Hiring a Business Consultant is a big decision for any company, no matter its size. This week, Eliga Services offers a guide to finding the right expertise, breaking the process down into seven, digestible steps.
A Business Consultant will help your company overcome challenges: from increasing your revenue to growing in a competitive market. A consultant analyses performance and creates solutions to meet short-term and long-term goals. Often, consultants act as catalysts for change, establishing new ways of working.
Typically, an experienced Business Consultant can assist with multiple industries. When hiring, you should look at his or her track record across different sectors. For example, Eliga Services consistently follows the same approach and methodology, focusing on agile ways of working.
Your guide to hiring a Business Consultant
We’ve outlined the process of hiring a Business Consultant with seven steps to help you get started.
Step 1. Clarify your reasons for hiring a Business Consultant
Do you need expertise in a specific market? Maybe, you’re looking for help identifying problems. A Business Consultant will not only provide objectivity, initiating new ways of working, he or she will also teach and train employees. While some consultants may be hired to do the ‘dirty work’ of eliminating staff, most consultants will work collaboratively. They will revive an organisation and identify growth opportunities. They can also influence stakeholders, advocating and educating teams about industry best practices.
Step 2. Find the right fit
Without a doubt finding the right expertise for your business is one of the most challenging aspects. What are the consultant’s passions? What drives his or her work? Does the consultant have an eye for detail? More importantly, does the consultant possess the necessary and relevant certifications? Have a look at the relevant website and case study materials. Researching LinkedIn and previous projects or contacts is another excellent indication of the consultant’s track record and network. Furthermore, you’ll need to double-check references or testimonials. Having said this, finding the right fit doesn’t always depend on an impressive roster of contacts and qualifications, it comes down to company culture. Does the consultant share your business’s values and vision?
Step 3. Discovery phase
A good Business Consultant will take time to learn your business, working with stakeholders and teams to understand your company mission and how you operate. The discovery phase is the first step of any engagement. The goal of the discovery phase is to develop an in-depth understanding of your organisation. This understanding is across people, processes and technology and is arguably the most important part of this phase. A well-executed discovery can make or break a project.
Step 4. Evaluation phase
Once the discovery phase is complete, the Business Consultant enters the evaluation phase to identify what change is needed. The consultant will work with stakeholders and teams to assess your strengths and weaknesses as well as current issues and any foreseeable problems on the horizon.
While stakeholders might be aware of some of these problems, the role of the consultant is to remain objective to evaluate both problems and opportunities. A great consultant will always maintain transparent communication.
Step 5. Reviewing findings
Stakeholders may find it hard to receive a consultant’s findings, especially if these findings are perceived as negative or critical. A consultant offers both objectivity and a fresh approach. These findings will be the result of detailed analysis and not anecdotal comments or perceived issues.
His or her findings act as constructive criticism, forming a dialogue. As a result, stakeholders should give feedback and opinions to inform the findings, revising plans if needed.
Step 6. Demonstrate the value of hiring a Business Consultant
Once you’ve reviewed the findings of the discovery and evaluation phase, you’ll need to measure the Return on Investment (ROI), looking at key metrics to calculate the worth of implementing the recommendations. Case studies are an excellent starting point, using performance metrics to inform the decision to implement.
By looking at your net profits in the quarter before hiring a consultant and evaluating your net profits in the next quarter or two quarters after implementing the consultant’s recommendations, you can understand your investment and the value of the hire.
It’s important to note that ROI doesn’t always equate to a financial representative. This is especially true in the case of digital transformation projects where the return could be (but not limited to):
- Improved customer experience
- New customer acquisition
- Retention of existing customers
- Increased engagement
Step 7. Implementation
Once the owner and the consultant agree on a plan, the consultant may enter the third phase of consulting. This is the restructuring phase or the implementation of the plan. In this phase, the consultant might build on assets and eliminate liabilities. He or she may also monitor the plan’s progress, adjusting it as needed.
It’s worth noting that a consultant may not necessarily enter this phase as it depends on the implementation approach. In some cases, it could be the consultant. However, it could also be a Project Manager or Scrum Master that guides implementation.
Hiring a Business Consultant presents its own challenges, but the rewards in terms of growth can be substantial. Like all investments, businesses need to balance short-term goals with their long-term vision and strategy.
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