Some businesses can be wary of bringing in an outside management or business consultant. They may think that it reflects badly on their leadership to have to outsource a consultancy, or that the business consultant will take over and that the company will lose control of the project they are consulting on.
In fact, most companies and organizations rely on outside business consultants at some stage, typically when the business has grown to the point where it needs to move on to the next level, but doesn’t have the in-house skills or experiences to facilitate that. An outside business consultant can bring a wealth of new skills, experience and perspective to bear, usually at a fraction of the cost of taking on full time, skilled employees.
A Fresh Point of View
Business consultants come into a situation with a fresh perspective. They have an independent point of view informed by their experience in working with other companies in similar and not-so-similar circumstances, across a wide range of industry sectors. As an independent consultant, they have no agenda other than doing a good job, and they have no particular loyalties to different factions within the company. A long-standing business can be like a family, where certain things are not mentioned and certain assumptions prevail, even when they are not based on current facts. An outside business consultant can point out strengths and weaknesses and suggest change without fear of repercussion.
A business consultant also brings expertise and specific technical skills that may be in short supply in-house. They can focus on a project without distractions and can train up company staff to continue the work after they have moved on. They can provide knowledge of best practice and effective solutions from other business sectors, and can provide a strategic overview of the company’s current position, as well as assessing the options for where to go next.
An example of a successful independent business consultant is Denver-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Scott Gelbard. Inspired by his grandfather, who established the Hong Kong branch of Merrill Lynch, Gelbard founded several venture capital firms before becoming a respected international business consultant, working with fledgling firms across Asia, Europe and North America. Some of the companies that have benefited from his expertise include BTO Self Serve Frozen Yoghurt, MusclePharm Apparel and Global Lead Gen. You can find out more at Scott Gelbard’s site.
What to Look for
The key to a successful outcome is finding a consultant that you can trust. Talk to other businesses that they have worked with to get an insight into their methods and style. Once you have hired a business consultant, make sure you communicate clearly the nature and boundaries of the project they are working on, and what you want to achieve.
A good outside business consultant is able to challenge long-standing traditions and assumptions and enable things to be moved forward with the effective implementation of goals and targets. The final decision remains with the company management, but whatever route you take, a consultant can help you develop an in-house team with the capabilities to achieve this. At the end of the consultancy period, your business should be revitalized and more efficient; the improved performance of the client is evidence of a successful consultancy.