Business consulting services are those services which help organizations to overcome problems in the fields of management, planning, and execution.
Business consultants are experts who are usually hired by a company or organization for business success. The main task of a business consultant is to analyze the status of a business, identify the problems, and to solve it in a manner to optimize the business of a client.
Why should a business hire a consultant or have a consultancy with a business consulting firm?
Business consultants are just like doctors, they identify the problem and find a solution to alleviate the pain. A business consultant can help organizations save time and money, provide professional advice, navigate their growing direction, and optimize their business, etc.
Business consulting services covers several fields, in this blog, we will talk about which common areas does a business consulting company offer, namely:
Human Resources (HR)
Strategic planning is a process in which business owners or managers determine the vision, goal, and objectives of their organization. It is crucial for business owners to understand where they stand, what they want to achieve, and how to execute their strategies.
A strategy planning consultant can help businesses in the following tasks:
- analyze their current position
- determine a clear, achievable, and cost-effective roadmap
- share insights and recommendation, and implementing strategies to achieve their strategic goals
Every organization has its strengths and weaknesses. A strategy consultant will take an overall view of the client’s business and market while looking at its allocation of resources, and try to improve the client’s business.
To put it simple, operational consulting improves the optimization of a company’s internal operations and performance in the value chain. The value chain is a collection of activities that are performed by a company to create value for its customers.
An operations consultant can help businesses in the following tasks:
- analyze the client’s current process and document it in a way that is easy to use and easy to be updated.
- work to improve the current process and eliminate unnecessary work
- optimize the remaining processes to be effective and efficient, using tools like Lean Management or Six Sigma.
Therefore, when a business wants to grow or find their work flow process is not as smooth, they can find help with an operational consultant that will help in identifying the problem, design a detailed roadmap with good process and give guidance on how to execute it.
This is one of the most common reasons that businesses need consultancy. Businesses often face the following challenges:
- services or products are in place, but inexperienced in marketing to sell it
- not getting enough qualified leads
- differentiating themselves from competitors
- lack of understanding customer behavior
A good business consulting company or marketing agency will be able to identify the barriers in marketing strategies and create solutions to improve it for a client. The marketing consultant should have a good understanding of the market and the knowledge of different marketing strategies to assist clients in closing the gap for the clients.
However, we recommend controlling external marketing spend at an early stage and at times it distracts from doing the actual grinding on execution and sales.
Project management is to plan and manage a project to successfully complete its listed goals and expected outcomes, whether the project is within or outside the company.
As a company grows bigger and bigger, it is assured that they will have more and more projects on hand. If they find themselves having difficulties to finish the project on time and within the budget, they can reach out to a project management consultant, as the consultant will assist them with the following tasks:
- review the current project management processes and capabilities
- provide an overview of weaknesses in current processes and controls
- reduce project risks and increase the chances of success of the projects
A business consulting company will help their clients and play the role as a planner and advisor to conceptualize and implement solutions that relate to quality or process improvements in the scope of project management consulting.
HUMAN RESOURCES (HR)
Taking care of employees is as important as taking care of clients. Employees are just like the organs of a person that keeps the business running.
It is often seen that a business wants to expand and they are short in hand but do not know how or where to find the right candidate for their business. A good business consulting company can offer help in the recruiting process, which includes taking part in screening the job description, recruiting channels, analyzing the turnover rate, etc.
Business consulting companies would also give consultancy to the following tasks:
- recruitment process
- staying compliant with the laws
- training and development; performance management
Technology is changing rapidly, and the business is evolving just as quickly. It is often that a company does not have that kind of skillset to set up their own IT system or to keep their IT system up to date.
This is when an IT consulting company comes in handy.
IT consultants work with clients for a specified period of time to help fulfill a specific need. Common tasks or projects are:
- assessing the state of an organization’s cybersecurity
- building an HR department of function from scratch
- implementing ERP systems
- setting up website or database
For businesses whether big or small, choosing good, effective and cost-efficient IT tools is not an easy task. This is when businesses reach out to business consulting companies to ensure they have the right system and good integration.
A financial consultant will assess the business model and provide accurate strategies and timelines for the client’s to establish a good financial structure and obtain profitability.
Business can reach out to financial consultants for the following reasons:
- establish a good financial structure
- lost in planning its financial plan
- short in hand of financial expertise
- for future developments and different stages of business growth
If a business finds themselves in the above mentioned situations and needs a better understanding of their status quo, we would recommend the business to hire a financial consultant who can help them by breaking down the business structure, analyzing it, and developing financial strategies and guiding clients to establish financial goals.
Especially for startups and SEMs, when they are in the early stages short of capital assets or short of funds for expansion.
Large or small consulting firms?
When clients are looking for assistance from a consulting firm, the first decision they have to make is: which business consulting firm is a best fit for my needs? This includes taking the offerings, record, and reputation of the business consulting firm into consideration.
LARGE CONSULTING FIRMS
Well known big consulting firms include the Big Fours and other strategic consultancies such as PwC, KPMG, EY, Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company to name a few.
Large consulting firms have demonstrated their expertise in assisting thousands of clients all over the world with a wide variety of industry backgrounds. The network and experience of these large firms can be an advantage to a business if it was planning to enter a new market or to scale their business in different regions.
However, the reputation and resources that big consulting firms offer comes at a hefty price. Also the standardization services being offered to the clients may allow clients to think there is a lack of tailoring to really boost their operations.
SMALL CONSULTING FIRMS
While large consulting firms have their hands all over the world, small consulting firms have their advantage in their talent pool.
Most of the time, they would have some senior consultants who have previously worked at large consulting firms before or they would have consultants with strong expertise and experience in a specific field.
Though small consulting firms are not as big as the large consulting firms, they may still be able to offer the same or even more flexible solution to clients by having a team of experienced senior consultants focused on solving their problem, which is not likely to happen when working with large consulting firms along with a lower consulting fee.
There’s a nice saying: Big enough to deliver, small enough to care.
How to find the right business consulting services
Finding the right business consulting service can be a tough task, however, we have some recommendations for businesses who need to reach out to them.
First, look for a consulting firm that has a focus on the size of your business. If you are a startup or SEM business, you can look for a consulting firm that has experience working with your type of business and understand what you need.
If you are a big company and have a budget, you may look for consulting firms that are well known and have a good reputation. However, you may still find a small consulting firm to meet your needs.
Second, the consulting firm you are looking for should understand your line of business, regarding industry and function.
The consulting firm should have industry expertise when your request is related to strategy, positioning, and pricing or any product-related capacity, or have function expertise when your request is focused on organizational functions.
Third, the consulting firm should have experience in working with the type of project that you need help in. It is obvious that they are not qualified to help you if they have never dealt with the same type of project that you are looking for assistance.
For more information regarding how to find the right consulting firm, please click on the link to our previous post “How An Operations Consultant Can Boost Your Small Business Success”.