Small Business Consultant – Guide to Small Business Consulting Services

small-business-consulting

Small Business

Consulting Services

Small business consulting services can be extremely beneficial to your company. Hiring a small business consultant can assist organizations in improving their performance and making the required changes for success. Small business consultants assist organizations in overcoming obstacles, increasing income, and expanding. As a result, before hiring a small business consulting service, be sure they have previous expertise and success with businesses similar to yours.

This article is for entrepreneurs and small business owners considering working with a business consultant. In this article, we will be covering small business consulting services – what it is, what they do, and how you can find a small business consultant for your business.

What is a small business consulting service?

small-business-consulting

A business consultant is one who assists business owners with their goals and has a unique skill set gained via education and prior experience. Business consultants can also help firms enhance their performance and efficiency by providing management advice. These individuals examine organizations and develop solutions to unique challenges, while also assisting firms in achieving their objectives. When business owners require assistance or perspective on their chosen course, or a catalyst for change in their organizations, they might consider employing a small business consulting service.

What is the role of a small business consulting service?

A small business consultant assists business owners in developing business plans, identifying marketing needs, developing marketing strategies, and imparting skills to improve management and efficiency in order to maximize earnings. As a result, they play an important role in the expansion of businesses.

Business consultants, to be more exact, are frequently connected with the following responsibilities:

1. Information Exchange

This typically explains why people seek out small business consulting services in the first place: they need information. Surveys, cost and feasibility studies, market surveys, and other techniques can be used to gather necessary information. The small business consultant brings to the table specialized knowledge as well as more current (up-to-date) information that can benefit the company. If the organization is unable to commit any of its resources to data collection internally, business consultants may be recruited. Data is everything in today’s ever-expanding technology environment, and small business consultants can collect it to help their clients build their businesses.

2. Solving Issues

Small business consulting services are usually able to solve complex challenges, and business owners and managers regularly turn to business consultants for help. This could include questions about purchasing a component for the business, acquiring a business line, strategies for restructuring the company’s organizational setup, determining appropriate financial policies to adopt, determining the most appropriate approach in dealing with compensation and morale issues, management succession, efficiency, and so on.

Attempting to solve these kinds of difficulties is undeniably a legitimate duty that ought to be compensated. However, the small business consultant must subsequently discover answers to such difficult issues. He or she must first evaluate whether the problem is one that needs to be solved. Rather than acting on synthesized problem statements, the small business consultant may need to assist in defining the underlying issue. The small business consultant may ask the following questions to learn more about the problem’s context:

  • What specific solutions have been tried to address the problem in the past? What were the outcomes of the solutions that were used?
  • What are the client’s ideas for solving the problem that haven’t been tried yet?
  • What components of the business aren’t doing well?
  • If a solution to the problem is developed, how will it be implemented in the business?
  • What steps will be taken to guarantee that the developed solution is accepted?

A small business consultant should not just accept or reject the business owner’s statement of the problem. Instead, he or she should examine the situation in a methodical manner and determine whether or not the business owner’s original evaluation is correct.

3. Diagnosis that works

The ability to successfully diagnose accounts for a significant portion of the value of a small business consultant. The diagnosis process can sometimes put a strain on the management-consultant relationship, because the small business consultant may find deficiencies in the company’s management, leading to blame.

Accurate diagnosis isn’t restricted to the company’s external environment, technology, economics, or employee behavior. The causes behind specific choices and decisions that appear to be blunders may also be probed by the small business consultant’s diagnosis. Such investigations will also look into activities that were judged inconsequential and thus were not taken.

4. Recommendation for Action

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A written report or oral presentation describing the business consultant’s lessons and some recommendations to the business is usually provided at the end of a small business consulting engagement. It’s critical that reports and data are presented in a way that makes them easy to understand and use. The above recommendations are based on the business consultant’s diagnosis. In most circumstances, the small business consultant’s job isn’t done until he or she has produced a consistent, logical plan of action with measures to address the identified issues. It is the job of the small business consultant to make recommendations, but it is the responsibility of the business owner to put those recommendations into action if he or she so chooses.

5. Implementing Changes

The business consultant gives a fresh perspective to the company and may play a key role in executing change. Now, the degree of flexibility for carrying out this duty may vary, as some firms may prohibit this function of the small business consulting service because it may be seen as infringing on management responsibilities. Being a proponent of recommendations for the business’s growth, on the other hand, implies implemented recommendations, which puts the small business consultant in the role of implementer rather than just recommender.

6. Building Commitment and Consensus

The success of proposed recommendations and diagnoses is determined by team members’ willingness to agree on the nature of problems/opportunities and come up with appropriate remedial activities, lest the diagnosis be rejected and recommendations be ignored.

A small business consultant is critical in motivating commitment and consensus around identified issues and recommended solutions. As a result, the small business consultant is persuasive and has fine-tuned analytic skills, which are required for eliciting consensus on necessary measures to be taken and building the momentum (zeal) to see these agreed-upon activities completed.

7. Improve your management skills

Small business consultants have the ability to improve a business owner’s ability to deal with immediate concerns as well as teach them strategies and procedures for dealing with future obstacles. This isn’t to say that when business owners gain these talents, they become obsolete. Instead, satisfied business owners will always refer and promote such small business consulting services to others, hence expanding the area of influence of the business consultant.

8. Improving Organizational Performance

The implementation of new ideas and objectives necessitates new management skills as well as a fresh viewpoint, which business consultants provide. Small business consultants assist organizations in achieving organizational performance by bringing the ability to adapt future strategy and behavior to environmental change while maximizing available human resources. This keeps the company current in an ever-changing world.

Types of Small Business Consulting Services

In general, there are five categories of small business consultants, each of which can provide value to your business domain. They are as follows:

1. Management and strategy

These small business consultants can help your company scale, obtain new prospects, and generate income by bringing industry expertise to the table. Small business consultants who specialize in strategy and management can assist your company in expanding into new markets or raising awareness in existing markets.

  •         Creating a cost-effective strategy by reorganizing your business model.
  •         Increasing the capabilities of your company.
  •         Getting a new company venture off the ground.
  •         Changing the structure of your company or merging with another.
  •         Taking on the role of middle management at a period of transition.

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2. Operations

Small business consultants who specialize in operations can assist business owners in improving the quality of their day-to-day processes. These business experts assess your present business model and determine the most cost-effective and time-effective strategy to achieve the same high-quality results at a fraction of the cost and effort. Quality control and understanding how to alter and optimize your production for better results are two more ways these consultants may help.

3. Financial

A financial consultant can show you the bigger picture of your company’s financial health. They mostly assist investors and business owners in determining the best strategy to manage their assets and debts. Financial consultants can also provide additional services, such as financial planning, in which they advise customers on taxes, daily spending, and retirement plans.

4. Human Resource

There are a variety of HR consulting organizations and freelancers who can help business owners with their HR needs. These consultants can handle day-to-day HR responsibilities like hiring and retaining new employees, payroll management, administrative tasks, and performance management.

5. Marketing

Marketing consultants assist firms in identifying and expanding on their brand’s strengths in order to increase brand awareness and visibility. A marketing consultant may help you improve your business’ reach, whether you need a new logo or a social media plan.

How to Locate A Small Business Consultant?

You can go on to the exploration step once you’ve defined the area where you need assistance. It may be difficult to discover the proper small business consultant for your needs, but there are several areas you may look into, such as:

  •         Investigate Consulting Networks on Google
  •         Make the Most of Your Personal Network
  •         Industry Events to Attend
  •         Participate in Online Communities
  •         Examine Online Advisors

Are you in need of small business consulting services? Then contact our certified small business consultant today. Click here to book a free strategy session here.

1. Do a Google search on small business consulting services.

You might look for terms like “management consulting for small firms” that are relevant to the company difficulties you’re trying to solve. Google is the quickest method of obtaining contact information. However, this will mostly identify small business consulting services with sufficient resources and motivation to pay for AdWords advertisements and heavily invest in SEO. Individual consultants and mentors may not be applicable.

SO, while this is a good starting point, you can supplement your list with the methods described below.

2. Check Out Small Business Consulting Groups

Clarity is a consulting network with a few thousand members who specialize in a variety of fields. Another choice is OnFrontiers, and there are a couple of smaller ones as well.

Mentorship communities and groups also exist. Small business bureaus are also available. This strategy is effective in niches where membership is virtually “required” and consultants apply and participate frequently.

The benefit of similar consulting networks is the ability to instantly contact a small business consultant without having to go through a lengthy “interviewing” process, contract signing, or arduous negotiations. You can literally call the next day and get started on your case.

3. Make the Most of Your Network

team meeting

Potential business alliances may be discovered by tapping into your existing network. The circle of “friends and family” is a good place to start; partners, vendors, and other industry peers. When in doubt, ask on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn; someone may be able to provide a referral who can assist.

It’s likely that you’ll be able to contact someone who has appropriate knowledge in this industry and is willing to work with you or connect you to someone they know.

This is when the rule of “top of mind” comes in helpful. When they think of a specific industry or a problem, some of your colleagues will propose the go-to person.

4. Industry Events to Attend

Meetups and seminars are popular gathering places for local small business consultants. Some give talks, some network, and yet others sponsor or assist other clients.

Even if you are unable to locate a consultant there, event organizers or volunteers may be able to assist you. A tiny group of people work as “networkers,” connecting different vendors with one another. You can spot them by the steady flow of exchanges and talks with everyone in the hall.

When it comes to finding niche experts, events are extremely effective. At comparable events, the majority of industry leaders speak. Alternatively, their employers may fund them. Or it’s where they regularly meet up with old friends, colleagues, and partners.

5. Participate in Online Communities

Whatever works in your field: social media, Quora, forums, Facebook groups, etc. Many people use Quora to promote themselves or their businesses. On Facebook, industry groups bring together all kinds of people, including small business consultants and advisors.

Quora is so effective that you can even connect with and pitch investors through it.

LinkedIn is also a good place to look for small business consulting services. If Twitter is a network you use sporadically, some people put a lot of money into it.

For seasoned and competent small business consultants, their online reputation is crucial. You can locate some great talent there if you use the appropriate search filters and join the right business groups.

6. Mentors and indirect small business consulting

People frequently overlook the source of the information they get on a daily basis from the internet.

In your browser, go to the History tab. Sift through the last 30 posts you’ve read to see what you’ve learned. Who penned them? Thousands of contributors work for sites like Forbes, Inc., and HuffPost. Look them up on social media or on their websites. Some of them are likely to provide small business coaching services; if you’ve benefited from their counsel, consider reaching out to them.

How to choose a small business consulting service to hire

Many people try to market small business consulting services without actually understanding what they are consulting on. It’s time to discover how to evaluate consultants after you’ve done your research and potentially made a list of potential consultants. Here’s a short checklist just for that: References, background, and public appearance.

Are you in need of small business consulting services? Then contact our certified small business consultant today. Click here to book a free strategy session here.

1. Look up References

This can include their client portfolio, CV, case studies, or recommendations from others in your network.

LinkedIn suggestions may be useful, but they are usually more optimistic than practical. However, 40 or more positive ratings for an advisor or consultant are quite rare.

Their curriculum vitae should show that they have worked in their respective fields.

Case studies can assist you in determining what they do, what they specialize in, and the types of problems they handle (including their strong areas of expertise which vary across consultants).

The power of being recognized in podcasts and guest pieces (or interviews) is undeniable. The same can be said for writing a book or hosting a podcast on the subject.

2. Do a background check on the small business consulting service

With only a few years of experience in the area or even after an MBA, it’s not uncommon for young people to offer consultancy guidance.

Needless to say, this will not provide the desired results. Sure, a small business consultant could have spent 15 years in the same company, with a limited understanding of the larger ecosystem, or even in a completely different area.

However, having worked with a variety of clients on varied projects allows you to validate your knowledge and change your approach across enterprises.

3. Consider public appearance.

Most small business consultants are involved in some type of public relations, branding, or marketing. This includes the following:

  •         Speaking in front of an audience (presenting at conferences, teaching courses)
  •         Appearances on television or radio, as well as podcasts
  •         Marketing with content
  •         Posts by visitors
  •         Interviews
  •         Books created in collaboration

 The most challenging component for the owner or management may be finding the right small business consulting service. The small business consultant should be enthusiastic about their work, have a strong desire to succeed, and have a keen sense of organization and detail. It’s critical to choose a small business consultant with experience in your field or with the types of difficulties your company faces. Check to see if they have any reliable recommendations.

In addition, check to see if the small business consultant has any relevant certifications for your field. You should check out the consultant’s website and resources. Examine their services for professional photos and well-documented material, as well as contracts and consulting rates. It’s a good idea to ask for examples of previous accomplishments and chat with such companies.

How much do small business consulting services charge?

having a meeting

Management consultants earn an average of $150,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that is the amount of money that the employee “takes home,” and consulting fees are often larger to cover business expenses. Small business consultants don’t necessarily work on an hourly basis. According to Consulting Success’s consultant fee survey, the following are some of the most common fee schemes and the percentages of consultants that choose them:

  • Per project – 34.2%
  • Hourly – 27.3%
  • Monthly retainer – 15.1%
  • Daily rate – 14.1%
  • Other – 9.3%

According to the report, 43% of consultants earn less than $5,000 each assignment, with some earning more than $100,000. Obviously, the cost is determined by the project’s size, scope, and duration.

Small business consultants can be costly, but their advice and planning can help you grow your firm and earnings while also identifying difficulties and chances for future success.

Are you interested in hiring a small business consulting service? Do you desire your business to attain a height of progress and success unlike never before? Then, book a free strategy session with our certified small business consultant today. Find out more here.

 

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What is a Management Consultant?

What is a Business Management Consultant?

A business management consultant can conceive and propose feasible ways to enhance the efficiency of an organization. They usually extend advice to the managers of organizations on more efficient management tactics that increase profits by reducing production costs and increasing revenue.

What Does A Management Consultant Do?

Business management consultants have duties that include:

  • Functional Expertise and Specializations

Business management consultants extend their expertise to managers of companies in specialized areas like governance, strategy, mergers, strategic leadership organization design, operations, finance, digital transformation, information technology, risk management, organizational change management, human resources, organization development, advertising, talent management, and marketing, to name a few.

  • Objective Analyses and Assessments

Their objectivity allows business management consultants better conduct appropriate research and analysis for the betterment of the organization. They also present unbiased opinions as an objective third party and an outside perspective in complex and challenging issues.

  • Project Management

business management consultantBusiness management consultants collaborate with the senior leadership of organizations and internal project teams to deliver hands-on project leadership consulting and management in aspects such as project implementation, measurement, and execution. They will, thus, play an active role in identifying and mapping out schedules, milestones, and required resources needed for the realization of projects. They may also coordinate communication between the client and the company upon project realization and communication with senior stakeholders, staff, and other teams of the company with regards to the project.

  • Understand Business Needs and Challenges

It is the responsibility of the Business Management consultant to study and understand the particular challenges to the organization carefully. They also strive to understand the needs of the organization to provide relevant business counsel. This may be achieved via personnel interviews, review of internal company data like financial statements and payroll information, on-site evaluations on the organization’s production processes, equipment, personnel, and methods.

  • Develop Strategies for Company Growth

The Business management consultant has a responsibility to devise new strategies for ensuring the relevance of the company in the marketplace. Their ideas and innovation maintain the competitiveness of the company in the marketplace.

  • Analyze Financial Data

The business management consultant may need to analyze the financial data of the organization. Data like revenue, expenditure, employment reports, etc., will help synthesize mathematical models for the company.

  • Make Recommendations

Business management consultants synthesize solutions to problems plaguing the organization and present recommended management solutions, often through reports or presentations. They may recommend new practices, systems, procedures, or a complete overhaul of organizational structure. The management consultant’s ultimate aim of recommendations and proposals is to increase business profits by optimizing the production process, reducing production costs, and increasing profits.

  • Actively Participate in Implementing Accepted Recommendations

The role of the business management consultant doesn’t end at making recommendations and presenting proposed solutions to problems. Vetted and approved recommendations need to be implemented, and the business management consultant works with the management of the organization to ensure changes are effected and working.

  • Staff Training

The implementation of more efficient production methods and procedures may necessitate training of current staff. The business management consultant again fits in to organize and coordinate training classes for employees to ensure they are up to speed on innovations in the company. They will also work towards inspiring staff towards faster adoption, and higher proficiency with regards to new operating methods arrived at as a result of business management consultancy.

The Average Salary of a Business Management Consultant

management consultantThe salary for a business management consultant isn’t set in stone and varies depending on geographical location, the scale of consultancy offered, and the working experience.

Going by the scale of consultancy offered, junior business management consultants can start off making about $35,000 – $40,000 per year with larger firms. Smaller-scale consultancy (with small businesses) will be less than this.

Considering the working experience of the business management consultant, a three to five-year experience can earn a paycheck of up to $70,000 annually.

A senior-level business management consultant with a great deal of consultancy experience can make as much as $173,000 per year, given that bonus schemes are in effect. And as the experience builds, the management consultant can charge a daily rate or per-project basis.

Business management consultants can also benefit from allowances, pensions, schemes, insurance, on-site gyms, interest-free season ticket loans, and childcare vouchers

Working Hours for a Business Management Consultant

Business management consultancy can be pretty demanding, with long work hours beyond the average 9 am to 4 pm workday. There may even be extra daily work needed to be taken home, especially for larger projects or when project deadlines are approaching, and the project is behind schedule. However, the specific working hours are dependent on the type of project and the hiring firm.

Firms in the modern-day are increasingly paying more attention to the work-life balance of workers and management consultants by offering benefits packages, work-from-home opportunities, maternity and paternity leaves, and flexible working schedules. All these go to make the management consultant’s job a lot less cumbersome and more effective.

There are also freelancing management consultancy gigs, given the right contacts and substantial experience.

How to Become A Business Management Consultant

Education, Experience & Certification

People who desire to engage in business management consultancy as a career typically require an academic degree and, in most cases, a related work experience.

  • Education

Most business management consultants must needs have a bachelor’s degree at least. They often major in business administration, management, accounting, economics, finance, marketing, psychology, or computer and information science. Instead, many organizations will prefer business management consultants who have completed more advanced educational programs like an MBA (Master’s of Business Administration).

  • Experience

The more experience you have as a business management consultant, the more likely you will be hired as you’ll be perceived as more competent. In some cases, organizations may offer training and interning opportunities for recent graduates with no working experience.

  • Certification

A Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification from The Institute of Management Consultants USA can set you from the crowd and enable you to get employed as a business management consultant. Even though certifications isn’t a prerequisite to being a management consultant, it is an excellent employment opportunity booster.

Business Management Consultancy Levels

Generally, there are four business management consultant levels on the career ladder, depending on education, related experience, and competence.

Entry Level

The entry-level is the first level of business management consulting. The candidate at the entry-level is usually an analyst for the business or associate management consultant. This level requires a degree but may not emphasize working experience.

Management Consultant Level

The second level of a business management consultant is usually referred to as the actual management consultant level. This level requires an undergraduate degree plus some degree of management consulting experience, ranging from two to four years of experience.

Senior Consultant Level

The senior business management consultant is the third level of management consultancy and is also called the project lead. This level of business management consultancy requires a graduate degree plus seven years of working experience as a business management consultant. An undergraduate degree with at least ten years of working experience may also be acceptable for this level.

Partner Level

The Partner-level is the fourth level as a business management consultant, sometimes referred to as the principal level. This level requires a graduate degree with more than ten years of hands-on experience as a business management consultant.

P.S. Throughout this article, we refer to business management consulting jobs that require at least a college degree as a minimum requirement. But it should be noted that not all management consulting jobs require a college degree. Some organizations will still be willing to work with someone without a college degree with substantive working experience in place of a degree.

The college degree requirement comes into play for more organizations that work with specialized business management consultants or strategy consultants.

Skills & Competencies

The skills and competencies required as a business management consultant vary depending on the industry and specific client base. But you will be expected to hone in on your expertise and specialization and develop the skills and aptitudes in your specific field of functioning you would be offering consultancy services.  The higher the business management consultant you attain, the stronger the required skillset, which means the more you’ll need to know.

Successful business management consultants have the following skills and qualities, which are crucial to their success.

  • Self-discipline and Self-motivation

Business management consultants often work unsupervised by their superiors. They need to be self-disciplined and diligent in their work to deliver results on time and with minimal oversight. Also, their role of motivating other team members requires that they first be sled-motivated and highly spirited.

  • Organizational skills

Clients look up to business management consultants to be exceptionally organized in their problem-solving approach towards the clients and implement proposed solutions. This is important given that they sometimes bill vast amounts of pay per hour of service they render.

  • Analytical and critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Business management consultants must have the ability to critically assess and analyze information from the client about their business, identify problems plaguing the organization and propose a feasible and fact-based recommended solution to these problems.

  • Listening, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills

The interpersonal skills of business management consultants must be well-groomed as they may be required to interact with employees at different levels of the organization. Their communication and listening skills must also be well-honed if they succeed in their job as business management consultants.

  • Writing skills

Business Management consultants usually present their findings of the organization’s problems and recommendations for the efficient functioning of the organization to hierarchy in writing, as reports, manuals, or presentations, which all require good writing skills.

  • Time Management Skills

Working with project teams often highlights the need to stick to a schedule, and management consultants must be good time managers to meet stipulated deadlines for projects. Also, charging on a per-hour or fixed period basis requires that they are good time managers to keep within the organization’s budget.

  • Creativity

Business management consultants need to be flexible and creative enough to take on issues that may arise during the implementation of assessed to deduced problems where the solutions seem not to work as intended. The creativity of the management consultant will ensure that even when complications arise, they can adapt their solutions to apply still and solve organizational problems.

Employers of Business Management Consultants

Management consultancy firms are the leading employers of business management consultants, often divided into the following areas:

  • Generalists

These larger firms offer a more comprehensive range of services from strategy consulting and human resources to outsourcing and IT globally.

  • Strategy consultants

Strategy consultants offer strategic advice on a project-by-project basis to companies, e.g., new market entry strategies, long-range planning, and rationalizing goods and services.

  • Human resource consultants

They offer specialist Human Resource advice, like in organizational restructuring, talent, and reward strategies.

  • Information technology consultants

IT consultants offer specialist IT advice like systems analysis and design, planning information needs, and applications consulting.

  • Financial consultants

These firms offer specialist financial advice like budgetary control systems installation, profit planning, capital and revenue budgeting.

  • Outsourcing consultancies

Outsourcing consultancies oversee the outsourcing of projects like IT, finance, and HR.

  • Niche firms

Niche firms are often set up by consultants who have left the larger firms to start up their firm.  Niche firms often over very specific/specialist services.

Business management consultants operate across a wide range of industries and sectors, including:

  • financial services
  •  charities and educational institutions
  • healthcare
  • the public sector and government
  • manufacturing
  •  hospitality and leisure
  • retail
  • media and telecommunications
  •  utilities

What to Expect as a Business Management Consultant

  • business management consultantBusiness management consultants often have a high level of responsibility and pressure under which to work. The stress levels associated with the job can sometimes prove challenging, coupled with the tight deadlines and targets to meet.
  • Business management consultants may travel a lot, spending a great deal of time in transit between cities and nations.  As such, they may have considerably less time at home unless work-from-home facilities are set up. This can get even more prominent with overseas offices and employment, as business management consultants can work at an international level working abroad.
  • Management consultancy firms usually commit firmly to diversity. Initiatives like internal mentoring targeted graduate recruitment and diversity networks to support under-represented groups usually get established.
  •  After spending a lot of time in the conventional salaried corporate position as a business management consultant, you could consider self-employment. Such a move requires a great deal of knowledge of the market and your specific specialized industry.

8 Tips to Becoming Business Management Consultant

Before you start searching for a job as a business management consultant, you need to think about your:

Ideal work environment: so, are you shooting for a big firm or a small business? How do you intend to balance your work and life? What terms do you have in mind to achieve this?

Transferable skills: What experience do you have that will, in your opinion, make you a successful management consultant?

Network: who do you know can help you in your career? Knowing the right persons is just as essential as knowing to consult.

  1.     Identify management consultancy firms that align with your needs and goals

You should do your homework and identify the firms that best align with your goals and personal needs. It’s not just about the firm’s name; you should know the different types of firms out there and find what works for you.

  1.     Understand the role of a business management consultant

When it comes down to it, you should know the difference between an opportunity and the demands of that opportunity. Don’t be quick to jump on an opportunity with partial knowledge of the demands of that opportunity.

Even though being a business management consultant is generally about solving problems, the nuances of the job can vary from one field to the other.

For example, larger firms will have teams with different strengths and skillsets, and there may be a more efficient division of labor. Some employees may be more proficient with analyzing data; others may be effective communicators, which may usually work with the organization’s leadership or may focus on business development. Each member may have a specific role, which, when put together, forms a functional and efficient system. On the other hand, small firms usually have fewer employees, which means employees may have to handle more roles.

Now, depending on your personal preferences, you may choose the path of a boutique firm in which you’ll still be able to enjoy the hunt for new businesses while still having client face time.

  1.     Clearly define what’s important to you

When it comes to choosing your work environment, there are multiple factors like the benefits packages, advancement opportunities, training programs, work-life balance, among others. You should clearly define what factors are more important to you. These critical factors will have more sway in your choice of organization to work with.

Suppose a particular employer doesn’t meet your needs or satisfy the conditions you’ve set as necessary. In that case, you may end up disappointed and disengaged from the job, and that significantly affects your output as a business management consultant.

  1.     Build the right resume

The resume of a business management consultant has some differences from other positions’ resumes and for a good reason.

A business management consultant’s resume shouldn’t be filled with a list of education history and responsibilities but impact points and tangible experience with each bullet point.

Your business management consultant resume should highlight the skills hiring firms lookout for in problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and leadership. You should also highlight friends, alumni of schools attended, and consultants you may know who work at your target firms and who you can network with.

  1.     Build Networks

As the demand for business management consultants increases yearly and as the number of consultants in the workforce continually increases, stepping into the field becomes increasingly difficult without the right connections. So, build good networks with those in hiring positions.

You can also participate in informational interviews to become more familiar with the industry and build allies in the consulting firm.

  1.     Undertake courses that enhance your management consultancy skills

STEM, business, economics, and finance courses can help you become a business management consultant, as it causes recruiters to view you as one who can get the job done as they review your resume. Strategy and financial analysis classes can also be of help to MBA students.

  1.     Engage in extra curriculars you’re passionate about

Engage yourself in activities that demonstrate your ability to work with teams and lead others towards realizing a goal. This will demonstrate your ability to lead teams on projects towards success.

Engage bigger and more ambitious projects, and not just recycle projects executed in previous years.

  1.     Apply for internships and training programs

When you find the opportunity, apply for an internship and other training programs to become a business management consultant. These training programs reflect in your resume as a working experience, which is a crucial determinant of whether you’d be hired or not.  Here’s another blog about Business Consulting.

 

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BUSINESS CONSULTING – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

BUSINESS CONSULTING – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR HIRING A BUSINESS CONSULTANT

Business consulting is on the rise, and there is an increasing demand for business consultants in this era. Many businesses are at a stage in growth that needs a business consultant’s intervention but may not realize it. In this article, we will be exploring the field of business consulting – what it is, its benefits, and some reasons you may need the services of a business consultant for your business.

So, let’s get started!

 

Who’s a business consultant anyway?

It’s a no-brainer, really! As the term may imply, a business consultant is one who “consults” with businesses to provide tactical support, advice, and strategy to help elevate the business to a greater dimension. Business consulting provides advice and an outsider perspective, essential for a thriving business.

What does a business consultant do?

A business consultant works with business owners to develop business plans, identify marketing needs, develop marketing strategies, and impart skills to business owners for better management and efficiency in maximizing profits for the business. They are, thus, critical players in the growth of businesses.

To be more specific, business consultants are often associated with the following responsibilities:

–          They are keen to draw attention to current marketing needs associated with the business they are consulting with.

–          They develop strategies to increase publicity and awareness of the goods and services offered by the business they are consulting with and consequently increase the customer base. They devise ways to spread the word on the existence of the brand.

–          They draw attention to new funding schemes and suitable loan options to finance the business.

–          They may draw up tactical/strategic business plans to foster growth with clearly stipulated long-term and short-term goals and schemes to measure the realization of set goals.

–          They explore and educate on technological outlets and resources and existing business regulations, and exploitable opportunities.

–          They can explore possible hiring options for qualified personnel.

–          They may identify training opportunities and provide programs for existing staff.

–          They may review the budgeting and accounting schemes of the business and present suitable recommendations for improvements.

Now, let us discuss, in detail, some of the roles played by business consultants and how useful they can be to your business.

1. Providing Information

This usually accounts for the most common reason for seeking out business consultants – the need to acquire information. Necessary Information may be acquired using tools like surveys, cost and feasibility studies, market surveys, etc. The business consultant brings unique expertise to the table and more current (up-to-date) Information that can help the business. Business consultants may also be hired if the company is unable to allocate some of its resources to amass data internally. In an ever-expanding technological era, data is everything, and business consultants can acquire it to grow the business.

2. Problem Solving

business consulting sessionBusiness consultants often can tackle complex problems, and business owners and company managers throw difficult problems at business consultants for a solution. This could include questions about purchasing a component for the business, acquiring a business line, strategies for restructuring the company’s organizational setup, deciding suitable financial policies to adopt, establishing the most suitable approach in handling issues of compensation, and morale, management succession, efficiency, etc.

Attempting to birth solutions to these sorts of problems is, no doubt, a legitimate function and deserving of a wage. But then the business consultant has to find solutions to such complex problems. He/she must determine if the problem posed needs solving, to begin with. The business consulting may have to help define the actual issue, rather than merely acting upon synthesized problem statements. To explore the context of the problem, the business consultant may pose the following questions:

  •         What specific solutions have been attempted in the past to address the problem? What results were obtained from the applied solutions?
  •         What solutions does the client have in mind about the problem that hasn’t been attempted yet?
  •         What aspects of the business in question aren’t going well?
  •         If a solution is developed for the problem, how will it be applied to the business?
  •         What measures will be put in place to ensure the developed solution gains acceptance?

A good business consultant will neither accept nor reject the business owner’s description of the problem readily. They will systematically assess the problem and conclude whether or not the business owner’s original assessment is indeed accurate.

3. Effective Diagnosis

A great deal of the business consultant’s value lies in the ability to diagnose effectively. Sometimes, the diagnosis process may put the management-consultant and the client in an uncomfortable position, as the business consultant may uncover lapses in the business’s management, in which accountability may ensue.

Accurate diagnosis isn’t limited to the external environment of the business, technology, economics, or staff behavior in the company. The business consultant’s diagnosis may also probe into the motives for certain choices made and decisions taken that appear as mistakes. Such probes may also consider actions that were deemed unimportant and, thus, failed to be taken.

4. Action Recommendation

Sometimes, at the end of a business consulting contract, there is a written report or oral presentation detailing the business consultant’s lessons and some recommendations to the business. It is super important that reports and data be appropriately presented for easy understanding and use. The said recommendations are based on the diagnosis of the business consultant. In most cases, the business consultant’s job is only complete when a consistent, logical plan of action detailing steps towards addressing diagnosed problems is presented. It is the business consultant’s job to recommend solutions, while the business owner has a duty to implement them if he/she so chooses.

5. Implementing Changes

The business consultant brings an outside perspective to the business and may be instrumental in implementing change in the business. Now, the degree of flexibility for the execution of this function may vary, as some businesses may altogether restrict this function of the business consultant simply because it may be viewed as carpet-crossing on the duties of management. However, being a proponent of recommendations for the business’s growth, the business consultant is in an ideal position to serve in the function of one who implements, rather than just one who recommends.

6. Building Consensus & Commitment

The degree of effectiveness of proposed recommendations and diagnoses depends on team members’ readiness to concur with the nature of problems/opportunities. Then they must deploy the appropriate corrective actions, lest the diagnosis be rejected and recommendations go without implementation.

A business consultant plays an essential role in inspiring commitment and consensus to diagnosed problems and proposed ways forward. Thus, the business consultant is persuasive with fine-tuned analytic skills. This is needed for inspiring agreement about necessary steps to be taken and establishing the momentum (zeal) to see these agreed-upon steps implemented to completion.

7. Enhance Management Knowledge

Business consultants bring to the table the ability to enhance business owner’s capability to handle immediate issues and help them learn strategies and methods needed to cope with future challenges. This doesn’t mean they become redundant when business owners acquire such skills. Instead, satisfied business owners will always refer and recommend such business consulting to others, thus increasing the business consultant’s sphere of influence.

8. Achieving Organizational Effectiveness

Implementation of new ideas and initiatives requires new management techniques and a whole new perspective into the mix, and business consultants bring in that new perspective. Business consultants help achieve organizational effectiveness. They bring to bear the ability to adapt future strategy and behavior to environmental change, optimizing available human resources. This keeps the business relevant in a changing world.

business consultant meetingWhat does it take to become a business consultant?

·         Education/Certification vs Experience

Unlike other more formal administrative roles in business, education or certification may not always indicate the effectiveness of a business consultant. That said, it is worthy of note that certification can help separate the average from the great business consultants out there, as it speaks volumes to those in need of business consulting services.

However, even without education/certification to back the vocation, a business consultant must possess a significant degree of understanding of concepts pertaining to the field like defining businesses, growing and expanding businesses, problem identification and solving, increasing customer base, marketing strategies. Direct business ownership or management experience is key to being successful as a business consultant. Also, having working experience in successfully consulting businesses will prove helpful in this consultancy niche.

·         Skills

By virtue of the role played by business consultants, it follows that specific skills are primordial for successful consultancy:

–          Leadership: The duties and responsibilities of the business consultant demand good leadership skills from the consultant. He/she stands to lead the business in the path of progress and must earn other team members’ loyalty to achieve this. The business consultant also stands as a visionary, providing direction for the organization to achieve its set goals.

–          Teamwork: Together with leadership skills, the consultant must be able to “play well” with others, as the role of consultancy exposes the consultant to work with teams, large or small. This may include working with the business owner(s), the executive administrative team, departmental managers, or even staff. Good teamwork skills will enhance the chances of success by a significant proportion.

–          Communication: Being a consultant means stepping up to offer advice, initiative, and recommendations towards business growth, and communication skills are crucial to achieving this. The business consultant must have strong verbal and nonverbal communication abilities, being able to pass down ideas to the best possible understanding of the concerned.

–          Problem-solving: Business consultants serve essentially to bail business owners out of challenges with new strategies and innovations. As such, consultants must possess strong problem-solving skills, being apt to identify sources of the problem and deduce unique and feasible solutions to such problems.

–          Creativity and innovation: The business consultant’s role is to offer a neutral perspective to the existing business structure and plan. Being creative and original with ideas will heighten client satisfaction in the consultant’s ability to offer a fresh perspective and ideas to augment existing structures and overcome business challenges.

–          Analytical Assessment: being involved with all aspects of the business, business consultants should be able to critically analyze the business sectors, like budgeting, and draw conclusions for further innovation. Strong analytical skills will prove indispensable in the career path of a business consultant.

·         Training

To be an expert in any field usually requires a significantly extended amount of time invested in training and practicing the said skill. Likewise, to become a business consultant often requires a significant length of time invested in field training. This includes being in the form of functioning in another close domain like a business analyst position or another type of business professional. Or by learning from other coaches in the same field, the latter being less time consuming and significantly enriching.

Are you interested in hiring a business consultant to help with your business? Then contact us here for a great business consulting experience.

types of business consultants

Types of Business Consultants

Generally, there are five types of business consultants, categorized concerning your business domain they can add value. They are:

1.      Management and Strategy Consultants

These are business consultants who have an intimate understanding of your particular market and can devise efficient strategies to advance your business. In all things ranging from geographically expanding markets, extending product portfolio, buying out the smaller competition to enhancing overall business capabilities, a well-experienced management/strategy consultant will deliver as expected.

2.      Operations Consultants

Business operations consultants specialize in creating and implementing strategies for improving the quality and efficiency of the production process. Some operations consultants may further specialize in business process re-engineering – the art of probing and mapping out existing processes, analyzing these processes for opportunities to reduce the number of steps involved in the process while maintaining quality for greater efficiency in the production process. The business process re-engineer helps reduce costs like time, resources, etc. while keeping other factors like output quality constant.

3.      IT Consultants

With the rapid emergence of technology, IT consulting is on the rise. IT consultants will aid in diverse areas of your business that interface technology, ranging from developing new systems, integrating old systems, and enhancing current IT capabilities, etc. The IT consultant will help make your IT more flexible and in touch with the current technological advancements to meet customers’ dynamic needs.

4.      HR Consultants

HR consultants pay attention to the overall satisfaction of employees and ensure competent team members are recruited. They help in recruiting top talent and retain top performers in the business. They specialize in devising compensation strategies for employees, identify training and development opportunities, especially in sensitive areas such as business communication and leadership. Their attention to team members can help enhance team members’ performance and keep them motivated through tasks.

5.      Marketing Consultants

Ranging from a new logo to a new market position for your brand, an effective social media strategy for engaging customers, and increasing clientele, marketing consultants are instrumental. Their outside perspective brings new light and energy and a fresh spark of ideas to attract more customers.

Do I Really Need a Business Consultant?

Almost all types of businesses can benefit from working with a business consultant. Business consultants can fit into various molds, including setting up accounting, developing business processes, and hiring staff, and these benefits don’t apply to just small businesses. Even larger businesses can benefit from hiring a business consultant, especially when they seek to expand the business’s reach or incorporate other industries. And even when financial problems arise about the company, a business consultant can help find a solution before it escalates out of hand.

So, you may ask, why do I need to hire a business consultant? Well, here are nine benefits to working with a business consultant.

1.      Gain an Outside Perspective

There are times in the growth of a business where a new set of eyes is necessary to see and think outside the box. Sometimes, there are problems that even management can’t quite see. It is especially possible when they have been working under the same conditions for a length of time and have become accustomed to a pattern of thinking. An outside perspective becomes imperative, and that’s where a business consultant comes in.

A business consultant comes into play as a neutral party, viewing things differently from existing management with a fresh pair of eyes. They can easily spot challenges, problems, and hindrances to the business, leading to greater efficiency and productivity.

2.      Get an extra brain

Perhaps you may be a little shorthanded when it comes to personnel, given that someone on your team quits or is unavailable. Hiring a business consultant can fill that gap until such a time when a full-time internal person is found or restored. Hiring a business consultant doesn’t have to be on full-time terms.

committed business people

3.      Manage change and pass the heat

Business consultants are agents of change in business. They bring with them a fresh perspective of the business and can catalyze positive change for your business. They can even shoulder the blame for some corporate decisions. That way as a business owner you can be the nice guy/gal!

4.      Teach and implement best practices

Business consultants are often leading experts in their designated fields, and having such onboard your business will mean having not only theoretical but working experience on your team. It also saves the cost of trying to invent a new practice when a business consultant has already implemented and sieved out the tried-and-true strategies for your business.

5.      Infuse creativity

Business consultants have a fresh perspective on your business and thus inspire creativity in a redundant and monotonous system of operation. Sometimes, in-house ideas may not cut it, and you’d need that external view of things to map out a way forward, and business consultants are just the solution.

6.      Pass on training

Business consultants are like a knowledge base, and you could hire them to pass on knowledge on just about anything in the business. Consultants are trainers and can most certainly take on a training course at almost a moment’s notice.

7.      Take Advantage of Valuable Resources

Regular upper management of a business is usually a hectic position with very little time to pay attention to change and growth aspects. A business consultant helps bear some of such burden, as they bring many resources to the table. The business consultant has as main objective to see to the efficient running of your business. To achieve this objective, they implement systems, tools, and processes that can be used to evaluate business progress and growth. This makes it unnecessary having to hire extra employees to carry on such tasks.

8.      Bring in New Business Skills

Indeed, one person can’t have all-around skills for every aspect of the business. A business consultant specializes in business strategies, methodologies, and trends, allowing the business owner/ management to focus on their work while doing what they do best. They bring new skills and initiative into the business, beneficial in both the short and long run.

9.      Save Money and Stress

Multitasking can prove to be stressful for anyone. However, when you decide to hire more persons to take on the numerous tasks that weigh on you, it can also prove costly. Hiring a business consultant may seem a temporal way out while preparing to hire more permanent employees. Business consultants aren’t primarily full-time employees, so you could save money in the long run by choosing to work with a business consultant as you buy time to get a more permanent employee.

Conclusion

Are you interested in hiring the services of a business consultant? Do you desire your business attain a height of progress and success like never before? Hire a business consultant today. Find out more here.

 

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Do I Need Business Consulting, Business Coaching or Business Mentoring?

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Which One Would be Best for My Business? Business Consulting, Business Coaching, or Business Mentoring?

Is business coaching the best fit for you? Sometimes when I meet a business owner there is some confusion about the different types of advisors. Not only do we have professionals that assist in the areas of accounting, legal and financial planning, we also have business performance advisors that assist in the areas of leadership, planning, sales, marketing, operations, time management, and human resources. And that’s just getting started with the ways these professionals can help!

As a business owner which type of business performance advisor is best for you? In this article, we’ll take a look at the 3 types of services that focus on business performance: business consulting, business coaching and business mentoring.

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Business Consulting, Business Coaching or Business Mentoring?

Three Types of Business Performance Advisors

Business CONSULTING

A business consultant is usually an individual who is a subject matter expert; they are experts in a narrow discipline in business. The business consultant actually performs the work within a business.  Here are some examples:

  1. A large company may hire a business consultant to study an environmental concern and bring recommendations.
  2. A company could bring in a business development consultant to initiate growth.
  3. For a company’s annual planning a business planning consultant could be retained to facilitate the planning meetings.
  4. A company looking to improve its productivity could hire a business process consultant to study the organization, identify and develop key process owners, and create a system for process management and improvement.

Business consulting has been around for many years and large corporations frequently use business consultants. Many business consultants have previously worked as an employee in large organizations and then move on to business consulting firms.

Small Business Consulting

Additionally, there are firms that offer small business consulting services. An example could be a Public Relations firm which could help a business with logo redesign and branding. Although the costs associated with small business consulting are prohibitive to most small businesses, middle-market companies will hire a small business consulting firm from time to time.

BUSINESS COACHING.

Business coaching is a relatively new profession that has exploded in growth over the last couple of decades. Think about the role of a sports coach. The coach is able to develop a winning team of players, improve their individual skills, and orchestrate their strengths to develop winning strategies. Effective business coaches do exactly that for their clients. In contrast to the business consultant who performs the work similar to an employee, the business coach acts as a leader and advisor so that the client can deploy successful strategies in the business.  Like a sports coach, the business coach is the motivator, trainer strategist, while the client is the player of the game.

Small Business Coaching

When I founded Small Business Coach Associates in 2002 the term “business coaching” was rarely understood by small business owners. In my mind, small business coaching is more holistic in nature. Added is another nuance of business coaching; services in the life coaching realm for business owner clients. Our firm focuses on the business owner first in establishing a vision, values, and goals. We believe that the business should be the vehicle by which the owner achieves his/her goals, dreams and aspirations.

Our Approach With Small Business Coaching

For the small business owner, there are myriads of areas to juggle. We coach in 36 areas that fall under the broad categories of Growth, Profits, and Freedom. Some of these areas include marketing, sales, planning, leadership, cash flow, employee recruitment, incentives and retention, time management, operational performance, and communications. We guide our clients through the five stages of growth: Creation, Disorder, Control, Prosperity, and Freedom.

Although business coaches may also specialize in specific areas within a large company, small business coaches usually have a broader range of knowledge to assist a small business owner in many areas of the business.

Business Mentoring.

A business mentor has “been there, done that.” This individual has personally owned a successful business and is in the position to teach from experience. The business mentor has “walked in the shoes” of his clients. Ideally, this individual has been through the anxiety of startup, to the chaos of growth, to the stresses of cash flow and employees and debt, to the burnout of working too many hours, to the comfort of profit, and to the freedom of selling the business. A business mentor will have lots of experiences to share as you encounter problems and obstacles in your business. Be ready for some interesting stories from this seasoned professional!

Lots of Business Coaching Rookies Out There

With the business coaching explosion, there are a number of individuals who have arrived on the scene after undergoing a weekend or week-long training course and are awarded a diploma as a “certified business coach.”  These individuals may have never personally owned a business. They could be from any walk of life from a corporate employee to high school graduate. A visit to a networking meeting or chamber of commerce event may reveal a large number of business coaches who fall in this category.

So What Type of Advisor is Best For Me?

The answer to “what’s best for me” boils down to your need. Business performance advisors usually have strengths in more than one area. It’s possible to find a professional who is a business consultant, business coach, and a business mentor!

If I had to rank myself in the three areas discussed, here’s that assessment:

  1. Business Coach

  2. BUSINESS MENTOR

  3. Business CONSULTANT

Conclusion

If you have a project that you’re working on and you need help to complete your project, bring in a business consultant or a small business consultant. If you are looking for someone that can help you with many of the areas that make a business successful, a business coach or small business coach will be your answer. If you want someone who has “practiced what they preach” through their own successful business, the business mentor is a great fit.

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