The Why, Where, and How of Leveraging Consultants to Enhance Your Business’s Performance

The Why, Where, and How of Leveraging Consultants to Enhance Your Business’s Performance

The world of consulting has been seen as out of reach for small to midsize businesses for far too long. In the past, only large corporations had the resources to find, vet, and pay for consultants, giving them a distinct competitive edge over smaller companies in their industry.

However, with advancements in technology and communication changing the way we all work, the consulting industry has suddenly opened up to businesses of all sizes and stages of development. Large players in search of growth pockets have turned to SMEs, while spin-offs focus on medium-sized businesses.

Companies and nonprofit organizations that would never have been able to find or afford the right consultants in the past, now have the opportunity to get world-class consulting services for an affordable price.

Naturally, when new opportunities and tools become available, there’s a learning curve that goes along with that.

I was recently speaking with the CFO of a small business from the Food Manufacturing Industry. He confessed he had never used management consultants, and asked for some more information about what they could bring to the table.

So, how do you find the right consultant? How do you know if they can actually do what they say they can? What are the real benefits of using a consultant?

This is a very common conversation that we, at Consulting Quest, have with friends, colleagues, and clients every single day. So, we thought we’d answer some of the most common questions we hear and provide you with the “why,” “where,” and “how” of leveraging consultants to enhance your business’s performance.

Why

There’s a famous story of a manager in the Toyota corporation briefing an executive on how well the company is doing. Profits are up, customer satisfaction is up, production is up, sales are up, and costs are down. From the manager’s perspective, nothing could be better.

After the manager’s gleaming report on the state of the company, the executive asked: “where are the problems?” Shocked, the manager replied, “There are no problems.” The executive simply shook his head and said, “No problems is a problem.”

Sometimes, you can’t read the label when you’re inside the jar. Meaning, it can be hard to be unbiased and objective about your business, while also being emotionally and financially invested in the company.

Hiring a consultant allows your business to get objective, unbiased, third-party expertise that can not only offer solutions to problems you know exist, but also root out and solve problems that you didn’t even know you had. A consultant can act as a sparring partner, of sorts, who can bounce ideas back and forth with you and help you identify areas where you can improve.

Consultants also fill the skill and knowledge gaps that may exist in your current workforce, diagnose the problems in your organization others can miss, and help you get through special projects and periods of increased demand with ease. They can play the “bad guy” in tough situations where you’d prefer not to involve your regular staff, help you brand your business, or articulate and convey important messages. Essentially, a consultant can be there to support your business in whatever way necessary.

The role of a consultant is simple: help your business achieve a goal as effectively and efficiently as possible, while helping you, if necessary, with your management or shareholders in the process.

Where

The beauty of using consultants is that you can bring someone on board that has the exact expertise you need, at the exact moment you need it.

Because of this, consultants can be used in any area of your business that needs help or attention (or they can be used to locate which areas of your business need help and attention).

Consultants can be particularly useful in the top levels of organizations, when executives may be looking for guidance on strategic planning, resource allocation, culture, leadership development, or other areas that have widespread impact throughout the organization. In these kinds of situations, consultants can be seen as coaches or advisers that help businesses make big decisions and implement those decisions afterwards.

Similarly, consultants can be a great source of guidance during special projects or demands that your business’s core staff doesn’t have the experience or manpower to handle. These could be anything from ensuring compliance with new regulations, handling a special request from a top client, or deploying new technologies throughout your organization.

Consultants can also be assets to your company’s top line, helping to drive sales and profits through new strategies. For example, if you have a major marketing campaign on the horizon and want to be sure you have the best possible team assigned to the task, hiring a consultant may give you that additional competitive edge you need. With an outside perspective, a consultant can bring fresh ideas to the table that can increase marketing reach, improve audience engagement, and drive greater sales.

If inefficiency and soaring costs are plaguing your business, a consultant can come in to help you streamline those parts of your business. A consultant can provide expertise that allows them to better see areas within your business that could be made more efficient, or identify expenditures that could be reduced or eliminated altogether. Whether it be a breakdown in your production process, a lack of communication and cooperation between your team members, or a product or service that is eating away at your operating budget, a consultant will help you pinpoint, and then fix, those problem areas, in order to reduce costs and maximize efficiency.

Regardless of what your business’s needs are, the size of your organization, or the challenges that your face, there’s a consultant out there who can help.

How

So, you’re ready to get a consultant to come in and help you re-vamp your business. Now, where do you go to find the consultants, evaluate their skills and expertise, research their past performance, and negotiate their rates?

Those are great questions. In the past, you would have had to know someone who knew someone who used a consultant that could give you their contact information, or you had to put out a call for a consultant and hope that someone with the right skills responded.

However, in an age where you can look up reviews and shop online for anything from boats to goats, houses to airplanes, it only makes sense that you should be able to go online to find the right consultant for your needs.

At Consulting Quest, we not only have the world’s largest database of consultants where we can search for and review consultants based on their expertise, but we’ll also help you select consultants that fit your company’s long and short-term goals, culture, and background to make sure that they’re the right fit for your business. With offices in six countries on five continents and an outstanding reputation with companies both big and small, we’re sure that we’ll be able to help you find the right consultant to get the job done.

Ultimately, justifying the hire of a new consultant can be difficult if you don’t know what exactly it is they can offer your business. But, with the right tools and the right people behind you, leveraging consultants to improve your business’s performance can be a seamless experience. Many companies have already dared to take the leap. Why not you?

Bring In The Right People To Help Your Business Grow

Bring In The Right People To Help Your Business Grow

Last year, Inc. cited several example scenarios of what happens when a consultant’s own brand of ideas conflicts with the company’s values. We’ll spare you the horror and summarize that many of the scenarios led to arguments and stunned reactions from gawking office staff.

No one wants to see that. 

Before hiring a consultant, ask yourself one question: Have your usual consultants the right answer to this specific challenge?

Can Business Consultants Be The Remedy To Stagnation?

Hiring a consultant who has successfully worked for many other companies helps you and your team gain a different perspective. Assuming your own team already has many years working with you, they’ve perhaps fallen into a creative rut on how to approach new challenges.

When you hire a consultant, you’re setting up the promise of bringing more extensive knowledge to areas where you lack knowledge.

  • Outside knowledge helps you fill in when your own team hasn’t kept up on the latest changes in various aspects of business. Consultants work with every company imaginable and know the realities of what’s going on in the outer world. 
  • Finding fast solutions is another reason to hire a consultant when your own team feels exhausted in finding creative solutions. Burnout is so easy with in-house employees, especially with few windows of vacation time in marketing departments. Consultants have continual knowledge of new methodologies and are always brainstorming. Creativity is at a higher level, which means faster implementation. 
  • Consultants diagnose problems as a form of business audit. They scope out issues you may’ve preferred sweeping under the rug, and then they find proper solutions. 
  • You gain access to a team focused exclusively on your problem, rather than relying on your own team members who are preoccupied by their daily work. By having a team that doesn’t have to worry about their other duties in your company, you can utilize the flexibility and availability of a group of consultants whose entire job is to help solve your business problems.

 

There is no question about it, using consultants can help you go faster and higher. But the main question remains: How to find the right one ?

 Vetting Your Business Consultant: Finding The One

Finding the right consultant in today’s overcrowded market of consultancies can be a major challenge and a time-intensive project. What you’re looking for is a consultant who is capable, who listens and who is ready to dig in, understand how your business is structured, and strategize for how to solve your most challenging business problems. 

Consulting Quest was started because we saw too many businesses hiring the wrong consultant for the job. We saw hasty consultant hires made at a price that was not appropriate to the value given. Frankly put: the consultants were too expensive for the value they offered. 

We advise you through the hiring process based on what industry you’re in and what capabilities you need help with. Whether it be in the field of energy and utilities or public services, we match you with the most appropriate consultant.

The scoping process of matching the consultant’s capabilities to your needs is an exacting one. Many businesses only need help in a particular area in order to help them flourish.  Consultants are already pre-qualified to take on any category. We’ll help you select the right consultant from the very best candidates. It’s a vetting and selection process like no other.

Our system brings competence and savings for the company, ensuring that you receive the right value for what you have paid. We vet the consultants and make them compete to get the project, guaranteeing through that process that they will provide you their best price. 

We professionalize the searching and hiring of a business consultant for you. We also improve her performance through feedback and analysis. The consultant is evaluated (essentially, our own form of Yelp), so that you can use that consultant again and help other businesses in their future searches, too. 

It’s never too late to start doing things differently

Since far too many hires occurred out of desperation when things were falling apart, or without scoping out whether the consultant’s skills fit correctly with the company’s goals, we developed our system to ensure that not only do you get the best value for your money, but that you find the right consultant the right way in a time efficient manner. Our teams have an extensive experience and the most efficient toolbox when it comes to purchasing consulting.

It’s never too late to start doing things differently, Wherever you are already engaged in the process or only thinking about hiring consultants, do not hesitate to contact Consulting Quest – The smartest way to buy consulting.