There will come a time when you and your business will need outside help and consulting. You may need assistance with market information, or advice, skills, strategies and techniques that you don’t have within your company. Business consultants can provide solutions for a large range of business issues. There are different types of consultants that bring different ideas to the table and you need to know when and why to use them.
Generally, a business consultant works with you on strategy, planning and problem-solving. They may help you establish a business skill and expand your knowledge. Consultants come in many forms such as firms as well as individuals.
Consultants fall into these five categories:
1. Strategy and Management Consultants
These firms or individuals will have a broad understanding of your specific market. They can offer help in increasing your market footprint, expand your product offerings, help you reorganize for efficiency. They can also help grow your company’s capabilities or help you make a large equipment purchase or even buyout another company.
2. Operations Consultants
These companies help to increase your process quality and efficiencies. You may hire an operations consultant when you need to map out existing processes, analyze them and get advice to improve quality, or reduce steps or mistakes.
3. IT Consultants
This is the biggest growth area in consulting right now. With the rapid pace of technology and tech support needed, many companies, at some point, have hired a consultant to help organize and improve their computer or phone systems or storage space, etc.
4. Human Resources Consultants
These consultants are used to work particularly on employee needs. You may use them to recruit top talent or improve employee retention. You may also use these consultants for development in leadership and communication.
5. Sales & Marketing Consultants
These consultants are used to create marketing plans, work on positioning statements, develop a brand, launch advertising campaigns, establish social media strategies, initiate sales process and improvement, or design sales training and coaching.
Why would you hire a consultant from one of these categories? For these following reasons:
Expertise. Your company may not have the internal resources or skill set to accomplish your project or your goal. Hiring a consultant within your operation could mean big rewards.
Seasoned change agent. Consultants are change agent experts. They can be the role of the outside voice to break up any roadblocks such as office politics. Consultants make things happen.
Process improvement. Your consultant will be a leading expert in their field. They will have years of experience in what you are trying to solve for the first time.
Generator of ideas. A consultant can bring to the table a fresh perspective to your business. By being on the outside, they are able to see the larger picture of the market and where your company fits in. This can even help improve your company’s ways of thinking and tacking problems.
Trainer. Consultants are natural trainers. Their job is to share their knowledge and experience. Consultants would be a great choice to do a training course, presentation or do one-on-one or team coaching.