What are Business Consultants?
When you’re running a business, one of the biggest things you have to do is decide where you’re going to use your resources: how do you spend the money you have to solve problems, exploit opportunities, grow your business and keep it stable.
One of the potential destinations of the money you’re spending is the bank account of a business consultant. Many promise big results, blinding insights, and transformational change for your brand, but delivery is not guaranteed. Whether a relationship with consultants boosts your company to new heights, fails to make an impact is very much down to whether your understanding: whether you understand your company’s needs, what consultants are and what they can do for you.
With that in mind, today we’re taking a look at what Business Consultants are, aren’t (and can be), so you can make better decisions about how they can help your business.
What They Are
Consultants are outsiders to your business, specialists with a narrow focus and a specific brief. It might be to reorganise your marketing, provide data and insights on who your customers are and what they want, or to supercharge your growth, but when they produce results it is often because of this narrow focus: they have a singular drive to push things based on their speciality, and this can be a double edged sword. Sales focussed ‘growth hacker’ consultants may grow your business quickly, but simply aren’t the right people to think about the aftercare needed: the logistics, customer service and admin to make good on all those additional sales.
Broadly based consultants do exist – if you want a more balanced approach and you’re looking for strategy consulting firms London hosts many for different budgets and needs, and their approach limits the risk of tunnel vision.
What They’re Not
Consultants are not a complete solution: they have no magical ability to transform your business. They rely on you being willing to take action based on their recommendations and insight, and to back their expertise when it’s presented to other decision makers in your hierarchy.
If you’re not willing to take the actions they recommend – and some of this may entail hard choices and difficult conversations – then you’ve wasted your money. Hiring a consultant is not, in itself an action, in the same way that buying a recipe book is not the same as cooking dinner. The action – and the benefit – is in executing on their recommendations.
What Consultants Can Be
A vital source of insight you couldn’t otherwise access. Companies have to achieve huge annual turnovers before they can justify full time hires in areas like Market Research, and even marketing staff are out of reach for smaller companies. Consultants allow you to access this expertise in a ‘pay as you go’ way, supercharging your business with insight that would normally be well out of your reach, and allow you leapfrog whole stages of development – as long as you’re clear about what you’re trying to achieve, have established how these particular consultants can help with that aim, and are willing to do the work yourself to make it a reality.