas and solutions that might not have been provided by an employee of the company.
Consultants can also be hired to provide training for your workforce. By the very nature of their job role, a consultant is a trainer for businesses and staff.
How can a company gauge the ROI of the hire?
The costs associated with hiring a business consultant are easily scalable, which helps to make tracking the value of the hire a lot easier. The hiring company is able to track the costs against the revenue generated from the specific projects the consultant has worked on to gauge the return on investment.
Capitalising on a good start
As a company grows, it may become more cost-effective to bring a consultant’s services in-house as an employee. This is where a business can capitalise by employing a consultant with relevant industry experience, on a full-time basis, to build on the good work the independent consultant has completed, while also tasking them with a variety of consultancy projects rather than just one project at a time.
However, many businesses prefer the flexibility and cost-efficiency that hiring a freelance consultant brings.
At a glance benefits of working with a freelance business management consultant
- Independent, unbiased advice.
- They are usually of a higher level than someone who would be hired as a full-time employee.
- Diverse range of ideas taken from experience of working with different organisations.
- You can assign project specific work – one project at a time rather than multiple projects that take time to complete.
- Contract work is scalable and easier to track ROI.
- No taxes, NIC, employee benefits or pension contribution.
At a glance, the key points to bear in mind
- Perceived extra cost – an experienced consultant could be perceived as an expensive risk to hire if you are a company owner with little or no experience of working with and hiring consultants.
- As a business owner or leader, you will need to be prepared for some honest feedback from an external consultant. You might feel that they are missing the point or have overstepped their mark. Be aware that as an outsider to your business they will see its day-to-day operations differently to how you see them, which could give light to some home truths.
- A consultant should be adept at creating business solutions for most businesses, yet you might find a consultant using a tried and tested strategy that doesn’t necessarily fit your business or its goals.
If you hire a consultant you should ensure they are hired for the duration of the project, so they can manage its success based on their planning, rather than letting them go once they have written up a strategy for you. In doing this the consultant is accountable for their work, but you will also realise that they will want to be involved in delivering a project that they have planned to ensure that it is successful.
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